Do you know where your e-waste goes?

Image from PBS FRONTLINE/World

Hey readers! Do you live in the Vancouver area? If so, I’d like to invite you to attend the following event that I’ve organized for Green College, the UBC residence at which I currently reside. The guest speaker is a friend and former resident who recently graduated from my J-school program at UBC.

If you can’t make it, you can watch the documentary on this blog. I’ve embedded it into an earlier post. Either way, please check it out! It’s 20 minutes extremely well spent.

Event Details:

Jodie Martinson holds her new Emmy. Photo courtesy JM.

Who: Jodie Martinson, former Green College resident and documentary filmmaker
What: Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground — screening, followed by Q&A
When: Nov. 7th, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.
Where: Green College coach house


Jodie Martinson, a recent graduate from the UBC School of Journalism, has already earned an Emmy for her documentary film work.

She is among the first group of Canadian students to ever win the prestigious award, having beat out established heavyweights like 60 minutes, 48 Hours and Nightline. Under the leadership of Peter Klein, UBC associate professor and former 60 minutes producer, a ten-student troupe crafted an investigative news documentary called “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground which aired on the PBS documentary series FRONTLINE/World in 2009.

The documentary follows the trail of discarded computers, or e-waste, to three communities in Ghana, China and India. Along the way, the investigative team uncovers serious threats to the environment, public health, human rights and information security.

On November 7th at 5:00 p.m., Martinson will return to Green College, her former home, and talk about the making of the film as well as the issues that inspired it. Please join us for a screening followed by a Q&A, and stay for dinner if you can!


UBC journalism students help map digital dumping grounds

The many macs of the UBC School of Journalism. Let's try to hold on to them for a long time!

The many macs of the UBC School of Journalism. Let's try to hold on to them for a long time!

“Waste is shipped here because nobody–meaning nobody in Europe or the United States–wants it in their own backyard”
~Mike Anane, Ghana-based environmental journalist

Do you ever think about e-waste? Do you wonder where your discarded cameras, cell phones, and computers go when you decide you want something spiffier?

In 2009, A team of UBC grad students tracked the trails of e-waste to three countries: Ghana, India and China. They did this as a part of the school of journalism’s international reporting course.

The students probably had no idea that they would end up discovering serious instances of cybercrime (which even put sensitive US government documents at risk) as well as exploring extreme human health risks in underprivileged communities.

Rather than re-hash their findings, I encourage you to watch their compelling documentary, which was created under the leadership of our professor, Peter Klein.

Click here to watch “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground”