It can be overwhelming and confusing to be a conscious consumer. But sometimes the correlation between our choices and another creature’s outcome is undeniable.
Take the Lowland Gorilla for instance. They’re unlucky enough to inhabit the Democratic Republic of Congo which holds 80% of the world’s coltan supply, a rare mineral that is used in cellphones and computers. As the demand for coltan has increased in the past decade, around 10,000 miners have flooded into the protected parks, slaughtering and eating thousands of gorillas. The number of Eastern Lowland Gorillas has been decimated and it is believed that only around 1/3 of the population counted in 1995 still remains.
You can help in two major ways. One, keep your cellphone for as long as possible.. until it disintegrates in your hand. Don’t buy a new iPhone every time Apple comes out with something (Ugh! Huge pet peeve of mine). And two, if you do have to purchase a new phone, recycle your old one. Partners in Conservation (PIC) works with many zoos to recycle or refurbish cells phones. Proceeds go back into the region. In Salt Lake City, you can take your cellphone to the front desk at the Hogle Zoo. If you don’t live in Utah, check with your local zoo.