Free Idea: Where My Computer Came From

We’ve all got ideas or concepts that we want to see developed, but might not personally have the time for. The Purple Prize asks you to share them! They just might be picked up by someone 🙂

Kelsey Amos is a graduate student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she is pursuing a PhD in English with a focus in cultural studies. A former Kanu Fellow, Kelsey’s introduction to nonprofit work in Hawaiʻi came through Kanu Hawaiʻi’s 2012 civic engagement project. She is a freelance writer and has done event planning and community building around food and the arts as a member of the Food+ student hui and as former managing editor of Hawaiʻi Review. Her academic interests include Indigenous politics, cultural studies in the Pacific, and Hawaiʻi literatures. In her work for Purple Maiʻa and in her writing she hopes to contribute to visioning and building an indigenized, just, and sustainable Hawaiʻi.

Many of us benefit greatly from the power of our computers and mobile devices, but we have little idea of where these devices come from, in a material sense. Where was the product manufactured? Where were the raw materials mined from the earth? How did your laptop get to you, and when you decide to buy a new one, what are your options for disposing of it?

What if there was a program that, when downloaded, tells you the different materials that make up your computing device and where they likely came from. Ideally, this would include information on the land where mines are located and the indigenous peoples those lands belong to.

The program could also make suggestions for the best-case maintenance and eventual disposal of your device, so you can avoid contributing to “e-waste” dumps.

Granted, this would be an “awareness-raising” project, but we are at such a point of taking the materiality of our tech for granted, that maybe just connecting with where our devices come from would be a great first step.

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