Friday, 7 October 2016

Review: Death by Design at the Environmental Film Festival


Image via iStock

Simon Lockrey, RMIT University

A ringing phone on the peak hour train ride home may be an annoyance to be ignored, and hopefully turned to silent, but these familiar chimes are signs of a digital revolution all around us. These are the personal electronic products we engage with to help organise, connect, entertain, and inform us in an ever faster cycle.

Now they’re ubiquitous. But where do they come from, who makes them, and where do they end up when discarded? Death by Design, a documentary directed by Sue Williams screening at Environmental Film Festival Australia in Melbourne, confronts these questions.

The human cost of the digital revolution


The film begins with the development of the semiconductor industry in California, exploring the human and ecological impacts in those formative Silicon Valley years. The film shows the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and its successful activism to drive remediation of contamination; and the personal stories of material toxicity, and associated devastation.

Throughout the film toxicity is revisited, and the film paints a fairly bleak picture of labour rights in China. We turn to Ma Jun, the 2015 Skoll Award winner (an award for social entrepreneurship) for creating a national picture of water pollution with data that is now publicly available.

Jun laments the potential human costs across China’s water infrastructure, which begs the question: why haven’t organisations expanding to these new manufacturing regions learnt the lesson from the US industry , or applied Europe’s hazardous waste standards?

What is equally troubling are issues with even stringent auditing processes. Linda Greer, a toxicologist from the Natural Resources Defence Council put it simply: “it’s all about the questions you ask”. A firm’s audit checklist may be thorough in some respects, yet miss key points in others. As such, manufacturing may be considered adequate, yet not address the pertinent problems. Jun’s work has already resulted in supply chain actions in this regard.


Who’s to blame? All of us


The film directs us to the main driver of the large industrial expansions Jun monitors, our daily consumption habits in the west. As Lancaster University professor Elizabeth Shove has portrayed so vividly, the devices of convenience and the rituals they connect to drive consumption, both conspicuous (such as a phone) and inconspicuous (such as the energy it uses).

Consumption implicates us all, and the figures the film lists are breathtaking: from 376,000 Apple iPod sales in 2002 to 51.6 million in 2007, and 10 million Apple iPhone 5s made in a week.

Purchases are only exacerbated by constant upgrading, and consumer inability to repair or refurbish their devices as the US firm recycling firm Ifixit explains. They’ve built a business that enables consumers to circumvent “prescribed obsolescence”, to fix their own electronic products by using their own parts, tools and how-to guides.

Irish firm iameco take this even further, challenging the notion of updatable, upgradable, and reusable computers. Both business models require the breaking down of secrecy shrouding internal access to such products.

Batteries are harder to replace now and screens harder to repair, as repairs become part of manufacturer’s business models.

As Ifixit look to disrupt that disposable model for consumers, the film follows the company to China as they source their own electronic parts, and come full circle.

With such throughput of electronics, e-waste is accepted as a major and growing issue. Darrin Magee, Environment Geographer from Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges estimates that the US generates 3 million tonnes of e-waste alone, with a much smaller amount actually repurposed and recycled. Chinese volumes of e-waste and the human cost of handling are also major problems to address.


Where to from here?


Death by Design suggests that the digital revolution has rewarded us with so many benefits, something that is reasonably clear.

Certainly with all of that success, manufacturers of electronic goods must take responsibility for how products are designed for longevity by extending life cycles, and in managing the toxic issues throughout the entire supply chain.

Part of the solution could include models that build recycling into the design such as the circular economy and cradle-to-cradle models, coupled with an increase in stewardship schemes, some of which are emerging at present.

The final sequence in the film suggests that we, the people, could use our buying power or behaviour to change the system in demands for labour safety, human health and ecological preservation. This is an interesting perspective, and could be linked to new patterns of “enlightened” consumer purchasing.

I wonder though, could it be a sharing economy opportunity? What about maker culture with new democratised technologies to help build what we need to retrofit upgrades?
Others have gone further in calling for moral outrage and collective action on related issues, such as pollution leading to climate change.

In any case, Death by Design is a thought-provoking look at an industry that we interact with every time we swipe, tap or lol. As innocuous as those actions are, substantial sustainability issues remain that we need to face as a society.

Death by Design is screening at the Environmental Film Festival Australia in Melbourne on October 6.

The Conversation
Simon Lockrey, Research Fellow, RMIT University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

12 comments:

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Hwan said...

Death by Design at the Environmental Film Festival and this movie got a lot of awards. Because this movie direct hit the life style of people and help to improve their life style as well. Any how, I want to find dissertation critic writing but i love this post due to a lot of solid reasons. Thanks for this good effort.

Hamsite said...

شرکت هم سايت ارائه دهنده خدمات طراحي سايت و خدمات بهينه سازي و سئو و خدمات بازاريابي و تبليغات اينترنتي است.
شما مي توانيد طراحي سايت براي مشاوره طراحي سايت و مشاوره بهينه سازي و سئو سايت و مشاوره بازاريابي اينترنتي مشورت کنيد و با بازديد از مقاله هم سايت و شناختن از واژه ياب همسايت و از مقالات هم سايت بيستر آشنا بشويد.
واژه ياب هم سايت و گروه و تيم همسايت با داشتن گنجينه هم سايت ارائه دهنده سفارشي ها هم سايت و بهينه سازي و سئو و

Hamsite said...

