Photo of the Month – December 2011


January 10, 2012

I find the end of the year a good time to look back, contemplate
events and appreciate the beautiful and good of the earth. For some,
the holidays are a time to acquire the latest electronic gadget, to
buy and give new things. Seeing all the flashy advertising promoting
the latest gear, I started thinking about all the once desirable items
after they are discarded; the consequences of conspicuous consumption
and the power of photographs to reveal problems and to force real
changes. The December photo of the month is such a photo. An iconic
image that helped bring about real and positive change.

apple e-waste in china

Like an Exhibit A, this photo helped overcome computer maker Apple
resistance and change the way old computer parts are handled.
At the time the image was created in 2006, Greenpeace was ranking the
electronics industry for the amount of toxic materials in their
products and how involved they were in ensuring their products were
recycled responsibly. We still do. Dell jumped ahead and began to take back all of
their equipment. Apple was falling way behind other makers and
refusing to talk about making changes. Greenpeace decided to talk to
the company through their customers and this image helped them
understand the issue. It shows a colorful Apple keyboard in the hands
of a Chinese child in front of a huge stack of obsolete electronics.
After a year of “Green My Apple” events, Apple finally got the point
and announced plans to stop putting toxic materials in their products
and to start responsibly recycling their equipment.

Published in reports, displayed at news conferences and on web pages,
this image kept the campaign alive and directed. This is the power of
photography to reveal the truth and inspire action


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