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The democratic deficit of transnational environmental activism: a case study of e-waste governance in India.
The literature on transnational activism often associates environmental NGOs with democratic legitimacy, grassroots representation and environmental justice. Authors employ case studies to demonstrate how engaging in transnational networks increases the political agency of environmental NGOs. Yet, there is a tendency mostly to select successful cases. I investigate the political activities of the environmental NGO, Toxics Link, surrounding the recycling of electronic waste in India. Based on qualitative research, this study shows how the political incorporation of Toxics Link in transnational advocacy networks and domestic governance networks constrains their political agency. The structural exclusion of e-waste laborers from Indian policy negotiations negates the discursive claims of legitimacy, representation and justice. These incorporation processes create a democratic deficit.
From risk to resource? E-waste management and the concept of circular economy
This paper investigates some ways in which risks concerning electronic waste (e-waste) are done and undone in relation to the concept of circular economy. In doing so, it points to the performative character of risk along with the power relations and subsequent processes of normalisation that underlie these processes of doings and undoings. The findings suggest that e-waste is assumed to pose risk when treated outside the EU, while it is largely understood as a resource when treated within the EU or Western countries. Here, difference is created as e-waste is subjected to spatial transfers, in this case (global) trade.
E-products, E-waste and the Basel Convention: Regulatory Challenges and Impossibilities of International Environmental Law.
Electronic waste is recognized as the fastest growing hazardous waste stream of the twenty-first century. Because e-waste streams contain highly valuable precious metals and other secondary resources as well as hazardous toxic substances, the issue of their regulation lies at a liminal space between products and wastes. This complex legal interface engages the distinct and sometimes contradictory international regimes of liberalized trade and environmental protection. With most global flows of e-waste being treated by informal recycling industries in developing countries, and given the continued structural exclusion of these marginalized e-waste recycling sectors from official waste governance paradigms, the globalization of e-waste raises important environmental justice and North-South development issues. The present article examines the discussion of e-waste within international environmental law. In particular, it assesses new guideline developments under the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal. It is argued that despite its overarching objectives in relation to human health and environmental protection, the Basel Convention and the newly adopted Technical Guidelines on E-waste primarily ensure the continued circulation of obsolete electronic commodities in conditions that reproduce international externalities. The impossibility of this international environmental regime to foster any meaningful and authoritative notion of accountability over hazardous wastes that are generated through transboundary flows of 'products' inevitably limits its potential to curb the externalization of hazardous waste pollution to vulnerable populations who suffer the most acute health risks of global hi-tech production, consumption and reproduction. In essence, the success of this international regime over 'wastes' depends very critically on its coupling with national legislative controls over 'products' and more importantly, necessitates serious reflection on the legal dimensions of the notion of sustainable consumption.
From Guiyu to a nationwide policy: e-waste management in China.
The article discusses the management of electronic waste, or e-waste, in Guiyu, China and the U.S. supply link revealed in a November 2008 episode of the "60 Minutes" television program. The article discusses the socioeconomic history of the region, health risks presented by the e-waste trade in Guiyu, and effects on migrant labor. Other e-waste management sites that exist outside Guiyu are mentioned. Evolving Chinese environmental policies designed to address e-waste and associated health effects also are discussed.
Transboundary Movement of E-Waste.
The article reports on the government policies in regards to exports of electronic waste and mentions that most of the hazardous waste dumping is happening in Asian and African countries and that prohibitions of transboundary movement of hazardous waste policy alone cannot address the issue.
Groundbreaking, without Breaking New Ground: Redesigning e-waste recycling could clean up the supply chain while building the foundations for a hemispheric green future.
Imagine a world where "e-waste" is an obsolete term. This would stem the flow of e-waste to vulnerable communities while ensuring that the renewable energy infrastructure necessary for the Green New Deal - wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, high-speed rail, batteries, and requisite information technology - will not run into any raw materials bottlenecks. Reformulating inter-American trade agreements could facilitate the transfer of e-waste to designated environmentally certified recycling facilities and incentivize recycled raw materials trading as part of a hemispheric renewable energy technology supply chain.
The Social Cost of Environmental Solutions
This article assesses the social consequences of efforts by multinational corporations to capture business value through recycling, reusing materials and reducing waste. Synthesising evidence from the global environmental justice and feminist and international political economy (IPE) literatures, it analyses the changing social property relations of global recycling chains. The authors argue that, although recycling more would seem to make good ecological sense, corporate programmes can rely on and further ingrain social patterns of harm and exploitation, particularly for the burgeoning labour force that depends on recyclables for subsistence living. Turning the waste stream into a profit stream also relies on prison labour in some places, such as in the United States where the federal government operates one of the country's largest electronics recycling programmes. The ongoing corporatisation of recycling, the authors argue further, is devaluing already marginalised populations within the global economy. Highlighting the need to account for the dynamism between social and environmental change within IPE scholarship, the article concludes by underlining the ways in which ‘green commerce’ programmes can shift capital's contradictions from nature onto labour.
Challenging the Chip by
Publication Date: 2006-06-28
From Silicon Valley in California to Silicon Glen in Scotland, from Silicon Island in Taiwan to Silicon Paddy in China, the social, economic, and ecological effects of the international electronics industry are widespread. The production of electronic and computer components contaminates air, land, and water around the globe. As this eye-opening book reveals, the people who suffer the consequences are largely poor, female, immigrant, and minority. "Challenging the Chip "is the first comprehensive examination of the impacts of electronics manufacturing on workers and local environments across the planet.
CBS 60 Minutes: The Wasteland
Where does all the electronic refuse our society generates end up? Some of it is shipped illegally from the U.S. to China, reports Scott Pelley, where it is harming the environment and people.
Made to Break by
Call Number: T173.8.S595 2006eb
Publication Date: 2009-06-30
Made to Break is a history of twentieth-century technology as seen through the prism of obsolescence. Giles Slade explains how disposability was a necessary condition for America's rejection of tradition and our acceptance of change and impermanence. This book gives us a detailed and harrowing picture of how, by choosing to support ever-shorter product lives, we may well be shortening the future of our way of life as well.