Restart Radio: Climate anxiety and deep adaptation

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We talk about the climate crisis and the concept of deep adaptation – the idea that we will need to radically change our lives in the face of global changes.

From worker rights to Norway’s right to repair

First, we discuss some news. Female workers at South Korean semiconductor plants are at much higher risks of leukemia and other cancers than their male counterparts. This research examined 201,057 current and former workers at six semiconductor companies, including Samsung Electronics. We also comment on the story of a Samsung LCD worker who has finally received “work accident” recognition 15 years after developing a brain tumour.

On more positive news, we discuss plans from France to ban unsold electronics and clothes from being destroyed, as part of a new circular economy law. While we welcome this initiative we do wonder: what will happen to these products when destruction is banned?

Lastly, we talk about latest right to repair news from Norway, where professional repairer Henrik Huseby met Apple in court for a second time, after Apple appealed losing in its lawsuit last year. Like Huseby, many repairers face barriers to get spare parts and have to use refurbished screens which Apple absurdly claim are ‘counterfeit’.

The climate zeitgeist

A climate emergency has been all over the news in the UK recently. From Sir David Attenborough taking a big stand on the climate, to Greta Thunberg’s visit to Parliament, to Extinction Rebellion’s protests. Different target dates have been set for net zero emissions, by different groups in the UK. (Since we recorded this episode, the UK became the first country to set a netzero target by law.)

We explore this current climate crisis and then talk about the concept of deep adaptation – the idea that we will need to radically change our lives in the face of global changes. What will our life, and that of future generations, look like in 10 years?

Then, we play a clip from Restart Party goers sharing their views on the latest climate science. These include a fear that we will not have the resources to maintain our way of living, and suggest that we will need to extend the lifespan of the products and materials that we buy. They also point to the sometimes confusing balance between where responsibility should lie: is it about focusing on the micro-actions or about pushing governments for high-level change?

Inspired by Mary Heglar’s essay on sustainability and personal action, we talk about the power in magnifying our individual acts, and escalating our everyday frustrations to seek change.

And while we must work urgently to avoid run-away climate change, we conclude that we also need to start envisioning what a radically changed world will look like, and what we will lose. (We ran out of time and didn’t do the topic of “Deep Adaptation” justice at all. But we’ve added some more links below that go into greater depth on the topic.)


[Featured imaged from Extinction Rebellion]

The Hankyoreh has started publishing a multi parts series investigation into Samsung’s ‘unsustainable labor practices […] in factories in 3 Asian countries’:

Samsung Electronics is no longer just a South Korean company — it’s become one of the world’s top companies. As a multinational firm, how does Samsung Electronics look to people around the world? What do the company’s international workers think about it? And what are life and work like for company workers in the Asian countries that host the company’s major bases of production? To answer these questions, Hankyoreh reporters visited nine cities in Vietnam, India, and Indonesia. While traveling halfway around the globe on a journey of some 20,000km, our reporters personally met and surveyed 129 workers for Samsung Electronics. Though international labor organizations have published reports about working conditions at Samsung Electronics, this is the first attempt by a media organization to link the situation in South Korea with other countries.

Our 70-day investigation into Samsung’s global footprint turned up unpleasant truths that Koreans have been vaguely aware of but preferred to ignore. We believe that facing up to the truth, as painful as it may be in the short term, is necessary in order to bolster Samsung’s brand value as a global company. This five-part series will be assessing Samsung Electronics’ sustainability as a top-tier global company.

And from Part III:

“From an international perspective, this process ought to be called the ‘Samsungification’ of labor. Samsung only moves into countries where it can treat workers poorly,” the spokesperson also said. This represents an old-fashioned management strategy that views workers as being cheap, and without rights. Management practices that were widespread in South Korea during the 1970s and 1980s are now being applied in developing countries.


Remarkable investigation. Good to know that Korean media are on top of this, even if the rest of the world is not. As we observed in the show, most Samsung mobiles made in the UK are assembled in Vietnam.

For those interested, the five parts are now all up and I’ve edited my earlier post to include links to all parts.

[Edit: a sixth part has been published, so there are more than five - which I thought was the number of parts that had initially been announced.]


We received this message via Good Electronics, thought it would be of interest @Panda

Dear colleagues,

We wanted to share some good news in the fight against corporate impunity : Samsung electronics France has been indicted following the common complaint by ActionAid France and Sherpa, on misleading advertising. Samsung displays ethical commitments on workers’ rights that it does not respect in its factories in China, Korea and Vietnam. In fact, many NGOs denounce fundamental rights’ violations in serious investigations reports: employment of children under the age of sixteen years old; abusive working hours; working conditions and accommodation incompatible with human dignity and endangering workers life.

For those who speak French you can also check out our website :


And for those who don’t, here’s an article in English with some more details: French court indicts Samsung on labor rights violations.

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The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has published detailed background information about Samsung lawsuit (re misleading advertising & labour rights abuses) including a link to Samsung’s response to the Hankyoreh’s report: Samsung’s Commitment to Our Workers in Global Operations.

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And here’s the Hankyoreh’s response to Samsung’s response to its investigation: The Hankyoreh’s response to Samsung’s denial of its global labor violations:

Samsung’s statement was still disappointing in numerous ways. For example, Samsung slammed several of the reports, arguing that they “misrepresented the facts” and doubting that they reflected “objectivity and a balanced perspective.” This article will respond to each of Samsung’s claims in order to aid readers’ understanding.