What is capitalism?
Capitalism is where the industry and trade is run by private individuals for profit rather than by the state.
Cobalt is a good example to show the importance of profit over anything else in capitalism. Every lithium-ion battery contains cobalt – a rare mineral. It is in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo that this rare mineral is mined, where children as young as six spend every day searching for stones which will then be bought by Chinese companies who will pay them about 50p for a days work – of course that is if they fill the sack. Workers mine, sometimes for 24 hours straight in darkness, unable to stand up, terrified that the mine will collapse and bury them – which does happen. Health is affected hugely by the dust breathed in from birth leading to hard metal lung disease.
The cobalt is then shipped to China where it is refined and then sold all around the world.
Think of this when you buy your next phone, tablet, laptop or electric car 🚙. Someone has had to pay the price for your luxury so don’t take it for granted.
How is it affecting the planet? 🌏
You probably know by now that the Amazon Rainforest was on fire for weeks. This incredible habitat is home to 1 in 10 of the worlds animals, 1 in 5 of the worlds birds, without even looking at the plants, fungi and microorganisms.
The reason the Amazon is so incredible is because it is so hot but it also rains a lot which makes the perfect conditions for plants to grow. These trees also help us to trap carbon and give us the oxygen we breathe.
What’s the problem then? Well, the very sad thing is that in this capitalist world we find ourselves in, money is much more important than the animals, and the trees 🌳 and 350 different groups of indigenous people (30 million) who’s lives are turned upside down and homes lost to logging and to make room for palm oil, cattle ranches and natural resource extraction.
Is going vegan the answer?
Although going vegan is a huge help because:
- Animal agriculture emits 18% of greenhouse gases.
- Livestock & by products produce 32000 million tons of CO2 a year (51% of all greenhouse gases).
- Methane is 25-100 times more destructive to the ozone layer than CO2 and the potential to warm the planet 86 times stronger than CO2
65% of the nitrous oxide we humans release comes from livestock, and that’s actually 296 times more destructive to the planet than CO2 (and will stay in the atmosphere for 150 years)Even if we stopped using fossil fuels, it is calculated that we would exceed the limit of CO2 (565 gigatonnes) by 2030 just by raising animals.1 burger needs 2500 gallons of water to be produced1 lb of eggs needs 477 gallons of water to be produced1 lb of cheese needs 900 gallons of water to be produced1 gallon of milk needs 1000 gallons of water to be produced 45% of earths land is used for animal agriculture We could run out of fish by 2048Every 1 lb of fish caught, 5lb of unwanted marine species are caught too, and discarded.
It is naïve to think that it will solve climate change, but it will make a difference. We need a huge overhaul of how countries are run. The only way we can do this is if we work together, there are power in numbers.
- Sign relevant petitions
- Go on peaceful protests
- Write to your local representatives
- If you don’t need it, don’t buy it – the only way companies are going to stop making unnecessary things is if we stop buying them
- Avoid fast fashion
- Try to make your technology last – consider the cost of changing your phone/tablet/laptop every few years to keep up with fashion for those who mine the minerals and for the land that is depleted.
- FYI apple said walking away from the Democratic Republic of Congo “would do nothing to improve conditions for the people or the environment.“
We need a society that puts the planet and life first over profit and greed.