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Putting the R in responsible

By Cynthia McQueen
The triple bottom line -- people, planet, profits -- is gaining momentum, but who’s keeping tabs?

In the wake of the big bank bailout in the U.S., Canadian financial institutions were quick to establish themselves as safe-houses for your money. The question of whether those institutions are environmentally and socially responsible is a house of a different colour.

Take the Deepwater Horizon Oil disaster. Suddenly the idea that “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” as stated by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis became every investor’s personal motto when it comes to transparency, due diligence, and good governance.

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Sick story

By Cynthia McQueen
If Medicare is a political sacred cow, what are we sacrificing?

Kathleen Rosenberg*, a practical nurse with six years experience, gets angry while she tells me about a patient of hers.

“I have an HIV-positive patient who comes in for Chlamydia once a month. He says he uses protection. If you’re using protection, you’re not getting Chlamydia, and if you’re getting Chlamydia then you’re probably passing on HIV,” she says with disdain.

“He couldn’t identify the partner because it was in a bath house,” she continues. “Public Health monitors this kind of stuff, but clearly not enough.”

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Waste not, want not

Is e-waste recycling failing to curb the problem?

Guiyu, China is the biggest e-waste dumpsite in the world and one of the landscapes that starred in Ed Burtynsky’s documentary Manufactured Landscapes. According to the Basel Action Network (BAN) and the Electronics Takeback Coalition, 82 per cent of small children in Guiyu have tested positive for clinical lead poisoning, which can result in damage to the brain, nerves, and other body parts.

Otherwise known as waste from electrical and electronic equipment, e-waste contains hazardous materials and heavy metals such as fire retardants, polychlorinated biphenyl, lead, mercury, cadmium, and the list goes on. Often the waste is shipped overseas to undeveloped countries where the toxins inside pollute the people, and the environment.

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