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The Downside of Smart and Green Technologies

February 21, 2021

Smartphones in use at railway station, Author, Source (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

We cannot, it seems, live without the latest technological devices:  computers, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, smart locks, smart doorbells, smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smart speakers, and virtual assistants to coordinate them all.

We are, meanwhile, being told that “green” technology is the wave of the future; that electric cars are the ethical choice [1].

But there is a hidden cost to this technology.

Rare Earth Minerals Lost

Irreplaceable rare earth minerals like cerium, dysprosium, indium, neodymium, praseodymium, and terbium are being depleted for our smartphones, flat screen TVs, electric cars, solar panels, and wind turbines [2A][3].

Pollution Increased

Unfortunately, the refinement of rare earth minerals for so called renewable energy produces toxic byproducts.  The Chinese mines and factories churning out these gadgets for sale to the West are generating pollution on an epic scale [2B].

Slavery and Child Labor

Worse still, global supply chains extending into the United States for smartphones and designer clothing far too often rely on slave or child labor [4].

Biblical “Destroyers of the Earth”

The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth” (Rev. 11: 18 ESV).

The Book of Revelation predicts that those characterized as “destroyers of the earth” will, themselves, be destroyed.  This verse is popularly understood to refer to destruction of the environment, and earth’s natural resources.

Tragic though it may be, the destruction of the earth’s physical environment reflects an even more profound spiritual corruption.

While man was charged with stewardship of the earth, the destroyers of the earth are the nations in rebellion against God, responsible for destroying the earth by means of the seven plagues God visits on it [5].

That is not, however, the end of the story.  The 24 elders make their statement about the destroyers of the earth in response to the sound of the seventh angel’s trumpet.  It is that trumpet which heralds the Second Coming of Christ.

[1]  The Nature of Cities, “Smart vs. Green:  Technology Paradigms Battle It Out for the Future City” by Sarah Hinners, 9/16/19,

[2A and 2B]  BBC, “The Dystopian Lake Filled by the World’s Tech Lust” by Tim Maughan, 4/2/15,

[3]  Clearworld, “Renewable Energy Requires Rare Earth Minerals – China Holds Most of Them”,

[4]  MSNBC, “Invisible Hands:  Child labor in the US and around the world”, 11/13/18,

[5]  Dialnet, “The ‘Destroyers of the Earth’ in Revelation 11, 18 – Who are they?” by Eliezar Gonzalez,


From → Christian, Religion

  1. If I ever need a lawyer, you’re on my list! 😉

  2. I got a lot from “The Destroyers of the Earth” that you referenced. Thank you!

  3. Allan Halton permalink

    “Tragic though it may be, the destruction of the earth’s physical environment reflects an even more profound spiritual corruption.” That is the real problem, Anna, and because of it the tenant that the Landlord left in charge of caring for His property has all too often been irresponsible, he has badly failed his duties, to the extent of rebellion against the Landlord, proclaiming that the planet is not the Landlord’s in the first place but is his own to do with as he sees fit.

    Whatever will the tenant do when the Landlord returns, unhappy with what He sees is going on?

    • The wicked will see it and be grieved; He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked shall perish” (Ps. 112: 10).

  4. I am so grateful that my son, now in his early 40’s, is embedding this challenge in his own life and young children, viz. our stewardship of the ecology. N.T. Wright, the British theologian, has been hugely influential in my own thinking in this regard. After all, we pray every day, ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ Jesus, the Chief Gardener, should know about these things. The redemption story begins with a garden, Israel failed as a garden, Jesus suffered in the garden, he triumphed in the garden by his resurrection, now the Church is his garden (Jn. 15) and he will establish a new heaven and new earth according to his great Revelation given to his humble servant, John. Great privilege (this beautiful earth) carries with it great responsibility. I think we have to pray and live in hope, otherwise our faith is vain. It’s what carried Viktor Frankl through Auschwitz.

    • Beautifully expressed, Erroll. Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” is a long-time favorite of mine.

    • Allan Halton permalink

      I wish there was a “double-like” for this one, Erroll!

  5. A few months ago I watched Michael Moore’s ‘Planet of the Humans’ in his Youtube channel (now removed). It was just so heartbreaking. What we’re made to think is a move to sustainability really isn’t, not to mention the politics behind.

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