Yes, we Muslims love our gadgets. That's all cool and everything but lets make sure that we are responsible in the way that we dispose of our old ones. To that end there are ample opportunties to recycle e-Waste. Here is a list of some of those opportunities in NYC. The organization that Lower East Side Ecology Center has been leading the way with this effort for some time.
So bring your unwanted computers, monitors, printers, scanners, fax machines, network devices, peripherals, hard drives, CD-ROM drives, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, DVR/cable/satellite receivers, portable music players, cell phones, radios, video games, and more to one of these eWaste Recycling Events:
Dates & Locations All events run 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., rain or shine
Bowling Green Park • East side of Broadway at Beaver St., Financial District
Midland Beach Parking Lot 5 • Father Capodanno Blvd. & Jefferson Ave., Staten Island
Union Square Park • North Plaza, cars may enter on E 16th St. & Union Square West
Queens Botanical Garden • Enter parking lot on Crommelin St., Flushing
Carl Schurz Park • E 88th St. & East End Ave., Upper East Side
McCarren Park • Bedford Ave. just north of N 12th St., Williamsburg
Prospect Park • Prospect Park West & 3rd St., Park Slope
Tekserve • 119 West 23rd St. btwn. 6th & 7th Aves., Chelsea
Central Park • Central Park North & Lenox Ave., Harlem
West 63rd Street • Btwn. Central Park West & Broadway, Upper West Side
Today is a big day for Muslim organizers and what I hope, is the first of many. Right here in Brooklyn, thousands are coming together to protest the bigoted actions of Lowes Home Improvement stores. For those of you who don't know, Lowe's pulled all their advertising from TLC's new reality show, "All American Muslim." This was in response to a right-wing group in Florida that thinks the show is deceptive because it shows Muslims in everyday environments and not planning terrorist plots.
Admittedly I have not seen the show. But it sounds like a decent effort to combat Islamophobia by showing 5 families in Dearborn, Michigan, living, working, playing, studying, praying like the rest of America.
I am proud of the Muslim community today for so quickly, efficiently, and successfully organizing against Lowes. Now, I challenge the Muslims to use their obvious power to organize against other companies whose actions hurt not just the Muslim community, but hurt everyone.
Muslims organizing a boycott is significant, important, and something to pay attention to. You see, Muslims, as a demographic, have an incredible amount of spending power. Recent studies show that annually, Muslims spend between $125 and $200 billion in the United States alone. Ironically, this article shows $33 billion of spending in housing and housing services - too bad Lowe's!
Now here comes my challenge to the Muslims. If we put together our speed in organizing, our consumer power, and our allies, think of our impact on other corporations! We can harness our power to bring to light wrongdoings that other big companies are committing against everyone. We can help reshape American spending to support those with socially responsible, ethical practices.
What if Lowe's was McDonald's? One pulls advertising the other props up a factory farming system destructive to the planet and to people's health. McDonalds brags about serving Billions - but what are they serving?
What if Lowe's was Walmart? I know Muslims in my family that spend exorbitant amounts of money at Walmart when they should see them as bigoted as they now see Lowe's. Walmart's crushing labor practices, unsafe working conditions, and negative community impact have more heinous, more long lasting implications on not just Muslims, but everyone, than say Lowe's pulling its ads.
No question about it, I have high hopes for the Muslim community that we can be leaders in bringing movements together and in organizing on issues that don't exclusively impact Muslims. In fact, we can use the issues that impact us to advocate for everyone's rights! I try to establish Muslims as leaders on environmental issues in my book - Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet - because the environment affects everyone. So congrats my people on a successful campaign against Lowe's, but let's choose the next campaign that will bring about positive change for all.
At a Green Deen reading in Washington D.C. I was blessed to be joined by some members of my family. Two of whom were actually reading the book. Now, what one has to know about my family is that MOST of my extended family members are NOT MUSLIM. I wanted to share that two of the first family members to read the book were in fact members that are not muslim and they are the ones pictured in the photo --- my maternal Aunt Joyce and her grandson Jacob. LOVE THEM!!
Project Regeneration is an organization worth checking out. I passed by this sign, which constitutes evidence of their good works, recently walking through my neighborhood and it reminded me of their founder Barnabas Shakur whom I had met years ago when I was working at the Prospect Park Alliance and he was just starting Project Regeneration, it was a small flicker that was just beginning to show some promise that has turned into a vibrant program with a central goal to Eliminate Teen Idleness, just goes to show that sometimes the "project" of protecting our natural spaces is not just some disconnected exercise - it actually helps humans learn more about their selves and their purpose of being on this earth.
For the next several days I am going to (finally) post up some of the impressions from my recent travels related to Green Deen. I am doing so to demonstrate that the idea of being a environmentally aware Muslim is not new, not radical, nor is it strange. In fact, it is the norm. My only hope is that faith communities in general take up the protection of the planet as their cause - wholeheartedly focusing on clean water, clean air, clean energy, and the transformation of the way people travel and see their relationship to the food that they eat.
The first installment of this series starts where I start... Brooklyn.