Seeing People for what They CAN do

One of my favorite compliments to Good Point Recycling came from a job counseling service.  We had managed to take on several trainees with long-term unemployment issues.  It has not worked out in every case, but our record was much better than anyone else in the county.  Glenda said we were unique in our ability to imagine people at work, to find a job that the person was able to do... "Good Point has an ability to see people for what they CAN do, not only for what they CANNOT do.  That's rare."

Multi-Tasking ..."What about me, Papa?"
This applies to Las Chicas Bravas, our women's coop ewaste "maquiladora" partner in Mexico.  It applies to our trading partners in Africa, Latin America, Mid-east, and Asia.

I need to remind myself not to close my eyes to the Watchdogs ability.  I had a eureka moment, a leap of faith which said that the California Compromise could be a way we could work together, using California CRT refuribishing to demonstrate to everyone how talented and environmentally sound the Geeks of Color can be when dealt with in a Fair Trade manner.

The problem was that BAN was the lead for "export" (I never really got to talk to Takeback Coalition, SVTC, Greenpeace, or NRDC - they all apparently deferred to BAN on the subject of export for reuse).  And BAN did not apparently have time to pursue the Compromise.  BAN blamed me for writing critically of them, but the examples of "ad hominem" attacks they cited were A) Before the Compromise, and B) After the attacks on WR3A Friends overseas (infamously, Semarang Indonesia).

I'm watching all of this "e-waste" policy development pretty closely.  It appears to me that there is an unfilled role for a John Brown / Malcom X defender of the Geeks and Techs who cannot defend themselves against an insulting Poster-Child-Cum-Willie-Horton Campaign.  But there is ALSO also a role for someone patient enough to see the Watchdogs Themselves for what they can do, not for what they cannot do.  Neil at Cascades may be the person, or Craig Lorch at Total Reclaim, or one of the Universities.  R2 Solutions could be the place, as long as the AGMA (Planned Obsolescence in Hindsight) interests are kept in check.  The scariest thing is that WR3A will embrace R2 because it leaves the door open for Good Recycling, Non-Polluting facilities overseas... and then R2, a young non-profit without an income stream, will have the same anti-export, anti-reuse rules creep in which E-Stewards embraced and ISRI and EPA and Basel Secretariat had very close calls with.

So today, do I attend the NY Solid Waste Federation conference at Lake George (clients everywhere)?  Or do I head to Montpelier to meet with ANR and legislators in the last possible week to amend the ANR Reuse Procedures?  Or do I catch up on all the tonnage I have to vet and enter for our state contracts in NY and Rhode Island?  Or do I write a blog?  First things first:  See my son off for a week at Lake Dunmore (Camp Keewadin).  This post was done in 10 minutes before breakfast, ten more minutes after the kids leave to school... 20 Minutes Tops.  Plus 5 minutes of edits, and photo... It's 8:29AM, times up.

 Lots of opportunity for me to write something stupid.  But some of Alexis de Tocqueville's best observations were about mundane things.

If someone wants to study how to be an environmentalist in a way which doesn't become politically co-opted ... this blog is about the journey of a man who worked for non-profit anti-mining/conservation, worked in Peace Corps for African development, studied international relations at the UN in Geneva, and practiced recycling as a non-profit, for-profit, and regulator.  Because I may die tomorrow, and I'll certainly die before my work is finished.  Hopefully, the non-profit NGOs will not give up on me for being spirited in my defense of good works.  Hopefully, they will see me for what I can do, and not for what I cannot do.  Mainly right now, I'm using all my weight and force to create leverage for another person to enter and seem like a very reasonable alternative to Ingenthron.  I may break my neck doing these acrobatics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Robin, you need to channel Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird). He was able to defend against racism without putting the unwitting majority on the defensive.