Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why I'm a late adopter of technology

When the iPhone 5 came out I purposely bought an iPhone 4s. The main reason was cost but not the type of cost you might think.

It was because I didn't want to contribute to the demand for electronics that creates more e-waste. I didn't want all my existing charging cables and docking speaker system to become useless and incompatible with my new phone. Apple decided to create Lightning, a new proprietary connector for the iPhone 5 rather than use the Micro-USB which is standard across other platforms. I voted with my dollars to not reward Apple for their bad behavior. 

About 70% of globally generated e-waste ends up in China.

I also didn't want to upgrade my phone when the one I have works just fine. It may no longer be new but it still allows me to accomplish pretty much everything I need it to do. I will need to re-evaluate when the phone gets slower or when I will no longer be able to use certain apps because my iOS is no longer supported (I'm on iOS 6). Or I'll just have to learn to live without them. Thankfully a lot of sites have a mobile web experience and all I need for that is a browser. 

I was just thinking about this today - sure we've seen many advances and life is "easier" now but is it really? You were able to do a lot of things back then too but it was a little more difficult but there was a certain mystery to it. Now you can find out almost everything you need to know before you experience it yourself. Where's the anticipation? The patience? And for all the conveniences we have why is it still so hard for friends to get together? There should be an app for that. ;o)

Read more about e-waste in this CNN article China: The electronic wastebasket of the world
Or simply do a Google image search for "ewaste" to see where most of the world's ewaste goes - piled up in a third world country.


  1. Yup, I'm into "less consumption" as a whole, not just e-waste. Unfortunately, our resources are mostly finite but few people seem to care and throw the problem at future generations. :| E-waste is particularly noxious.

    I've already read haunting stories about how Chinese farmers are getting paid to take e-waste, take them to part of their fields that have been drained of nutrients, and burning the e-waste there, or mile & miles of networking cables being burned in slum alleyways in India... it's all disgusting, and gives me 2nd thoughts about buying rice grown in China. Want to see what's going on there? Check out this eye-opening 60 Minutes report from several years back, which pretty much validates and visualizes everything we fear -- sadly I don't think those places have improved since then: :-(

    Closer to home, I often think about: where does all the garbage that Hawaiian residents generate go? Those islands have a much more finite space than the mainland... !@#$%. I'm a total fan of sustainability now.

    1. Yay Wes! It's not only affecting future generations but it's affecting other countries now. Just do a Google image search of "ewaste china" and you'll be horrified. I don't want to add to that. And it appears a lot of e-waste makes it to India and countries in Africa. There's a lot of shady business going on with e-waste outfits in America - I think sometimes they just end up in a shipping container to a 3rd world country.

      My point is we all have a hand in this so consuming less is my way of making a difference. However small an impact that may be. I'm a fan of your being a fan of sustainability.