It’s in your hands

For anyone watching the news, scrolling through social media feeds or reading a newspaper, chances are the phrase Truth and Reconciliation will sound familiar.

Often associated with that phrase is another – the “94 calls to action.” Without details or context, few can expect everyday Canadians to understand the complexities of residential schools.

The fact of the matter is most Canadians like ourselves were educated to think of residential schools in favourable ways. It is troubling to learn decades later that the story of educators was incomplete and served to perpetuate the benevolent myth relating to how Canada treated its First Nations peoples.

As a public service we have chosen to publish the 94 calls to action. Recognizing there is a lot to digest, we have made it available as a convenient four-page feature and encourage readers to learn more on the subject. That opportunity to learn is now in readers’ hands.

Getting smart with waste

Everybody has that drawer. And likely another, if the truth were known.

We hazard to guess most businesses are in the same spot. Certainly, the top drawer in our desk and a couple work closets held yards of copper and discarded devices before a concerted effort to purge the place of e-waste happened.

Printers, scanners, old cellular phones, monitors, processor units and drives – it all went to Planet CPU who we contract with for IT services. On one hand there was a measure of solace in doing the right thing by recycling, but we noticed a number of oddities that caused us to conclude things need to change. Every piece of material seemed to have its own proprietary power and charging system.

This past week a law was passed by the European Union mandating the adoption of a single charging method for mobile devices. The move is estimated to cut down on 11,000 tons of e-waste per year, generated by its more than 472 million mobile phone users.

The obscenity associated with charger ports was amply demonstrated years ago during an overnight stop in Toronto after realizing we were without a way to charge our phone. The obliging concierge ripped open his drawer of lost and found cords to learn fairly quickly nothing fit our old generation Blackberry at the time.

As noted, most people have that drawer – spilling over with frazzled cables and ends that connect with nothing current. Adding to that malaise are dollar store cables that quickly become useless. Would the planet not be better relying on quality goods that last? Built-in obsolescence should be called out for the scourge that it is.

The global village is now reliant on cell phones and devices, making the EU push for standards all the more compelling in a world-wide sense. Yes, there will be talk of freedoms, government red-tape and proprietary independence, but smart regulation has merits and this is one such case.

It is about time we get smart with waste.