BRUSSELS (January 27, 2015) – Most people don’t realize that our appetite for the latest and greatest in technological gadgets is contributing to the rampant destruction of Africa’s forests. The old phones littering our junk-drawers and the new phones in our pockets contain minerals mined from forests like those in the Congo Basin, a practice that is destroying the habitats of chimpanzees and other endangered apes.
In addition, control over the mining of these minerals has fueled conflict among human communities and perpetuated unsustainable livelihoods for the people who live among them. Conflict fueled in part by this industry has resulted in the deaths of more than five million people. Many people have moved into the forests in search of safety from the conflict, which results in hunting of local wildlife for food, including chimpanzees.
After the holidays and the start of a new year — occasions during which many mobile phones and other electronic devices are given as gifts — the Jane Goodall Institute is promoting Call to Action, a new international campaign encouraging people to responsibly recycle these technologies. Launching on 27 January 2015 as JGI’s first International Day for Mobile Phone Recycling, Call to Action aims to raise awareness about how such actions can help promote conservation of critical forest habitats in the Congo Basin where chimpanzees and other great apes live.
World renowned for its efforts to protect chimpanzees and their habitats, JGI’s campaign to mobilize the collection of unused mobile phones directly connects with the organization’s mission. Many of the metals and minerals used in these technologies are extracted from mines located in previously forested chimpanzee habitats across the Congo Basin.
Dr. Goodall shared the following comment about the importance of recycling mobile phones: “Sometimes people don’t understand how terribly, terribly important it is to recycle old mobile phones. There are hundreds of thousands of them just lying around. Their abundance in our lives is leading to the destruction of the rainforest, the deaths of chimpanzees and other wildlife, as well as immense hardship for people. So please, recycle your used mobile phones. It really will make a difference.”
On 27 January 2015, citizens around the world can participate in JGI’s Call to Action by gathering mobile phones and sending them to love2recycle.be (www.love2recycle.be) JGI’s recycling partner in Belgium. With one simple action, JGI’s friends and supporters are helping protect chimpanzees – along with other endangered species – and the forests they call home. The money JGI Belgium receives from the donations will be used to fund educational scholarships for the youth who are victims of the conflict.