بازاريابي و تبليغات اينترنتي است.
درباره هم سايت را در دفتر تماس با همسايت هم سايت با خدمات تبليغات و خدمات طراحي و خدمات سئو را با قيمت طراحي سايت و قيمت بهينه سازي و سئو سايت و قيمت بازاريابي و تبليغات سايت ببينيد.
آيا طراحي وب سايت را مي شناسيد.
براي شناخت از بازاريابي بايد از شرکت طراحي سايت آشنا بشويد
طراحي وب
بهينه سازي و سئو سايت
بازاريابي و تبليغات اينترنتي هم سايت
گروه و تيم همسايت با

Hamsite said...

سئو حرفه اي بهترين را براي مشاوره سئو
يا سئو و بهينه سازي سايتيا بازاريابي و تبليغات اينترنتي و آنلاين به شما مي دهد.
بهينه سازي سايت و يا تبليغات و يا افزايش بازديد سايت را با سئو سايت را ببينيد.و مقالات ديجيتال مارکتينگ و

Hamsite said...

براي اين کار يا يا که طراحي سايت در تهران و بهينه سازي وب سايت مي توان بهينه سازي و مشاوره بهينه سازي و سئو را تا مشاوره بازاريابي آنلاين و سئو براي دو افزايش رنک گوگل و افزايش بازديد و همچنين شبکه تبليغاتي را دارا مي باشد و در افزايش پيج رنک گوگل دارد شرکت تبليغاتي و کانون تبليغاتي و معرفي سايت به گوگل و طراحي سايت تخصصي و طراحي وب سايت تخصصي است و در ادامه مي توان گفت واژه ياب همچنان واژه ياب فارسي و واژه هاي تخصصي و واژه تخصصي پزشکي و واژه تخصصي مهندسي هستند و همه چي درباره بازاريابي اینترنتی و همه چي درباره بازاريابي آنلاين و درباره بازاريابي اينترنتي و درباره بازاريابي آنلاين مي باشند که بهينه سازي و سئو و آموزش بهينه سازي و سئو و آموزش سئو و مقالات بهينه سازي و سئو و مقالات سئو و سئو چيست و آموزش کامل سئو و آموزش کامل بهينه سازي و سئو که هستند و بازاريابي ايميلي و ايميل مارکتينگ و آموزش بازاريابي ايميلي و آموزش ايميل مارکتينگ و مقالات بازاريابي ايميلي و مقالات ايميل مارکتينگ مي باشند و بازاريابي اينترنتي و آموزش بازاريابي اينترنتي و آموزش بازاريابي آنلاين و مقالات بازاريابي اينترنتي و مقالات بازاريابي آنلاين و بازاريابي آنلاين هستند اما

Hamsite said...

با همراه کارشناسان طراحي سايت و بهينه سازي و بازاريابي که همچنان و بازاريابي و تبليغات اينترنتي است.و را در را با مي توان همچنين طراحي سايت حرفه اي و طراحي وب سايت حرفه اي مي توان از طراحي سايت شرکتي و طراحي وب سايت شرکتي در ادامه اين طراحي سايت تجاري و طراحي وب سايت تجاري و يکي از همين طراحي سايت اختصاصي و ديجيتال مارکتينگ چيست و بازاريابي الکترونيک و تجارت الکترونيک و آموزش تجارت الکترونيکمي باشد.و طراحي سايت صنعتي و طراحي وب سايت صنعتي که بهترين طراحي رو براي طراحي سايت املاک و طراحي وب سايت املاک که مي توان طراحي سايت رستورانديجيتال مارکتينگ و آموزش ديجيتال مارکتينگ و بازاریابی اینترنتی و بازاریابی آنلاین

Hamsite said...

و.همچنان با و کسب و کار اینترنتی و کسب و کار آنلاین . اما طراحي وب سايت اختصاصي مي توان با طراحي سايت سازماني ، طراحي پرتال سازماني که اين همان طراحي سايت کارخانه و طراحي سايت کافي شاپ که اين يک طراحي سايت معماري و طراحي سايت دکوراسيون داخلي است.طراحي سايت خبري و طراحي وب سايت خبري و ديگر طراحي سايت خودرو و همچينين طراحي سايت دانشگاه و طراحي وب سايت دانشگاه همچنان

Hamsite said...

طراحي سايت پزشکي و طراحي وب سايت پزشکي و طراحي سايت بيمارستان در ادامه مي توان نشان داد که طراحي سايت دندانپزشکي ، طراحي سايت هتل و طراحي وب سايت هتل همواره سايت هايي چون طراحي سايت آژانس مسافرتي و طراحي وب سايت آژانس مسافرتي و طراحي سايت آژانس هواپيمايي مي توان يکي از طراحي فروشگاه اينترنتي ، طراحي سايت فروشگاه اينترنتي ، طراحي وب سايت فروشگاه اينترنتي ، طراحي سايت فروشگاه ، طراحي وب سايت فروشگاه ، طراحي وب سايت فروشگاهي و در يکي از