So-called “clean energy” has a dirty secret: slave and child labor. So if you are driving a U.S. taxpayer-subsidized battery-operated car, take a close look under the hood, or wherever the battery is stored. The raw materials used to cobble together a battery may have been sourced by slaves.
I posted an article on Facebook recently about this phenomenon. A colleague sent me a curious private message that went something like this: ‘why do you post mostly sad or tough stories to read? There is a lot of good news. Why do you focus on the bad?’ Here is a link to the U.K. Daily Mail story, Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car: Awful human cost in squalid Congo.
There are many laws on the books to deal with this sort of thing, slavery. And the only way they work is by first, well, raising awareness of the problems. For the Congo battery story, for example, American policymakers should be looking up and down the supply chain and calling on the carpet any company – American or foreign – that have sourced from this sort of barbaric behavior. If they refuse to change their ways, out them. Impose economic sanctions on any government, or official, that refuses to crack down on these gross violations of human rights such as slavery.
I prefer the term slavery over trafficking because “trafficking” tends to water down the offense. By the way, if you want to read a very good book about modern-day human trafficking or slavery, read Invisible Slaves: The Victims and Perpetrators of Modern-Day Slavery by W. Kurt Hauser. You’ll learn why the problem goes well beyond batteries and what you can do about it. It’s a very good book.
U.S. taxpayers have invested billions of dollars in this sector so that wealthy folk can buy a U.S. taxpayer-subsidized electric car such as a Tesla or Prius. For reasons other than slavery, I never supported the federal electric car subsidy. The markets should decide these things, not the federal government.
If you’re driving a vehicle with batteries using raw materials sourced from one of the child slave mines, you’re indirectly funding the slave trade, probably the most notorious slave traders today, China. The least you could do is alert the company that built the car, or the dealer, to crack down on this activity. Ask your members of Congress to take a stand too.
Junk the electric car. Save humans first.