Posts Tagged ‘Silicon Valley’

I just received an encouraging response from the Computer History Museum, regarding my earlier request that they consider including ‘The Digital Dump‘ in their exhibits:

You raise an interesting topic which would in fact be a GREAT topical exhibit here at the museum. I’ ll definitely add to our running list for exhibit ideas and also forward to our Programs person as a potential lecture topic. ‘

Let’s see what comes out of it.

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Below is a copy of the email I just sent today, to the Computer History Museum, that is based here in Silicon Valley:


I am a blogger here in the Valley, and just featured a very powerful movie, ‘The Digital Dump’, in my blog. The 23′ documentary was produced by the Basel Action Network, and will be shown as part of the United Nations Association Film Festival, next week at Stanford University. ‘The Digital Dump’ is about the scandal of junk electronics, mostly computers, that are being dumped by the US and Europe, into developing countries such as Africa. The mountains of unusable computers end up being burnt, right in the middle of residential neighborhoods, resulting in extraordinary environmental health hazards, especially amongst children.

It struck me that ‘The Digital Dump’ story is a part of the computer history, here in Silicon Valley, and I was wondering if that is something you would consider showing in the context of your museum?

I look forward to your response.

Today is Blog Action Day, featuring the Environment. I felt moved to act, beyond just blogging. And felt stirrings of activism brewing.

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Images from ‘The Digital Dumpare hard to forget. I had the privilege of watching the 23′ video documentary during a pre-screening for the United Nations Association Film Festival. And was shocked by what I saw. Mountains of old TVs, obsolete computers, unusable stereos, burning up in the midst of Lagos residential neighborhoods, and children watching, as the dark, toxic smoke filled their air. Shot in Lagos, Nigeria, for the Basel Action Network, ‘The Digital Dump‘ serves as an arresting visual metaphor for the environmental crimes of gigantic proportions, that are routinely committed in developing countries such as Africa. Main perpetrators: North America and Europe. From the movie introduction, on the BAN website:

In Lagos, while there is a legitimate robust market and ability to repair and refurbish old electronic equipment including computers, monitors, TVs and cell phones, the local experts complain that of the estimated 500 40-foot containers shipped to Lagos each month, as much as 75% of the imports are “junk” and are not economically repairable or marketable. Consequently, this e-waste, which is legally a hazardous waste is being discarded and routinely burned in what the environmentalists call yet “another “cyber-age nightmare now landing on the shores of developing countries.”

The video was especially relevant to our audience, a gathering of Silicon Valley folks. There is a time, when the BAN investigator, directs the camera to random close ups of the brand names and still identifiable sources for some of the discarded computers. To recognize many of the big names of Silicon Valley, brought gasps in the audience. There is an ugly underside to Silicon Valley success, and it was just exposed, last night, in my friend Christine’s Palo Alto garage. What really happen to the old computers we thought were safely discarded? How can we tell for sure? Where does the responsibility lie? What will it take for Silicon Valley manufacturers to become a part of the solution? The name of Green Citizen came up in the conversation. John Kao is doing some wonderful work, trying to address the problem with his organization.

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