Thursday, April 16, 2009

I see a pirate. What do you see?

It makes me uncomfortable how public opinion has swung so violently against the Somali pirates. Let me first say for me the rule of law is of primary importance. I mean didn't some news reports say the US boat that was hijacked was carrying food aid to kenya? Still, I wonder how the average Somali sees the situation the same way. Then (thanks to Jane Lehr) I found a quote from Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, "I am convinced there is dumping of solid waste, chemicals and probably nuclear (waste)" in Somolia's costal waters and there are claims of illegal fishing as well. I'm not sure how widely these views are held in Somalia but it wouldn't surprise me if many people thought of the pirates not as almost terrorists but more like robin hood exercizing a tax on the people tyring to loot and despoil their water. Then it made me remeber this story, which begins with how two countries (in this case the US and Lybia) can still have very different views about piracy that happened hundreds of years ago.

So, in the end I still belive we need to stop piracy, but do we really need to hate them so much?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Conflict Minerals Pledge

My letter to electronic gadget companies in support of the Conflict Minerals Pledge.


My name is David Ferguson. I'm writing in regards to the Conflict Minerals Pledge. While I recognize that these materials are important components of many of the devices I use and when purchased responsibly can give a boost to local economy where they are mined, I also know that just like conflict diamonds the can also be a cause of instability in many countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I currently own a toshiba tablet PC and an I-pod touch. I use them every day. My tablet is getting old however and soon will be in the market for a new one. I'm eventually going to get one of those smart phones too.

I want you to know that ethical considerations are an important part of my purchasing decisions. I'm the kind of guy that buys sweat free clothes, fair trade coffee, and free range eggs. (All growing in their market share). You can be sure that when I buy my next computer I will be looking for a product who's company has put measures in place to ensure that its minerals purchasing decisions are helping the communities where they are mined and not destabilizing them, in particular by signing the conflict minerals pledge. Oh, and I'll also be telling my friends if I can find a non-annoying way to slip it into a conversation.

I love my gadgets - I hope my next purchases will be with a company I feel is being responsible in its purchasing decisions.


David Ferguson