Nature’s Past Episode 7: E-Waste and Obsolescence

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Episode 7: E-Waste and Obsolescence

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The problem of e-waste grows with each new mobile phone, music player, laptop computer or other type of consumer electronic device. Because many of these products are made with toxic substances, disposal is a major challenge. The environmental crisis of e-waste can be attributed to a strategy of industrial manufacturing developed over the course of the twentieth-century known as obsolescence. On this episode of the podcast, we hear from Giles Slade, author of the award-winning book Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America, on this historical trend in manufacturing.

Also, Bill Turkel from the University of Western Ontario tells us about a workshop he held called “Hacking as a Way of Knowing“.

Book cover image of award winning Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade, Cambrige, Harvard University Press, 2006

Guests:

Giles Slade

Bill Turkel

Works Cited:

Slade, Giles. Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006.

Sean Kheraj, Canadian History & Environment

Music Credits:

“Running Man” by short_hopper

“Do It, Bucky” by short_hopper

“Intergalactic Journey” by spinmeister

“Hej rozmaring (Folk Flutes)” by Grizzly616

Photo Credits:

“Family Portrait” by MattsMacintosh

Citation:

Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 7: E-Waste and Obsolescence.” Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. 15 June 2009.

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Sean Kheraj is the director of the Network in Canadian History and Environment. He's an associate professor in the Department of History and associate dean of programs in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University. His research and teaching focuses on environmental and Canadian history. He is also the host and producer of Nature's Past, NiCHE's audio podcast series and he blogs at http://seankheraj.com.

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