My dilemma has been provoked by the imminent death of my mobile phone. It came to me second-hand and has done me well for a number of years, but I can’t ignore the truth anymore – it’s about to die. It’s so bad that when I try to receive or make a call, the battery drains immediately and the phone goes dead. So I can only use the phone for calls if it is plugged in, which rather defeats the object of it being a mobile phone. In fact, my house phone is more mobile than my mobile phone. That’s not good!
So, what am I to do?
One thing I’m clear on: I’m committed to not buying a new phone if at all possible. I’m hoping the reasons for that are obvious. Although there have been improvements, there are massive problems with both mobile and smart phones, environmentally and socially, from the damage caused by the extraction of the minerals and rare earths needed to make them, to the use of hazardous substances in their manufacture, to the part they play in supporting conflicts through their use of ‘conflict minerals’, to the human rights abuses involved in all of the above, and so on…
To put it bluntly, mobile and smart phones are dirty and I contribute a little bit to that if I buy one. So, if a friend has an old one lurking in a drawer somewhere that they are happy to pass on to me, then I would far rather use that.
But now comes my dilemma. A FB request has resulted in a number of different offers from various people (thank you if that was you – your kindness is much appreciated). I’ve narrowed those offers down to two: a Nokia phone and a Samsung Galaxy 2.
And with this I confront the other issue that I have with phones, over and above the environmental and social problems: our inability to turn them off! Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much into social media – I think it’s a great tool and I love connecting with people through it. But there is always a danger that it takes over our lives (am I the only one still old-fashioned enough to think it’s just downright rude to be texting, tweeting, posting or playing Candy Crush when you’re in the company of other people?). And I know myself only too well: if I get the Samsung Galaxy, will I be disciplined enough to put it down and not be constantly online? I suspect I won’t be.
So, do I go for the Nokia? My current phone is a Nokia and it feels like an old friend that I know well. I’ll be able to text and make phone calls on it and that’ll suit me just fine (incidentally, if you’re interested, Nokia is the best mobile to go for ethically if buying new – the best of a bad lot anyway). Or, do I go for the Samsung Galaxy and embrace the world of the smart phone? Also, let’s face it, will I actually be able to work out how to use it?
One final question: does any of this really matter anyway, or am I just obsessing over trivia??