Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy (SDEP), a joint initiative of the Beckman Institute, the Department of Geography, and the School of Earth, Society, and Environment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has announced its events for fall 2015. The first presentation of the semester will be ‘The Israel-Palestine E-waste Commodity Chain: Findings and Reflections,’ by Yaakov Garb of Ben Gurion University. The presentation will take place on Friday, August 28 at 3 PM in Room 1092 Lincoln Hall at 702 S. Wright St. in Champaign.
Abstract: Over the last several years, Yaakov Garb has worked with a small team to explore and document the informal Palestinian-Israeli entrepreneurial commodity chain through which most Israeli electronic waste has been informally transferred to a cluster of Palestinian villages and dismantled, with valuable materials (primarily copper and motherboards) shipped via Israel to destinations abroad, and the remainder crudely burned and dumped in the rural landscape. Drawing on over a hundred interviews with stakeholders in this commodity chain, extensive field observation, as well as remote sensing imagery and traffic counts, the team has constructed a portrait of this value chain (actors, prices, volumes, and dynamics) and documented its severe environmental and human health consequences. They have also worked with the local Palestinian community to develop a business model, transition strategy, and bargaining power vis-à-vis the Israeli system to enable a shift to cleaner operation while preserving livelihoods.
This talk will describe this e-waste commodity chain, its geopolitical contexts, and the results of the research and advocacy efforts of Garb’s team. It will reflect on the broader implications of this case study for thinking about informal commodity chains, their ability to move materials and rework landscapes at large scales, and what we know about them.
About the presenter: Yaakov Garb is Lecturer at Ben Gurion University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International Studies at the Watson Institute, Brown University. He draws on environmental studies and science and technology studies (STS) in his research, teaching, and consulting on environmental and urban issues. Dr. Garb specializes in projects demanding interdisciplinary perspectives, a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and a merging of analysis with advocacy for change.
For more information on future SDEP events, see http://illinois.edu/calendar/list/3575.