Written for my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner; published under the title "Earth Hour Super-Drive full of good ideas"
How often can you help four good causes at once? The Earth Hour Super-Drive gives you that chance.
Founded last year and expanded for 2011, it combines e-waste collection, food and clothing drives. Earth Hour teaches us to go without electricity for an hour, but you may notice devices you can go without forever; this is your chance to see them properly recycled instead of ending up in landfill or wasting space in a closet, basement, attic, or garage.
Lately I’ve noticed more things fall into the category of e-waste. Not just computers or cell phones, nowadays it seems like everything has some kind of computer chip or electronic function, and all become e-waste.
A father of two, I’m amazed how many of today’s toys seem to flash, beep, talk, or move. Even fast food giveaways are battery-powered. In my childhood a stuffed animal was voiced by imagination. Now whenever you pass one, it starts counting or singing a song, even crawling toward you. If your kids have outgrown (or out-played) such toys, add them to the e-waste list.
And that wonderful kitchen device from late-night infomercials? The gadget from the “as-seen-on-TV” catalog? If it no longer makes your life paradise and instead gathers dust in a closet, bring it. Anything electrical: with a plug, batteries, or a chip – is e-waste and our local partner GreenGo Recycling will process it for you. Let’s see if we can double last year’s 2500 lbs of recovered e-waste.
Meanwhile, we are again helping the Barrie Free Clothing Centre and the Elizabeth Fry Society’s Grocery Assistance Program (GAP), plus new this year, the David Busby Street Centre. Barrie Free Clothing accepts gently-used apparel, so please clear out your closet of outgrown or unused items to live a new life in new hands. The GAP has been helping so many hungry Barrie citizens that their cupboard is bare; anything you donate will go straight to those in need. And the David Busby Street Centre has a new outreach van distributing daily necessities to the homeless; please help stock it for this vital mission.
Bring your e-waste, clothing, or food donations to the parking lot off Toronto Street north of Dunlop, between 9 am and noon on Saturday, March 26th. Or if you need, we can even take it from your driveway that morning. Just email Scottland@BarrieGreens.ca or call (705)770-4163 by Friday to arrange pick-up.
If you come by you’ll see everyone helping, from local youth and Barrie’s new provincial Green Party candidate Andrew Miller right on up to Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner.
(If you’d like to join us for lunch with Mike after the Super-Drive, contact Scottland by March 19th.)
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is an educator, father, volunteer, and politician.