Reversing Environmental Racism: Owning Your Stereotypes and Profiles

We are on the verge of turning the page on EuroCentric #CircularEconomy.  Several professionals in the European Union (and UK) have understood that Copernicus and Galileo were right, and the sustainable economy does not "revolve around" the OECD.

Five years after the IERC conference gave an Award to Jim Puckett of BAN for his "pioneering and breathless work to prevent the globalization" of used electronics management, the conference has invited Emmanuel Eric Nyalete - a native Ghanaian, Georgia Tech Coder, and former reuse department head at Good Point Recycling - to address the conference and tell them about Ghana's imports from the Tech Sector's point of view.

How did we get here?  And why did it take ten years (since publication of Greenpeace's report on Agbogbloshie) to get experts like Emmanuel, Grace Akese (of MUN), Jenna Burrell, Josh Lepawsky, and others to the podium?  And is it possible that Europe will actually contribute financially to welcome Africa's Tech Sector back to the table, and partner with them to make the world better for future generations of all races, languages, and creeds?

15 Minutes of Shame: Confessions of a Sexual Alpha Male #MeToo

When I hear the noise and see the headlines about people I truly admired - Charlie Rose, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Al Franken, etc. - I mostly turn my head.  Not that their shameful acts are directly comparable, but they are all people I admire (not so much Bill O'Reilly, Roy Moore, Roger Ailes, etc).  So far, I haven't really spoken to anyone about my disappointment or empathies I share with both victims and perpetrators.

By the time I graduated (Carleton) college in Minnesota, I had learned enough - about myself and my capacity for both positive and selfish love - that I thought it best to take a two year "time out".  I signed up for a Peace Corps position as a high school teacher and was placed in a very remote rural high school in north central Cameroon.

While I wouldn't describe it as a vow of chastity (unsuccessful at any rate), it did change the game, and challenge me.  I'd later explain, after Peace Corps hired me as a Cross Cultural trainer for new volunteers, that our ideas about Peace Corps as a remote and lonely adventure are really mistaken. We arrive with hiking boots and backpacks, but find ourselves enrolled in a black fraternity. For most of us, it's intensely social, lacking privacy.

"All the other kids with their pumped up kicks..."

Identity Environmentalism: The Role of Racial Profiling (Otherization) In Start Up Recycling Tech

Three infamous "high tech" and "formalization" of the recycling sector investment schemes - MaSer, CLRR, and EWSI - have come to mind recently, thanks to an irritating article by Peter Holgate of Ronin8.  Like MaSer and EWSI, Ronin8's spokesperson (who writes about his own company) told us this week that the current system of export for reuse is all wrong, and only high technology can save us.  Perhaps his can.

But falsely impugning the repair sector is not the right way to find your investors.  He should just apologize immediately - for his own sake.  Here's why.

(Article by his truly)

The recycling start-ups that rely on impugning the status quo are historically wobbly at best.  The weaker the fundamentals, the more the start-up evangelist points at Guiyu and Agbogbloshie.  The more we are talking about "hundreds if not thousands" of African children Holgate "eyewitnessed" in Agbogbloshie, the less we are addressing questions yet to be solved with his technology. 

This describes a "tell" on new recycling technology. The more page ink their literature spills on "identity environmentalism" and racially profiling their competition, the less they seem to want to talk about their fundamentals.

It's a good sign when a startup honestly devotes time and space to fundamental questions like "what is the energy input into the magic printed circuit board powderization-to-sonic-washing technique?"

The simple answer will be "less than smelting". But the recovered metals at the process, don't they then have to be smelted? Isn't heating something once (smelter temp) better than heating it less once and then re-heating it to smelter temperature afterwards? If the evangelist burns half their presentation talking about "primitive Chinese" and "childish Africans", we have less time to pursue these important fundamentals, lifecycle analysis, carbon impact, etc.

On Bourdain, David Perry, Bob Akers, and Lloyd and Bessie Mae Presley

Anthony Bourdain goes to West Africa for the food, comes back singing about electronics geeks and wizards
Let me present the ontological argument for inclusivity - including inclusivity of people who appear to strongly disagree with your beliefs.  I've learned not to be angry, or afraid, of people who are wrong.  Not being afraid, being brave about things like patriotism and cultural appropriation, and finding commonalities and strengths to emulate in your adversaries, is just good practice.

"Mass communication has brung us all within earshot (and memes) of people who strongly disagree with what we grew up believing. Some people are frightened and threatened by that. Those people (right or left) are pretty similar in my experience (my family's from Taney County Mo, I went to Carleton and my kid's at Middlebury). There must be a better word than snowflake, but it's a short step from fear to intolerance."

This is a comment I just left on an interesting article on "PC" culture on liberal campuses compared to "Faith and Patriotism" core values (and mandatory courses) on Christian universities (ran across David M. Perry's  "Why Do Christian Schools Get a Pass in Conversations about Academic Freedom".  And (screenshot below) he responded by Twitter before I got far along in today's blog.

The original topic I was searching Twitter for is references to the Ozarks, which I've been thinking about again lately.  Not just because we are preparing our annual family holiday gathering on the Missouri Arkansas line, and not just because of my fascination or obsession with the parallels between Agbogbloshie and Branson.

At the conference in New Orleans, I was politely greeted by Bob Akers, the new Executive Director of E-Stewards.  He ran the Surplus Exchange in Kansas City, which I visited about 15 years ago.  Great organization, and it managed to earn E-Stewards Certification in a reuse context... similar to Fair Trade Recyclers earning R2 certification.

And he's the only person I will meet this year, outside of the family, who will recognize 2017 as the 50th Anniversary of the Presley Family Jubilee... and what that meant to culture and industry in Branson, Missouri.  It was sometimes debated whether Lloyd and Bessie Mae Presley were truly locals (she was from Oklahoma, they moved from Springfield MO to Branson in 1967 to open the theater) but they were quickly looked on as 100% local as more and more Andy Williams, Dolly Parton, Wayne Newtons and Acrobats of China shows followed them there.

Electronics Recycling Conference 2017 Presents Jim Lynch Lifetime Achievement Award To

Scary Times in New Orleans...

What a great time I had last night, here in New Orleans, Louisiana.  I'm here to attend the 2017 ERC conference, run now by Sarah Cade of Chicago.  The annual international conference is a unique group of people, which took off from the launching pad of an organization, TechSoup, run by my pal Jim Lynch of San Francisco.  Jim's a legend, and each year this electronics reuse conference presents an achievement award in his name.

While the Bourbon Street Halloween Parade was truly a sight to behold, and Jazz Saxophonist Gary Brown was giving rare encores late into the night, the pinnacle of the evening, for me, came early.  At 6PM, I was presented a "Lifetime Achievement Award" for alleged contributions to the field of electronics repair and reuse. The honor was bestowed on me by Jim and Sarah, based on a vote of past Jim Lynch honorees, such as the distinguished Nancy Jo Craig of Baton Rouge, Charles Brennick of InterConnection in Seattle, Kyle Wiens (founder of IFIXIT!) and others.


Not cultural appopriation b/c photo snapped by Swiss woman? Oh and Halloween. That.

Jim Lynch himself introduced the award.  I was touched that he spoke about the several hour drive he and I shared together coming back from Retroworks de Mexico. He hit the sweet spots of my career, and my passion for defending reuse techs in emerging markets.