Eco-communities as a social vision

Eco-communities as a social vision
Egalitarian and ecological communities, like the pictured East Wind (, are very close to our vision of an ecological society

09 October, 2008

“Tungsten” by Malvina Reynolds, (1968)

Tungsten, wolfram, makes the steel so hard.
It goes thru the side of an army tank as tho it were a paper card.
If you want to rule the world, never mind wrong or right,
All you got to have is tungsten wolframite.

There's only one thing in all this world hard as the tungsten steel,
That's the heart of a financier working on a tungsten deal.
Only one thing in all this world hard as the tungsten kind,
It's a diplomat with tungsten on his mind.

The air is full of heavy words all about democracy,
And the boys they fight in many lands to keep the free world free,
And the words have a beautiful ringing sound that keeps us all up tight,
But the fact of the matter is tungsten wolframite.

Tungsten, wolfram, what a happy sound,
Tungsten in stockpiles and underneath the ground,
Tungsten in China, sheelite in Malay,
But there are no tungsten mines in the USA.

A song about a heavy metal (Tungsten) of great economic and military importance, because of its hardness and high melting point. But the Tungsten-rich minerals are located mainly in Third world so immoral corporations and diplomats not only exploit people under bad working conditions in mines to extract the precious metal, but also destroy sensitive ecosystems by strip mining that have the bad luck to bear a mineral-rich underground and in many cases support local conflicts and civil wars if they are favourable for their business. But such a form of unethical exploitation is timeless, Gold, diamonds, rubins, Uranium, Tungsten and today is Tantalum:
A heavy metal of great importantance in modern electronics, Tantalum, is extracted from the mineral Coltan found in Central Africa in Congo/Rwanda borders, where gorillas’ ecosystem in under great threat, civil wars are supported to facilitate its exploitation and bad working, almost slavery, conditions for the local people and children is going on. We read in wikipedia:

Coltan is the colloquial African name for columbite-tantalite, a metallic ore from which is extracted the elements niobium and tantalum. Tantalum from coltan is used in consumer electronics products such as cell phones, DVD players, and computers. Export of coltan from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to European and American markets has been attributed by experts to helping finance the present-day conflict in the Congo, with one aid agency asserting that “much of the finance sustaining the civil wars in Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is directly connected to Coltan profits”

The Congo is a politically unstable area. The Rwandan occupation in the east of the Congo has meant the DRC has been unable to exploit the resource for its own benefit. A 2003 UN Security Council report[8] charged that a great deal of the ore is mined illegally and smuggled over the country's eastern borders by militias from neighbouring Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

Coltan smuggling has also been implicated as a major source of income for the military occupation of Congo. An activist website, Toward Freedom, states that the search for coltan has fueled a brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo; they state that demand for coltan has caused Rwandan military groups and western mining companies to seek hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the rare metal, often by forcing prisoners-of-war and even children to work in the country's coltan mines.

The coltan mining area in the DRC is within one of the main ranges of the threatened Eastern Lowland gorilla. It is also alleged that coltan mining could have severe environmental repercussions on the forests and wildlife in the area, in particular the gorilla.

You can hear a Malvina’s song in youtube

1 comment:

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