A Star Died So I Could Have an iPad

All the naturally-occurring elements in the universe are forged in the cosmic fusion reactors we call stars. This is true of the atoms in our our bodies and of those in our e-gear. We are truly stardust.

The process of fusing atomic nuclei together to form ever-more-complex atoms is called 'nucleosynthesis'. Average stars like our sun can power basic reactions like fusing hydrogen into helium.

More complex atoms - those with the atomic numbers of iron and above, the elements we need for our devices - require a lot more energy. This only occurs during 'explosive nucleosynthesis', during the rare death throes of a massive star, during what we call a supernova.

Many elements in our e-gear are rare on earth because they are rare in the universe. The tension between our increasing demand and their increasing scarcity gives rise to challenges and opportunities for sustainable ICT.

Image courtesy of Enough Project

Image courtesy of Green Alliance

Image courtesy of Umicore
Click here to learn how the demand for conflict minerals for mobile devices is fueling the globe's deadliest conflict since WWII. Click here to learn how ICT materials scaricty can contribute to resource insecurity. Click here to learn why mining e-waste is an emerging alternative.

Supernova image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons