Consider the following paradox: many of the everyday tools of engaged citizens and progressive activists — especially our various electronic gadgets — contribute directly to the suffering of other unseen human beings in ways that we scarcely realize.

Discarded electronic devices often become hazardous waste exports to developing countries, where they are dismantled by low-wage workers who risk their own health and that of their children to salvage materials for reuse in industrial processes. Likewise, the standard lifestyle of active participants in affluent societies typically involves consumption of energy and fossil fuel resources at a level that is simply unsustainable and will trigger rapid global warming, barring a massive reversal of that course. However, the harshest impacts of climate change will be felt first not by those with the largest carbon footprints but by residents in the developing world living in proximity to oceans...

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