Voices From the Congo

Cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be real dirty, but locals don't want to see it gone.

Voices From the Congo
Photograph by Raul Alejandro / Alejandro Photography / Instagram

LISTENING: to the dogs bark outside
FEELING: hot, spring is here!
SEEING: my fan spin and spin

My mom has worked since she was a kid. I can't remember the exact age — but she was no older than 10 when she began selling pupusas on the streets of El Salvador to help my abuelita and my tías. She didn't finish school; that's not a priority when families are living day to day. At least her work wasn't dangerous. It still robbed my sweet mom of a proper childhood and an education, but being a street vendor didn't expose her to hazardous machinery or chemicals.

The same can't be said for many other children around the globe — especially in the mining sector that is powering the clean energy transition.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I just published a story for Atmos that digs into the troubled realities of cobalt, a critical mineral needed in batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage.

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