We’re stripping you and your world down. Not literally, you pervert. But we often go about our daily lives plugging, tapping and charging natural resources without any idea of where the stuff came from.
This is part two in our four part series where we examine the natural resources we take for granted, and their links to B.C. Here, we’ll be looking at the resources that power all the tech devices you won’t admit you’re addicted to: for example, everyone has epoxy. No, it’s not a disease and yes, even you have it.
Gold is used in all our laptops and smartphones. Not enough to scrap the computer and make yourself a sick gangsta’ chain, but it’s in there. Gold is one of the fastest conductors of electricity—next to silver. Silver is a sissy metal, it’ll corrode or tarnish in humid air. Gold is preferable to silver so you can spill some coffee on your laptop and it won’t give up on life. And it has an exciting B.C. connection: the government recently gave the go head for a mine here, which is the world’s largest undeveloped gold-copper project by reserves.
B.C. is at the forefront of rare earth metal exploration, and rare earth metals are at the forefront of powering your phones. Europium is not a strain of European opium. It’s actually one of the rarest metals in the entire universe and it’s inside your phone, TV or anything else that has a screen. It’s what makes fluorescent lighting use 75 per cent less energy compared to incandescent lighting. And of course, we can’t talk about smartphones without a shout-out to epoxy (which comes from oil) for insulating the brains of the device from everything else.
That’s right, even the Internet uses natural resources. We tap away at our smartphone, computer and TV remote without thinking about how the internet travels all the way to our fingertips. The series of tubes isn’t some magical perpetual motion machine – it sucks-up up to 10% of total electricity production. Good-thing we’ve found ways to generate power without spewing emissions, or we’d be screwed. B.C. plays a global role here: our squeaky-clean hydroelectricity is one of the main exporters of power to California’s Silicon Valley, giving life to the data centres that power the whole world.
When you think of your gleaming high-tech products, you probably don’t think of the mines and quarries in remote parts of B.C. But as you’ve now seen, it’s the so-called “traditional” activities like mining that keep us out of the dark ages.
Resource Works is a non-profit research and advocacy organization supporting a respectful, fact-based public dialogue on responsible resource development in B.C. For more information on why we’d be naked without natural resources, visit resourceworks.com.