Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives

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Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives

Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives

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Price: £9.9
£9.9 FREE Shipping

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Siddhart Kara has done an immeasurable service to the people of the Congo telling their stories and speaking truth where there is global political and corporate silence from those relentlessly pushing Evs and phone upgrades which depend so much on the supply of cobalt. They are men, women, and children who live in stone-age conditions, without local medical care of schools, without protection from the hazardous work. As the "energy transition" ramps up and the planet needs an exponentially increasing quantity of raw materials, books like Cobalt Red are an important insight into what really is needed to make the planet "greener". The material is good and with some decent maps I would probably have given you a dozen stars but at the moment the information just hangs there, unconnected.

It is horrific in the extreme, and all so that we Westerners and many Asians can have cheap battery-powered devices. It appears these coalitions exist merely so that the companies can claim to be against slavery and child labor without actually being against either of those things. This is storytelling at its most dangerous and yet, the author never falters [ even after witnessing a mine collapse in person <--I would have not dealt with that well at all, but for him, it just reinforced the need for this book to come out and for the truth about all that is going on in Congo to be published]. By the time the river reaches the Atlantic, it empties with so much force that it clouds the ocean with sediment for a hundred kilometers offshore.An unflinching investigation reveals the human rights abuses behind the Congo’s cobalt mining operation—and the moral implications that affect us all. Artisanal miners are almost always paid paltry wages on a piece-rate basis and must assume all risks of injury, illness, or death. Everyone who uses a smartphone, an electric vehicle, or anything else powered by rechargeable batteries needs to read what Siddharth Kara has uncovered. In COBALT RED, Siddharth Kara provides an intense account of cobalt mining in the Congo, where three-fourths of the world’s cobalt is hand-mined in dangerous and toxic conditions by thousands of men, women, and children for one or two dollars a day. The Katanga region in the southeastern corner of the Congo holds more reserves of cobalt than the rest of the planet combined.

Each of these devices have, at the very least, one element that inflicts extreme suffering and even death on the Congolese people.

There are roughly forty-five million people around the world directly involved in ASM, which represents an astonishing 90 percent of the world’s total mining workforce. As a result, demand for cobalt is expected to grow by almost 500 percent from 2018 to 2050,3 and there is no known place on earth to find that amount of cobalt other than the DRC. In 2021, a total of 111,750 tons of cobalt representing 72 percent of the global supply was mined in the DRC, a contribution that is expected to increase as demand from consumer-facing technology companies and electric vehicle manufacturers grows each year. For more details, please consult the latest information provided by Royal Mail's International Incident Bulletin. With extraordinary tenacity and compassion, Siddharth Kara evokes one of the most dramatic divides between wealth and poverty in the world today.

His reporting on how the dangerous, ill-paid labor of Congo children provides a mineral essential to our cellphones will break your heart. I’m struggling with the author’s final thoughts: “Lasting change is best achieved when the voices of those who are exploited are able to speak for themselves and are heard when they do so. If it does not, I would question whether you a) have a heart, and b) whether or not you might be a sociopath/psychopath. Roughly 2,300 kilometers southeast of Kinshasa at the opposite end of the country is Lubumbashi, capital of Haut-Katanga Province and administrative head of the mining provinces.As a result, it is always raining somewhere in the Congo, and the country has the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world. Kara also dissects the cobalt supply chain that provides for the world while devastating so many Congolese.



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