One of my favourite quotes was said by Eleanor Roosevelt.
“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”
This work ethic is something that JGI Canada really espouses, and is one of the many reasons I’m so proud to be a part of its team of passionate peacemakers.
It might seem weird that I’m talking about peace on the JGI blog, but here’s why.JGI’s community-centred conservation programs help many people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As you may know, this area of the world has a history of violent war. To make sure that these programs are successful, it means ensuring that the people are healthy, safe and able to engage in our conservation programs and that the environment in this area is safe and protected for chimps and other wildlife.
So much of the conflict in the DRC is happening because it is so rich in many of the minerals we use in our electronics: coltan, tungsten, cobalt and copper, for example. Armed groups fight for control over these minerals. Unfortunately, many humans, animals, and the environment get caught in the crossfire.
I admit – it’s hard to know what to do to help this situation – especially since we live what seems like worlds away. But the answer to helping create peace in Africa is right in front of us! Would you be surprised if I told you that your choices and actions can help make this peace possible?
The Conflict Minerals Act (Bill C-486) aims to make companies accountable for the minerals their products contain – they would have to demonstrate whether or not their minerals were harvested and sold by armed rebel groups in the DRC. This would create a demand for conflict-free products, and would alleviate the big reasons behind why there is still so much bloodshed and environmental destruction in the DRC.
To make this successful, we have to make sure that the people who represent us in Parliament know that we really want this. I know that I want to buy my phones, laptops, and lightbulbs with the knowledge that their parts are conflict-free – and I will bug my politicians until they listen!
We’ve started a nationwide petition campaign to encourage people to let our politicians know that we want this change to happen.
This is the time when believing in and talking about peace requires work, just like Ms. Roosevelt said. I’ve signed it and gotten my peers involved – please join me!
Here’s a link to a guide that will provide you with more information and will help you get the word out. Please download it and use it!
Stay tuned to the blog! Over the next few weeks, our bloggers are going to be sharing different perspectives and insights into why this campaign is so important, and why working to make peace possible is so, so vital to what we –and you! – strive for.
Featured Image courtesy of Faigl.ladislav Derivative work: JCRules (Africa map.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons