E-Waste Vid: Beginning, Endings, Boundaries, Edges

A non-political, fresh take on "e-waste" trade and export by third party researchers (J. Lepawsky, C. Mather) in Newfoundland brings us back to the beginning, for me.  The 2011 film is titled "From Beginnings and Endings to Boundaries and Edges:  Rethinking circulation and exchange through electronic waste."  It touches on reuse, disposal, mining, recycling, and people as conveyors, adding and salvaging and retaining value in a chain.   Lepawsky and Mather are listening to the e-waste trade, rather than lecturing to it.

Click MORE to see video

This is really where I started, in Peace Corps.  Living with people and watching what they were doing, what they could be doing, what their realistic choices are.   How people in poverty or emerging economies make choices about their lives.

I wound up becoming very political, finally, when an ass from an NGO started beating the crap out of one of the companies which had totally embraced Fair Trade Recycling and opened a takeback plant.   But as I went to the opposite pole, defending the people who import, I abandoned the center.   We hope that more and more research in the center will enlighten people about how trade can become fairer rather than become illegal and boycotted.

This is a refreshing documentary, almost Tarantino-esque in its juxtaposition of timelines and materials.   It's pulp nonfiction.   It shows just how rich this field of e-waste exports is, how many different angles and rabbit holes there are to study.   It is rich and poor, but also smart and dumb, truth and lies, effort and quitting, trade and boycott, growth and languishment.  Bravo to Josh and Charles for tilling the edges to promote new growth and study in our field.

No comments: