Remembering Bart Porter — Bart’s Last Blog

My colleague, Bart Porter, passed away on July 8, 2015. Bart was a blogger and the creator of the Arrow Value Recovery News Bureau, which has been bringing news related to e-waste, data security and regulations relevant to electronics to savvy readers for more than five years. Bart wrote the following and asked that it be published after his death:

My Last Blog

At last, I am about to achieve my lifetime goal to become a time traveler. Actually, the journey has already started and I am merely along for the ride. In recent months, I have revisited the monumental eras of my life and made peace with many of them. I have traversed backward from when I began to work with Arrow Electronics, one of the few classy companies I can appreciate, back beyond the years I spent as a writer and editor in corporate communications at telecom giants Sprint, MCI and Verizon.

I dawdled in my first career as a newspaperman in the old sense of the term, won several awards for my columns and editorials, and later served as the editor-in-chief of the best small town newspaper in Ohio, according to the Ohio Senate. I saw firsthand the burdens and bright spots of Watergate, the Civil Rights Movement, the Space Race and the Cold War. I saw Vietnam and the Korean War, the defeat of the Axis powers and the outcome of the First World War through the eyes of others. From them I participated in the Great Depression, prohibition and the events occurring at the turn of the 20th century.

As a journalist, I’ve seen the rise of electronics firsthand, and I’ve been lucky enough to document this journey. As I gained more of this knowledge, I cultivated a passion for informing the public about the environmental hazards and data security risks of improperly discarded electronics. Back before e-waste was even a term. Through the News Bureau and my blogs, I’ve highlighted the issues, raised difficult questions, and even called out some organizations for poor environmental practices. This is what I believe in. I write this now not to brag, but to encourage you to take a stand for what you believe in. Each one of us is passionate about something, and my advice, learned after 55 years, is to support what you believe in.

My time travels wavered in particular during the past 33 years, which I have shared with the most caring wife in the world and a daughter whose love surpasses the largest ocean. I have capitulated to sibling rivalry with my talented writer sister as winner of a lifetime of friendship and gained strength by daily interaction with my young grandson.

I have dealt with multiple sclerosis since my college years and since battled with heart disease and diabetes. But it was cancer that eventually got me. Arriving first in 2009 and returning with vengeance last year. The prognosis was poor – three months, tops – and this wily old journalist kept it at bay almost two years. Now I am approaching the end of this phase of my time travels and will embark on a new adventure that will carry me and what little I’ve done into history.

If I had to write my own eulogy, I’d ask that it say: “He was a flawed man, but he tried his best to do no harm.”

I want to thank the people who have read my words and perhaps were better informed because of them. I’d like to thank everyone who got the joke and laughed with me. I’d like to end this blog with the regular signoff for my all-time favorite comedian, Red Skelton, with a message of thanks and gratitude. Whenever he ended his show, he would say in a crackling voice; “Goodnight and God bless.” To that I would add a lyric from one of my favorite songs. “The time is gone, the song is over. Thought I’d something more to say.”

———

For a taste of Bart’s work from last year check out ‘E-waste’ finds its way into the Dictionary. Farewell, Bart. We miss you.

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In Pursuit of Sustainable Electronics at Arrow Value Recovery

Delighted to be blogging again – check out my two new posts: http://www.arrowvaluerecovery.com/category/blog/

 

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Today is America Recycles Day – Dare You ASK?

Today, Thursday, November 15th, is America Recycles Day. Some 40 years ago, when I first started recycling, we had no plastics to recycle. We sorted our glass by color and took it to the local recycling center and the Boy Scouts held paper drives to collect all the newspaper. Now, decades later, I’ve learned that even dryer lint is being recycled.

I’m stymied by the folks who, despite the proximity of a recycling bin (perhaps 30 inches from their desk) cannot be bothered to distinguish their recyclables from their trash, insist on their inalienable right to dump stuff, and are, on paper, smart enough to know better. Perhaps it’s a lack of education in the costs of land filling and incineration.  Did you know, for example, that we create so much garbage here in the U.S. that we ship it abroad for burial? Perhaps it’s an externalization of cynicism. I’m sure you witness it. Now comes the tough part. Dare you ask your co-worker or housemate why? I recently encountered an objection to recycling at the supermarket. A man returning his bottles for their deposit value declared that he doesn’t believe in recycling. “They’re making money out of it.” This mysterious “they” interests me. Apparently folks don’t understand that “we” are paying for landfill and incineration. Perhaps exactly what happens to our trash should be taught in schools.

The other “Dare You Ask?” challenge I’m posing is around your electronics at work. Do you know exactly where they’re going? Do you know for a fact that your computers, printers, telephone gear and copiers are not being shipped abroad or headed for landfill or incineration? Will you take the challenge? Could you please find out where your organization’s gear is going, and if, for certain, your organization is using a certified recycler? If your organization is not using a certified recycle, chances are, your electronics not being handled properly – putting your organization and the environment at risk. If you need help on finding out how to find out, drop me a line. I’m very interested and eager to help spread the word.

So in honor of America Recycles Day, be brave. Dare to ask – and let me know what you find out. By this time next year, let’s hope we’re up for bigger challenges.

Please note: The opinions expressed here are solely mine.

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Is “Sustainability” a Proxy for Efficiency

 

 

Hot discourse ensued at the Boston Area Sustainability Group as a result of Walden Asset Management’s Timothy Smith’s talk of a new breed of investors with $70 trillion assets under management.

http://blog.redemtech.com/2012/11/sustainability-a-proxy-for-efficiency.html#more

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There’s more to e-waste than export, Virginia

Our utter reliance on electronics does not translate to our taking responsibility for them. Here’re some basics you need to know:

http://blog.redemtech.com/2012/10/so-you-think-you-know-everything-about-electronic-waste-lets-find-out-.html#more

 

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Make “Doing Good” Your Day Job

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability have gone mainstream, and organizations that align themselves with these values are growing their brands. Mix it up and learn from folks who are helping to change the world through their organizations. Meet me at the Commit!Forum – here’s more: ow.ly/dT3Xh .

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Make a Difference – FCC announces Nationwide Program

Sustainability is about a triple play – My newest blog explains

http://blog.redemtech.com/2012/08/get-on-board-national-launch-of-major-initiative-provides-triple-win-opportunity.html#more

 

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