2 août 2015

Cette lucrative obsolescence

Dans un documentaire sur le principe «achetez / jetez», un fabricant disait : «L’imprimante est conçue pour lâcher dans 12 à 16 mois; la réparer coûtera plus cher qu’en acheter une neuve, ou même ce sera carrément impossible car certaines pièces ne seront plus disponibles.»

La plupart des grandes et petites entreprises font fi de toute responsabilité sociale et environnementale et ne voient dans cette arnaque qu’un moyen efficace d’augmenter leurs profits dont nous faisons les frais.

Illustration : Steve Cutts, "Owned"  

Combien d’appareils et de gadgets électroniques avez-vous achetés depuis dix ans en raison d’incompatibilités logicielles ou juste pour avoir le modèle dernier cri? (Lisez True Costs ci-après.)

Que pouvons-nous faire pour contrer ces abus? Nous pourrions imiter la France :

L'obsolescence programmée, un délit passible de prison en France

Une loi adoptée au Parlement français fait désormais de l'obsolescence programmée une infraction entraînant deux ans de prison et jusqu'à 300 000 € d'amende. La loi a été proposée par une parlementaire écologiste.

Des techniques utilisées pour réduire la durée de vie des produits
L'obsolescence programmée pousse les consommateurs à acheter un nouveau produit pour remplacer celui qu'ils possèdent déjà. Il peut s'agir de pièces techniques qui deviennent facilement défectueuses, mais aussi, par extension, d'incompatibilité d'un logiciel avec un ordinateur.

La course à la consommation
L'amende contre l'obsolescence programmée instaurée en France peut atteindre jusqu'à 5 % du chiffre d'affaires de l'entreprise. Néanmoins, l'obsolescence esthétique liée aux modes, qui, même si elle nuit grandement à l'environnement, n'est pas touchée par la loi.

(Source : Médium large, ICI Radio-Canada Première)

Steve Cutts http://www.stevecutts.com/animation.html

“Anyone who believes in infinite growth on a finite planet is either mad or an economist.” ~ D. Attenborough

Source: http://www.gaiafoundation.org/

Have you ever felt like we’re living through a nightmare of consumption? That you wish you could un-hook yourself and reconnect with a life that is somehow more real and vivid? Then perhaps you’re ready to heed Earth’s Wake Up Call.

Today we live in a time when there is little to no understanding of how the goods we consume and take for granted came into being. Without this we lack the knowledge to understand the true costs of our consumption, and the power take action. As a result we have become disconnected from Earth- the origin of our health, wealth and all of the ‘things’ we depend on.

Wake Up Call takes us on a fast-paced, animated glimpse of the true costs behind some of our most prized possessions - our electronic gadgets. Joining the dots between the stages of extraction, production, consumption and disposal, it reveals that, although our gadgets appear sleek and shiny, their appearance is misleading.

From the mining that causes huge ecological and social destruction, to the mountains of e-waste shipped around the planet and dumped, the lifecycles of our technology are strewn with unacceptable devastation and toxicity.

It is time to Wake Up to this nightmarish destruction, broadly driven by our obsessive pursuit of economic growth at all costs. Things do not have to be this way, but it will take a critical mass of people willing to stand up and say ‘NO! We will not participate in these systems of violence against Earth and our fellow humans’ to make a change.

Wake Up Call invites us to do just that. To forge new paths into the future and join those who already are. We must reconnect with Earth, reduce our consumption, revalue what really makes us happy, and become part of the movement for an ecologically sane, and socially just economy that delivers fair technologies.


The 4,300 recognised mineral species on Earth have developed over 4.5 billion years, making our planet uniquely diverse. No other planet in our solar system has more than 500 varieties. Research increasingly suggests that this is because Earth is the only place where organic life has emerged. Organic and inorganic life forms have co-evolved over 2.5 billion years to create the amazing diversity of both that we see today.

Despite their inconceivably long evolutionary history, today we arrogantly treat these ancient elements, embedded in the body of the Earth, as ‘raw materials’. Important only as a ‘resource’ to exploit for human profit. Digging them ruthlessly from the Earth, we too easily forget that each element has been integral to creating the conditions for our own existence, and that of all species upon whom we co-depend.

Over the last decade mining activities have been rapidly increasing in their scale and reach. Even before the economic collapse of 2008, when the price of minerals and metals skyrocketed, new waves of investment in mining had been causing the industry to expand aggressively. It is estimated that mining activities will triple worldwide by 2050, spreading into ever more pristine and fragile areas- from arctic, rainforest and coastal areas, to indigenous territories, nature parks and World Heritage Sites.

