E-Waste Field Bloggers Play Atticus Finch

The truth about reuse and recycling is starting to come out everywhere.  Lisa P. Jackson in Ethiopia, Atlantic Monthly series, Meltwater Academy in Ghana, my own contribution to Motherboard.   The Ghana research released by StEP, the papers published by Eric and Ramzy at ASU.   Adam Minter of ShanghaiScrap and I have discovered each other.  NPR, PBS, AP.  Charles Brennick of Interconnection.org, another RPCV, is corresponding regularly.   {copy and paste any of these into "search" at right}

Clearly Fair Use Image taken off by NGO?  What are they afraid of??
Like the "Arab Spring", the truth about Geeks of Color is catching up fast on the "McCarthy Campaign against e-waste".

People are pushing back against the labels, against the "crime" of "Recycling while Poor".  We feel traction.  We are all Fair Trade Recycling.

Yesterday I discovered a new window, TechTravels blog (wordpress).  It's mostly photos from Asia, very similar to the pictures I took in Guangzhou, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. on my first visits to "Geeks of Color".  It's done by an artist, not a tech writer, but the pictures tell a thousand words.   It's an OUTSTANDING rebuttal to the "Guiyu" story.

About TechTravels

This blog deals with some of unintended effects of the collision between culture and technology. These pages will be dedicated in particular to the repair, mod and hack ecosystems that have sprung up around consumer electronics in developing countries.
As an interaction designer and one of the principal founders of Blendid, David Kousemaker researches this topic from a designer/maker perspective.

On the "Product Stewardship" guest blog a couple of months ago, Sarah from BAN.org posted a blog with pictures of dirty looking cell phone repair shops.  I wondered, what are they doing there?  What's bad?  I wanted to ask whether this was another example of the crime of "recycling while poor"... but since she had photos and had been there and I hadn't, I kept my mouth shut.
Ok, where's the lighter fluid? NGO Censorship

Now look at these photos from TechTravels, same cell phone recycling... but much more detail, many more photos, and TECHNICIANS instead of unwashed children.  Suddenly, you see something incredibly different.  Seems BAN may have done the same thing telling the story of cell phone recycling which they did to CBS 60 Minutes, steering them off the real trail to a place without a computer monitor in sight.

I discovered TechTravels via this Nokia blog... itself another contributor to "the rest of the story."  The comments left below that blog are interesting in and among themselves.  Interestingly, a few people think, like I do, that this is cool and sustainable.  Others seem predjudiced to believe that having painstakingly separated these chips (which are reused as components in new assemblies), that surely these poor Chinese just burn them again.

This funny video (originally below, removed because of autoplay issue) shows how a lot of people feel when they learn the truth about "e-waste" recycling in China.  But follow the Nokia blog above, first... much more important a story.

1 comment:

WR3A's Robin Ingenthron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.