Conflict-free products before more suffer and die

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5.4 million. That is roughly the number of deaths in the past 15 years due to certain minerals found in mobile devices like your laptop, or your cell phone, or any mobile device you have. Most of these minerals come from mines that are not paying workers well; not treating the workers well, some people there are being sexually abused to be scared into labor; and not letting children go to school, children as young as 5 years old. These minerals are called conflict minerals. The ones used in mobile devices are coltan (or tantalum), gold, tin, and tungsten. Each has their own purpose and are needed for the devices to work properly, but they do not have to come from mines that use bad methods to get these precious minerals.

Companies can use their money and resources to guarantee that minerals they use in their products are conflict-free, or don’t come from mines run with unfairness and cruelty, but they don’t, at least not as much as they should. One company, Samsung, can only guarantee you that 27% of their products are completely conflict-free. Most companies are in a range of 24-27%, but they can definitely do better than this. Intel, the company that is best at guaranteeing conflict-free products, can only guarantee 60% of their products are conflict free. This may sound high, and it is when compared to other companies, but when you think of how many products many companies make, it really isn’t. Nintendo can't guarantee even 1% of their products. All other companies fall within that range of 60% to 0% (looking at you, Nintendo). We as the consumers can stick together helping the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and force companies into making a change in their ways or have us boycott their products from now on, you can keep what you have, but not buy new products. This won't be permanent, just until things change.  You don't have to boycott buying new products, but if you did, the impact would be huge. If they see we want conflict-free products, which would make the world better, they will start to make the change that is wanted.

Did you know the average person has a cell phone? The average new cell phone cost maybe somewhere around $700. The average person in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country that has most of these conflict-filled mines, makes $700 in a year. Yes, some people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo make much more than that, and some make much less, but on average they make $700 per person per year. Also many children are being forced to work in these mines because their parents cannot afford to send them to school, due to lack of funds, which means their future children will probably be unable to go to school, since they will be paid very little, which is the reason the children now cannot go to school, and the cycle will continue until someone starts to change things, but if we wait so long it will be too late, that time is approaching, and then at that point so many families will have had no schooling in many generations that there will be nobody will be qualified to teach the youth of the country and then they cannot advance to where they should be in society. I know that is extreme sounding, but it very well could happen if change does not occur.

What could be worse than all of this? The fact that most people don’t even know about this in countries that are somewhat, if not entirely, to blame for this. People can’t fix what they don’t know about, and that is not the problem, but when they just avoid knowing, that is where the problem lies, and that is what companies do. Now having read this you know and can make a difference in the world, or you can be the bystander who knows that because of them being too scared to stand up for something, many other people will die. It will be like another Holocaust, where people did not stand up for one group of people, because they were not in that group, and did not stand up for the next group of people because they were not like that group of people, etcetera, etcetera, and then people came after their group, and when they called out for others to help, there was nobody left to help, because of them. Is that what you want? All it takes is one person, one voice, and more will follow.

This won't affect you personally, but that does not change the fact that it is very important. People are dieing fast because of this alone, can you live a happy life knowing that you did nothing to stop it? I knew I couldn't, so I started this petition.



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Ellie Jordan needs your help with “Device companies need to stop sticking to their devices: Conflict-free products before more die”. Join Ellie and 28 supporters today.