I went to watch Dirty Gold War at the Graduate Institute at lunch time today. The film is interesting because it makes you think about the environmental impact of gold mining. We’re familiar with the stories of gold mines in South Africa. We’re familiar with the stories of the gold rush. We don’t often think of the environmental impact of Gold mining in rain forests in Latin America. This documentary introduces the topic well.
It brings our attention to the fact that when people buy luxury products like gold watches, bracelets and other objects they are buying objects that have no environmental or ethical credentials. It leads us to question when the luxury industries will be accountable to such considerations.
Mobile Phones, laptops, televisions and other devices all contain traces of gold. If that gold is sourced from environmentally unfriendly sources then we are contributing to the destruction of the rainforests and the poisoning of ecosystems. Fairphone and other companies with such goals benefit from such documentaries because we are shown why their goals are so important. It contextualises their mission and their reason for being. It also helps to put pressure on all electronics manufacturers to do more to reduce their impact on the environment.
Dirty Gold is a topic that does not get much attention. As I reach the conclusion of this blog post I find that Dirty gold points to a music album rather than gold mining. We need to raise awareness of this topic. People are wearing wedding wings, luxury products and using electronic devices that are in part for the degradation of the environment. As awareness of these issues grows so companies like Apple, Sony and others should work to ensure a clean product line, from raw material in the ground to the finished product.