News Release

REF NO.: 151

SUBJECT: PSA: Johnson GEO CENTRE Public Lecture Series

DATE: February 14, 2011

As part of the festivities celebrating the 50th anniversary of Memorial University’s Department of Geography, the Johnson GEO CENTRE continues to sponsor a series of public lectures on the role of geography in all of our lives.
            Dr. Josh Lepawsky of the Faculty of Arts’ geography department will speak on Tracking the Trails of Electronic Junk: Sustainability and the Travels of E-Waste on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.
            Canadians dispose of at least 140,000 metric tonnes of electronic equipment or e-waste every year. By weight, that amount is equivalent to tossing out over one billion iPhones annually. There is a growing recognition that high-tech electronics and the industries that produce them exact significant environmental and social costs that belie optimistic predictions about the emergence of a virtual and sustainable Information Age economy.
            Typically e-waste is understood as an endpoint in a linear journey from production to consumption that culminates in disposal. Activists claim that as much as 80 per cent of the e-waste designated for recycling in Canada is actually being exported overseas to be dealt with by poor and marginalized populations in Asia and Africa. Media portrayals of e-waste’s journeys are largely negative and accompanied by strong moral judgements. The activist and media portrayals of e-waste are important, though perhaps for reasons different from those that receive the most attention.
            In his talk, Dr. Lepawsky will address why the economic perspective is only one possible way to understand why e-waste travels the way it does.
            The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Johnson GEO CENTRE.

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