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Brexit Through the American Re-use Shop - An Opinion Piece by Craig Anderson

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 11:38

I left the UK bound for New York as the sun rose on the day my country decided to leave the EU. After looking forward to this trip for so long, being very excited to talk to and visit re-use organisations in the USA; it all changed as I boarded that plane.


Over the past year the UK re-use sector has come to the conclusion that as a sector we can only do more of what we do already, and not look to the state to support those most in need or even to offer incentive or direction to those of us that step up to fill the gap – we are on our own so let’s just get on and do it.

I don’t know another time where I felt forlorn and unable to fathom what on earth to do, as I did for those 7 hours stuck in a metal tube above the Atlantic. Working for a sector that does not give up trying to help people and planet fills me with passion to keep going and never give up. It dawned on me, while 30,000 feet in the air, that those of us who make a stand for what is right cannot keep quiet and we need to continue to make up for those that only work for self-promotion, and who really have no idea - let alone a plan, for the consequences of their actions. The media and politicians have made many UK citizens only concerned for themselves, they’ve created a blame culture, and they’ve made people selfish.

I’d left my country behind in the hands of Boris and Farage and I was flying to the US, towards Trump. From frying pan to fire I thought.

My intentions of being guarded and showing some restraint in my keynote address to NYC commissioners and the reuse sector were wavering. New York is a global city – built on immigration and inclusivity – and that was evident as soon as I landed. I stayed in the heart of Manhattan, my hotel overlooking Ground Zero’s waterfall memorial – I was in awe and continually reflective for all four days I stayed there – don’t give up, don’t stop I kept telling myself.

I gave my talk in the world trade centre – no holds barred. The NYC re-use sector is very akin to that of the UK and they have the same compassion and determination to face up to social and environmental challenges. The city wanted to learn how best run a network to support the good work that the re-use sector offers New York and the city officials were there in abundance. I gave the audience ideas and direction as best I could, but I also gave them a dose of the passion that I pick up from the UK re-use sector; if you don’t do something who will? Don’t leave it to the short term, selfpromotionists – they won’t be around tomorrow to clear up the mess… but you will.

“Put away the scrabble, Arthur” Ford said “it won’t save the human race, because this lot aren’t going to be the human race. The human race is currently sitting round a rock on the other side of the hill making documentaries about themselves.” Douglas Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Pic: The view from Craig's window overlooking Ground Zero.

Next month: More on Craig’s trip to New York. Including more on the good work of the reuse operations he visited, his discussions with NYC Commissioners and Officials, plus reactions to the intervention of Uber into the reuse world and the prolific use of the term ‘donation’ by the corporates.

Read 1390 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:20

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