The Next Generation of Environmentalists won't make the ROHS mistake

My experience is that there is a generation of humanities graduates who established nonprofit credentials on the free market's weakness - consumption of natural resources.

That generation, now in our 40s-60s, was able to parlay the loss of rainforest, toxics fears, and general unease over disposal and planned obsolescence to rebound and regulate your industry.  They are behind ideas like "coffee boycotts" and "export bans" and ROHS (replacing recycled content lead with mined tin and silver, and shortening electronics product lifespan in the bargain through tin-whiskers).

I'm hopeful.   There is a new generation - my company has recruited several undergrads and grads - who is genuinely open-minded, still even more concerned, about the environment.

They are more than willing weigh the science.  After all, they are going to live through the mistakes.  They understand the concept of "unintended consequences," "self inflicted wounds" and "friendly fire" between environmentalists.  They are sick that we spend billions to collect fluorescent lamps, diverting the mercury from lined landfills and sending it to alleuvial gold miners in the Congo and Amazon rain forests.

Make no mistake, these are not neo-conservatives.   They do not like the status quo, which is not sustainable.  But the "sustainability" people are the friends of ROHS leadfree engineer/victims.  By rephrasing the endpoint from "non-polluting" to "sustainable", they have opened a thousand thesis researchers who are willing and eager to discover that "antidote B causes, rather than cures, blindness"

Here is a video of how the electronics made with "leadfree" solder have shorter lifespans, which undoes the environmental benefits (also undone by the fact that tin and silver are horrendous mining situations compared to lead, which is about 80% recycled content from lead acid batteries).

My read, at age 48 a lifelong environmentalist, is that "environmental health" or the "health of the whole ecosystem" is parallel to the study of human health.  Which is superior in Western Medicine.  Which took root in alchemy.  Just as the best doctors medicine could afford fed liquid mercury to King Edward of Britain (as I understand, it improved his bowel movements, aka waste flows).  The research over what killed rather than cured the King is the genesis of dialectic and university research, which wrestled control of the hospitals from the Church.

The analogy is that the eco-priests are prescribing mediocine to electronics industries (the king), and bad effects occur.  But the next generation is willing to listen if you all can put your concerns in the form of a thesis topic which can be tested and promoted by a bunch of twenty-somethings who have no more loyalty to Al Gore than the kids in the 60s (my generation) had to C.A. Swanson (inventor of TV dinners, once the rage).

My point is that we can channel your anger and frustration into thesis topics.   I am working with several universities, via (a "Fair Trade" electronics export organization which fights to reform, rather than ban,export for repair and reuse).

Incidentally, I am, for the time being, a completely self-owned recycling company at war with some irrational "environmentalists".  I am confident they will lose, just impatient over the amount of time it is taking.

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