In order to access new and lucrative mineral deposits, the extractive industries have become a major contributor to global land grabbing. These land grabs happen without the consent of local communities, as governments and corporations collude to bypass the rights of the people. Local communities are frequently exiled or displaced. Even if they are not, they witness their ancestral lands and traditional livelihoods destroyed by mining, after generations of careful stewardship.

Mining companies have already extracted the most concentrated and rich deposits of metals and minerals. Now they are removing far larger swathes of living ecosystems (called ‘overburden’ by the industry), than ever before, to access the same quantities of gold, silver, copper and so on. They are consuming ever more energy and water; destroying larger areas of land and the biodiversity that is so precious for future generations. Producing a single gold ring today generates, on average, 20 tonnes of mine waste.

Even after operations have ceased, mining leaves behind a toxic legacy for many generations to come, creating industrial wastelands where ecosystems once flourished. In South Africa, for example, millions of litres of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) from old gold mines is polluting both soil and water with heavy metals and radioactive elements. Around the globe a similar story is being played out over, and over again.

The supply chains for our electronic gadgets remain far from transparent. This means that we may unwittingly be using technology that contains ‘conflict minerals’: Minerals extracted in areas where mining and conflict go hand in hand, and where human rights and ecological atrocities occur daily. Minerals of all different kinds (there could be more than 10 varieties in your Smartphone alone!) are mined in different nations - from tantalum in the Congo to tin in the Philippines - then shipped or trucked around the planet to manufacturing hotspots. Before they even resemble a gadget these materials already have a huge carbon footprint.

Companies outsource manufacturing and labour to other nations such as China, where many labour and ethical issues have arisen. In some cases worker health and safety has been found to be atrociously poor. Made to work inhumane and illegal amounts of over time for less that the living wage, workers have been subjected to abuse, humiliations, military management, and suffered illnesses. Suicides amongst these workers are also irregularly high. The human cost of our gadgetry is clear. We cannot afford to have an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality when people’s lives and health are at risk.

Planned obsolescence – planned failure, in simple terms - is being built into our technologies in numerous ways. This ensures that companies have a dependable ‘market’ for their new products. More profit can be made if consumers buy ‘upgraded’ gadgets rather than fixing them, or if gadgets are constructed so that only the producer can repair them - allowing them to make money at every step of the process.

Our gadgets may seem space age and sleek but their appearance is misleading. A product’s ‘ecological rucksack’ refers to the total quantity of materials removed from the Earth to produce it, minus its weight. A laptop may have an ecological rucksack of one tonne.

The pace at which we are encouraged to upgrade our tech is a product AND driver of our unsustainable endless growth economy. Even if our gadgets don’t become physically obsolete, the social pressure to update them, exerted through advertising and the media, is immense, and leads to the disposal of perfectly use-able tech because it is ‘un-fashionable’.

We are told that consuming the latest gadget on the high street - or just consuming material goods in general - will make us happy. In reality however, consumption only gives us a short-term buzz. This is great for industry and commerce, because we keep consuming their stuff, but it is clearly not so good for us or for the planet! True and lasting well-being can be found in enduring values such as community, learning, beautiful natural places and giving… Deep down we all know this, and the latest science shows it too!

The average American born today will use 1343 toneladas métricas of minerals, metals and fuels during his or her lifetime. That’s 17 tonnes per person, per year! All of that ‘stuff’ has to come from somewhere, and it’s coming from our finite planet Earth.

The UN estimates that 20-50 million tons of E-waste is created globally each year. In 2011 the USA Environmental Protection Agency estimated that only 24.9% of the nation’s 3.41million tons of E-waste was properly recycled.

50-80% of the USA’s E-waste, and much more from around the globe, is shipped to countries in Africa and Asia rather than properly handled at home. Much of this waste is transported under the guise of ‘used goods’ that will help ‘bridge the digital divide’, but in fact a great deal is simply e-waste. In 2010 Ghana received 40,000 tonnes of E-waste transported as ‘used goods’.

The accumulation of vast amounts of E-waste shipped to destinations in the Global South has led to the creation of huge E-waste dumps. On these dumpsites communities are forced to live in a toxic landscape, eking out a living by burning electronics to reach the metals they can sell on as scrap. This burning and the very presence of E-waste releases dangerous chemicals that cause terrible illnesses and poison rivers, the soil and the air.

Aucun commentaire:

Publier un commentaire