Constructive Fair Trade Recycling Breakthrough

So where do we go from here?
"Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."
-- Mark Twain
"Loyalty to the environment always.  Loyalty to the environmentalists when they deserve it."  ---- Robin Ingenthron 
Below is a letter which I'd like to say I just received from the Basel Action Network and Electronic Takeback Campaign.

Dear Robin, 
Our organization is very unhappy with your characterization of us, in your blog and public addresses.   Basel Action Network is driven by a mission of protecting the world's poor from externalization of toxics and toxic processes.   If a recycling process is going to permanently poison the groundwater, or pose risk to young mothers and children, BAN will not be intimidated.  The Basel Convention is an international treaty which recognizes the risks faced by the poor when the cost of toxics disposal rises, and we have been one of the sole organizations which holds the USA accountable for that standard. 
With that said, we have studied the allegations which you have made, and we are determined to behave as morally and as accurately as possible.    The three specific cases you have raised - of the arrest of Joseph Benson in England, of the seizure of goods from Medi-com of Egypt, and the unfair and defamatory characterization of shipments from Gordon Chiu's company to Semarang, Indonesia, appear to be something our organization should listen to and learn more about.  If it is true that these traders were unfairly profiled, or treated unfairly, based on BAN's characterization of the export market, we want to learn from their experiences, reassess our roles, and grow from it.
Just as your statements have been hurtful to our staff and volunteers, we recognize that statistics BAN has used, irregardless of our intentions, may have created collateral damage or been hurtful to genuine reuse and repair businesses in emerging markets.  We don't know that to be true, but we take the allegation seriously.  If our organization has said anything which has led to the arrest or seizure of goods from a legitimate business in the developing world, our organization will investigate, learn, and if appropriate, make amends. 
The studies you have cited about reuse, and the percentage of waste we filmed which was not imported but generated in these developing countries, raise genuine questions we were not able to consider when we began this campaign.  We are dedicated to the truth, and agree that effective policy must be  supported by facts.  With our combined expertise, we believe that Basel Action Network and Fair Trade Recycling can achieve a better outcome than if we continue with the he-said, she-said dialectic.   Let's improve on the quality of goods shipped, legally and ethically, without either obfuscating or apologizing for genuine pollution, nor mis-characterizing the efforts of entrepreneurs in these developing countries. 
 This would deserve my loyalty:

Yes, this would be a really great letter to receive... it would deserve my loyalty, it would make them genuine environmentalists.   I've been hurt for standing up for innocent friends.  I nearly lost lynchpins in my $3M business.  I've had to defend myself from the assumption that anyone against BAN must be in favor of poisoning children.  The defamation was not just to my friends, it was to my business and its employees.

No.  But in the same vein, BAN, by being in favor of HR2284 and other conservative anti-trade policies, is not "in favor" of racial profiling, or Interpol arresting people who have purchased 90% working equipment.

If BAN could feel secure enough in their position to publicly address the allegations, and to actually consider the possibility that Joseph Benson, Gordon Chiu, and Hamdy Moussa, were innocent... If they would at least take down the "trophies" of press coverage when these men were hanged in a court of environmental tweetery... I could lay down my pen.

I invite them to write a letter from me.  We could each sign one another's letter, and it would be a huge success at the Vermont Fair Trade Recycling Summit.  They would steal the show.

We have to air the debate publicly try to arrive at a truer mark than "80% of e-waste is exported".  When you get a celebrity journalist to endorse your statistic, it's not totally your fault.  But when you see the stat run like a virus from celeb to celeb, at some point the victory must seem cold if the lives of innocents are trampled.

Such a letter would allow me to respond in kind by recognizing BAN's intentions with the E-Stewards program, without feeling that I was selling out people I genuinely think are innocent of most of the charges attributed to them.   I would see hope that the Watchdogs are willing to admit to the possibility of "collateral damage", to entertain the idea that they've made reckless accusations, and I would be invested in helping them understand this world trade better than they have.

I think Mike Enberg might have the guts to do this, and he'd find why Jim Puckett found me such a  friend 7-8 years ago.  At FTR, we don't know who calls the shots on the West Coast.  We know what keeps them from looking closely at collatoral damage.  If my writing has hurt someone somewhere in the world, I'd want to know the possibility.

Meriam-Webster on "Stewardship":   The conducting, supervising, or managing of something;especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care <stewardship of natural resources>

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