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Opulent, Oblique, and Obsolete

// Posted by on 06/10/2015 (9:39 PM)

http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-electronics/

Hi my name is David and I’m a “trailblazing consumer.”

Really though, I’m a combination of “trailblazing consumer,” “fashion fanatic,” and sometimes I’m just a “fickle consumer.” The bottom line is I’m just as… Read more

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http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-electronics/

Hi my name is David and I’m a “trailblazing consumer.”

Really though, I’m a combination of “trailblazing consumer,” “fashion fanatic,” and sometimes I’m just a “fickle consumer.” The bottom line is I’m just as guilty of this outrageous management of e-waste as the rest of the developed world is.

I strongly encourage you to watch the video above as well as this one, http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-stuff/.

I love Annie Leonard. I was very excited to find out that she was going to be the keynote speaker at a conference I went to back in October. She’s not doing too much work with The Story of Stuff Project these days, but she is currently the Executive Director of Greenpeace.

I’ve always known that e-waste was bad, but I don’t think I knew how bad it had escalated. I just thought we had separate recycling because it was bad for heavy metals to wind up in the landfill and that perhaps components could be reused. I didn’t once think, and I keep up with environmental issues fairly regularly, that these items were being shipped overseas for the poorest of some other country to be left with the remnants of the developed world’s arrogance and wastefulness.

These videos depicted the results of the developed world’s constant desire for the newest and the best. I have to wonder why more information about this isn’t widely circulated, but then I think about it for a second and I quickly affirm that the reason is money. If the obsolescence of computer, TVs, cell phones, and so on wasn’t planned, what reason would consumers, we’ll say in the United States, have to buy a new fill in the blank. Because cell phone companies offer one and two year contract, the average person takes that to mean that in one to two years they will need to get a new cell phone, and they will. Odds are the cellphone manufacturers, Apple, Motorola, etc. will have new models out by the end of that contract period too. Why would you not want to buy the latest and greatest?

So who’s at fault for these atrocities? I know that’s a strong word, but odds are the manufacturers, marketing companies, and even the consumers are aware of some aspect of the waste generated by the disposal and constant desire to have the latest and greatest electronic gadget. Slade states that “our actions as consumers of electronic goods clearly has a ripple effect around the world.

The United States has an opportunity to be a leader here. We need to be a leader in the proper dismantling of e-waste and the proper recycling of reusable parts and disposal of those that aren’t able to be used again. Further, we need to come up with better practices about how we manage what cannot be used again. Since we, as an intelligent people, are aware that the metals and other materials that are used to make our electronics are toxic – we need to find sustainable alternatives that will ultimately mitigate the environmental impact when they make their way to into the waste stream. This is an issue we need to handle domestically – not pawn off on the poor in developing nations. Perhaps if we left this issue at home, and we had to see it every day, we, as consumers, wouldn’t be as quick to jump and buy the latest and greatest. We vote with our wallets, and I know that if I find out a company is taking steps to better manage their electronic waste, and they are finding ways to incorporate fewer and less toxic materials into their products that I would quickly opt to support them with my purchase.

What’s more important? Our environmental future or making a few bucks on selling a few more cell phones?


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Rushkoff’s Present Shock

// Posted by on 03/30/2014 (8:11 PM)

Douglas Rushkoff’s new novel, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,” describes his feelings towards the digital age and the way he views our society as a whole. He believes that in our world, it is impossible to multitask. You are… Read more

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Douglas Rushkoff’s new novel, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,” describes his feelings towards the digital age and the way he views our society as a whole. He believes that in our world, it is impossible to multitask. You are totally invested in one thing, that you are unable to hear or do the other. Rushkoff introduces this term, “present shock,” simply meaning that we have do not have the ability to cope with the present. When you collapse the narrative that were used to having, that is when you become stuck in present shock. Rushkoff also talks about our real vs. online lives, and the difference between them. He believes that you are not the same in both, and thus you are living two opposing lives. However, I disagree with him. In the digital world that we live in today, our real lives and online ones are combined. When you post pictures on Facebook or upload videos on youtube from a concert you recently attended, those images are your real life expressed online, not two totally different lives. Rushkoff believes our online lives are taking over. If I made the argument that when you attend a concert and spend most of your time videoing it, you are still mentally present at the concert, Rushkoff would disagree. He would say that you are so engrossed in your mobile device that you are missing out on the actual show.

Although it annoys me people on their mobile devices or iPads at concerts, I still do believe you are retaining the concert and living within the moments of it. I would argue that we are able to multitask depending on the situation. Just as Turkel has explained in her articles, the society we are living in is too invested in their phones. I completely agree with this view point. If we all took a second out of our day to just stop what were doing and look around, you’d be amazed at what you would notice, and how many people you’d see on their phones. My phone recently got stolen the other day and I will admit not having it for a couple hours made me on edge. At first it was nice, however playing a division one sport in college and receiving text updates regarding practice, etc. I needed a phone. It angered me a little that I had to instantly rush to the AT&T store to activate an old phone of mine. The idea of going a couple days without one was nice, but one that I couldn’t do. Its unbelievable how digitally tuned in we all are. However, at this point I think it is impossible to change it. Is it possible for our society and the one that we have grown accustomed to, to change their usage of technology?


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