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The True And Hidden Costs Of Stuff

Do you simply love iPhones, wind turbines, cloud computing, the circular economy, and electric cars? Good, because the following may be of interest:

Dark Energy 
Systems Energy Assessment (SEA) measures the total energy demand of businesses, systems and infrastructures. Phil Henshaw, a pioneer in SEA, describes as “dark energy” [8] the many energy uses, that are missed or hidden by most calculations. Henshaw calculates that what is traceable “is generally less than one fifth of the true total.

Net Energy / Energy Return on Investment / EROI
Techno-optimists tend to ignore a logical inconvenience: it takes a lot of energy and money to create energy. Refitting global infrastructures on a large enough scale to run industrial society as it is configured now would require massive investment of energy, materials, knowledge, labour and money.

World of Matter
Gold mining in Brazil, oil extraction from Canada’s tar sands, rice and cotton growing in Southeast Asia, land reclamation in Egypt, fishery in the North Sea, the sugar trade in Nigeria and coal mining in the Ruhr.World of Matter is an international art and media project that investigates primary materials (fossil, mineral, agrarian, maritime) and the complex ecologies of which they are a part.

Monster Footprint of Digital Technology
The energy consumption of computers, cell phones, flat screen TV’s, iPods and other gadgets.

Monument of Sugar
Films about the hidden production landscapes of global trade: crop fields, sugar refineries and more.

Earthworks
The health, environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of mining and energy extraction.

Coltan, the ‘blood mineral’ of Congo
How the mineral used to make mobile phones is helping to finance civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

True Costs Of Wind Energy
A toxic lake that poisons Chinese farmers, their children and their land is left behind by the process for making the magnets for advanced wind turbines.

Environmental Impacts of the Mobile Phone
The raw materials used in phones and network equipment; components; running the networks; rolling out network infrastructure; constructing and managing offices, retail stores and call centres; servicing mobile customers.

E-Waste FAQs
Of 53 million tons of electronic waste were generated worldwide in 2009, only about 13% of it was recycled.

Global Witness
The continued scramble for valuable mineral and other resources poses ever-present and increasing risks of corruption, instability and conflict.

Witness.org
Witness empowers people to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice, promoting public engagement and policy change.

The Advocacy Project
AP helps marginalized communities to tell their story through blogs, video, podcasts, photos and the written word. This puts a face on disempowerment and provides partners with content for their campaigns and websites.

Ethical Metalsmiths
Susan Kingsley and Christina Miller researched the social and environmental harm caused by gold mining and decided to take action.

Pandering To The Loggers
How WWF’s flagship scheme to promote sustainable timber – the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) – allows companies to destroy forests and trade in illegally sourced timber.

Mineral Conflict In Congo
Western demand for resources in Central Africa fuels instability and violence.

How European ships dumped nuclear waste into Somalia’s Ocean
After the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died

Guns Money and Cellphones
The next time you are on a plane taxiing down the runway, stop for a moment and think that the turbine blades in a typical jet engine require up to 130 pounds of Cobalt.

Electric Cars a Major Environmental Threat
Despite their ‘green’ image, electric cars are often less efficient and more polluting than the petrol cars they replace. The car industry is selling a false image of efficient, environmentally-friendly electric cars powered by ‘green’ energy. In reality, electric cars often aren’t very efficient and aren’t very green.

Juha Huuskonen, Consumer Electrronics and Mining In Congo
Policy makers need to do something about land rights, forced labour and sexual violence against women.

Doors of Perception 3 on the theme “info-eco”
What would it take to monitor and measure our planet’s true condition – its vital signs – in real time, and in such a way as to change the way we inhabit the planet?

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