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Banned by Apple: new iPhone app exposing the dark side of electronics

By Nick Magel

September 19, 2011


Photo: "Phone Story"

Last week Italian developer Molleindustria released a new iPhone app called “Phone Story”.

Why was this app different than the other 425,000 apps?
This app was a satirical game that allowed you to play through the entire supply chain of an iPhone. 

Why did Apple ban this app?
Likely because it exposes the nastiest parts of what it takes to make our electronics. 

The game starts in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here you are in charge of mining for coltan, a critical element in smart phones. The kicker is, that many coltan mines in the eastern DRC have horrific histories of child labor, military and rebel violence, human rights abuses, and disastrous environmental impacts. 

The game’s point is to highlight all the above, and judging by Apple’s reaction it highlighted it well. Within hours of the game’s release Apple had banned the app and removed it from its store

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Tagged with: dirty gold, conflict minerals, congo, drc, iphone, apple, electronics, coltan


Mining reform versus jobs: A false choice

By Lauren Pagel

September 16, 2011


While corporate mining fat cats are rolling in dough thanks
to record high gold prices, the hardrock mining industry
pays exactly zero in royalties to American taxpayers for
publicly-owned minerals. Royalties that could fund mine
cleanup jobs.  Photo: Flaming Zombie Monkeys

This week, the House Natural Resources Committee held the third installment in their continuing series focused on American jobs and the energy and extraction industries. The premise of the hearing – that reasonable mining regulations to protect taxpayers and water resources always come at a cost to jobs and the economy – sets up a false choice for Americans.

We do not have to sacrifice our public lands to solve our nation’s economic crisis. Responsible management of our resources can both help bolster our economy while protecting our waters and national treasures for future generations.

Real and meaningful reform of the 1872 Mining Law would do just that.

At the hearing, entitled “Creating American Jobs by Harnessing Our Resources: Domestic Mining Opportunities and Hurdles,” Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) announced plans to introduce 1872 Mining Law reform legislation this fall.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, toxics, hardrock mining, mining waste, house of representatives, house natural resources committee


Senator Cantwell does right by wild salmon. Let’s send her some thanks.

By Alan Septoff

September 16, 2011

Say thanks to Senator Cantwell for her support of Alaska’s Bristol Bay


Salmon spawing in the Bristol Bay watershed.
Photo: Nick Hall

This week Senator Cantwell (WA) sent a letter to the EPA urging the agency to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay – home to our nation’s largest wild salmon fishery.

10 billion tons of toxic mine waste

The Bristol Bay watershed is at risk from the proposed Pebble Mine, which would dispose of up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste at its headwaters.

EPA protection Needed

The Senator has asked the EPA to use its authority under section 404c of the Clean Water Act. This provision gives it authority to prohibit or restrict the disposal of mine waste into rivers, streams or wetlands, if science shows it will harm the fishery.

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Tagged with: epa, bristol bay, pebble, clean water act, 404c, senator maria cantwell


Eagle Ford Shale: Trust me, I’m a doctor

By Sharon Wilson

September 15, 2011

When I choose a banker, I want one with enough savvy that he would never say the following:

“Call me naïve, but I’m inclined to trust the industry to be good stewards of this land until they prove me otherwise.”

Naïve? Nah, that’s a profound lack of judgment and ignorance of the historical abuses of the oil and gas industry.

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, natural gas, texas, eagle ford shale


Oh brother. Here we go again.

By Gwen Lachelt

September 14, 2011

ConocoPhillips launches natural gas campaign

Two weeks ago Conoco-Phillips invited me to a "Community Leader Engagement Meeting" in Durango, Colorado.

Besides a couple of environmental leaders, the room was filled with elected officials, school administrators and business leaders all hungry for donations and new convention centers.

C-P is the largest company operating south of the state line in San Juan County, New Mexico. It's the fifth largest producer in La Plata County, Colorado.

Five minutes into the "engagement" it was clear that the C-P employees had no intention of sharing future drilling plans and what steps they were going to take to prevent and minimize impacts to protect public health and the environment. Instead, the meeting was about what a great corporate neighbor the company is and how much the company contributes to local schools and communities.

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Tagged with: fracking, drilling, natural gas, dirty energy, conocophillips


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