Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


E-Waste Poem – with help from Dr Seuss (Dec12)

I’ve always been a fan of Dr Seuss’s books.  Green Eggs and HamHortense the Elephant and The Sneetches are just some of his gems.  And they all have a message – often quite subtle.  The most environmental of his stories is the Lorax – ‘I am the Lorax, and I speak for the trees, which you seem to chopping as fast as you please’.  
This poem has been written in Dr Seuss style – or something similar.  I’m sure if he’d known about e-waste, he’d have made that one of his themes!  I wrote it with some help in the final stages from Melinda Watson,  with whom I’ve co-founded E for Good (www.weareeforgood.org).  We’re campaigning to change the way that e-waste is dealt with in this country – and further afield too.

At the far end of the world where nobody knows
The sweet smell of burning gets right up your nose

It comes from wires, TVs, computers and other such stuff
That’s been thrown away like pieces of fluff.


They end up in piles – and that’s what’s burning
We don’t give a damn – and we’re not learning
That this is a madness.  It doesn’t make sense.

How could our society be so dense? 


The children are there, wading through the junk
Picking out metals, plastics and all sorts of gunk.

It doesn’t take long, if you look around
To see that this stuff shouldn’t be thrown in the ground 


There are toasters, drills, freezers and kettles
Made from plastics, toxics and all sorts of metals
Much of what’s there has hardly been used
Our wasteful society stands accused 


More phones, more printers, more electronic games
Apple, Sony, Kenwood and HP are just some of the names
Many companies are simply encouraging us to buy more and more
Without any thought of the troubles in store 


It’s not just where we put all the waste
Of the things we’ve used – often in haste
There’s also the impacts of digging up the stuff
When will be say that it’s enough 


We slash down the forests, fowl up the rivers
Often to get just a few tiny slivers.

Whether it’s copper, or gold, or tin
The burning and poisoning is just a sin.


Clear everything away, move on the tribes
Wealthier lifestyles are used as bribes –
Scars on the landscape and piles of rubble
Are the other side of the IT bubble. 


Many of these process are energy guzzling.
Some wasteful practices can be quite puzzling
Wires and charges, for example, can be part of the pack
But if you don’t want them you can’t take them back!


If there’s one thing wrong, the product won’t be used
Even if it’s as simple as a wire being fused.
You’ll be told that it’s too expensive to mend
Better to buy a new one – and keep up to trend.


We want more of the same – only a little bit better
In fact what we want is to be a trend setter
We buy lots of things that we don’t really need
Fuelled by a system that promotes greed>


But it really doesn’t have to be this way
So we’ve set up E for Good to have our say
We think the legislation is completely bonkers.
It must have been devised by a team of plonkers 


I bet you’ve got wires and charges in drawers
As a result of a system which is full of flaws
We’ve got ideas on how things can be changed
To live in a world that’s not totally deranged


Please join us with others in sorting this out
If people support us, it will give us some clout! 

Comment Section

0 Responses

  1. This is not spam! I love the e-waste poem. Who wrote it? Why don't you have a competition to see who can produce the best illustrations for it? Could be a la illustrator of Dr Seuss style. That could include a child's prize and an adult's prize.

    When I visited Sydney I saw that they recycle different plastics different weeks. A letter arrives from the council I think saying this week we are collecting plastics numbers 1 to 5. All the plastic containers have different numbers on the bottom that correspond to this. Why can't we have this?
    A problem with e waste is that people used to sell these items second hand. Since the government brought in electrical testing for used electric items even charity shops have stopped taking used electrical goods. However there are a few exceptions which should be better advertised. Also I think that the testing is quick and cheap so it's a matter of getting organised. Perhaps villages could have electrical item testing events for things they want to sell or give away? Perhaps councils could be obliged to provide electrical testing. When I worked for a council I had to have my own electrical items that I took into work tested and it took seconds.

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