Being Happy Builds Character
I remember my first encounter with a tablet addict. I met this 18 year old freshman while waiting for class to start. He’s a sweet kid and we became friends. It didn’t take long for me to notice that he had a problem. He was constantly looking at his tablet. It seemed he couldn’t go 2 minutes without pulling it out for something. It was literally attached to his hip. I mean LITERALLY. He bought a holster for the stupid thing.
I mean yeah, I got it. It was super convenient. But that didn’t stop me from judging him.
What a sorry sight. What a zombie. Like his soul was being sucked out through his protruding eyeballs into that little electronic whore. That seductress that didn’t give anything back but superficial electronic impulses. I would NEVER become sucked into such an empty, sterile existence that was his electronic world.
I would forever be a free spirit. Lover of nature. Devourer of sensations. Never will I be caught in the Matrix of 1’s and 0’s. Those blinking lights that kill brain cells and weaken the eyes.
Well, I think I have a problem. Lying in bed this morning, before I could even fully regain consciousness from a restless night’s sleep, I scrambled through my pillows, sheets, and teddy bears to find the iPad I had insulted, scorned, proclaimed I would never waste my money on, and then DID in a moment of weakness, for my morning fix.
Yes. I give you permission to judge the hypocrite. I certainly do.
As I scrolled through my Facebook feed (another mephistopheles to whom, I’ve sold my ever-living soul) I came across this video.
I was all like
But it got me thinking. Electronic waste? I never really thought about it… But man it makes sense. So I turned to my trusty side-kick Google.
Here’s a small summary of what Google told me:
1. Our cellphones are toxic little bricks of wonder, that aren’t even made in a sustainable way let alone disposed of in a sustainable way.
They contain, and are made out of, many harmful toxic chemicals. Then they are disposed of like this:
2. The world’s dumping ground has become Ghana, along with regions of India, Nigeria, China, and several other locations.
3. Finally, we are producing a LOT of e-waste.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 433.7 million electronics were sold in 2010, and 2,440,000 tons of electronics were disposed of in that same year by the US alone.
According to the EPA, in 2013, 2.35 billion electronics where sold in the US.
This was all very disturbing to me. So I looked into different things that people can do. Onegreenplanet.org had some really good suggestions:
“1. Donate: While that old computer may seem like a worthless piece of junk to you, there are plenty of charitable organizations that are looking to repair, upgrade and pass on refurbished computers to those who need it. StRUT , The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Komputers4Kids,World Computer Exchange and The National Cristina Foundation are great organizations you should consider donating your used electronic equipment to.
“2. Re-purpose: Admit it, you waste way too much time staring at your smart phone or laptop anyway. Why not get creative and geek out a bit by re-purposing your old electronic equipment into something cool? This article has some amazing ideas; you can turn your old iPod into a portable hard drive, your old computer into a jukebox and almost any electronic equipment into art.
“3. Recycle: Find a recycler that is part of the E-Stewards network, because they are required to follow higher standards and don’t export your old equipment to developing countries. Further, many will also reuse and refurbish your equipment. For cellphones, Capstone Wirelessis a great option and Call2Recycle will take your rechargeable cell phone batteries. Both organizations have signed on to the e-Stewards Standard for responsible recycling and reuse of electronic equipment.
“4. Take it back: Many electronics manufactures and retailers have established voluntary take-back programs. Some states (like New York) have even passed laws that will require manufacturers to collect and recycle or reuse unwanted electronics. The EPA website has a comprehensive list of manufacturers and retailers that offer such programs. However, not all of these programs use e-Stewards certified vendors and some may still be exporting your old equipment to developing countries. For more information, check The Electronics TakeBack Coalition’s website, which also offers a lot more information on what you can do to tackle the e-waste problem.
“5. Don’t upgrade! We’ve saved the best for last. Of course, the best way to combat e-waste is to not create it in the first place. You should resist the urge to upgrade and replace your iPhone, Blackberry or other favorite gadgets every time an electronics manufacturer announces the latest and greatest version. Don’t fall into their marketing trap; you know you’re better than that! By using your electronics till they actually die out, you will not only save yourself a lot of money, but will also save our planet from being destroyed by e-waste.”
I’m going to add one more suggestion:
Become aware, and spread the word. It’s important to do your part, however one twig alone is easily snapped. It’s not as easy to break a many sticks that stand together.
Oh and spread the word about this super cool phone by David Hakkens. I want one. So spread the word. Do it now. Now, do it now. 1, 2, 3, now. now. do it now. So that I can buy one.