Category Archives: ΠΕΡΙΒΑΛΛΟΝ

SLC 2018: Safety Leaders Should Be at the Cybersecurity Table

Safety and cybersecurity are interconnected in the manufacturing environment Security breaches can trip systems that stop machinery or alert operators in the event of a problem, damaging equipment, placing people at risk—even causing environmental calamities. Yet at many manufacturers, the safety and information technology teams do not effectively collaborate. “If you discover a vulnerability in IT, you patch it and move on,” says Steve Ludwig, safety programs manager for Rockwell Automation, speaking at the 2018 Safety Leadership Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, last week. “On the [operations technology] side, that’s not the case. We need more education in the engineering community about OT risks.” Safety-related security breaches can occur when: Employees or contractors inadvertently plug an infected machine into the system; connect to an unsecure network; or download the wrong program. Disgruntled current or former employees, knowing the ins and outs of a system, break in and cause damage. Hackers break into an operations system for financial, competitive, or political reasons. State-sponsored spies target critical infrastructure and production systems to disrupt operations or steal secrets. Cybercriminals seek to disrupt, infect or shut down critical infrastructure, from nuclear plants to water supplies and oil refineries. EHS, operations and IT teams should work together to identify safety data requirements for operations systems and develop a risk-management strategy for security threats and vulnerabilities, as well as their potential implications on safety.  It’s up to leadership to advocate for this collaboration and make sure employees companywide understand its importance, said Ludwig. Basic cybersecurity hygiene involves knowing your assets and their potential risks,. “Very few plants have a complete list of all of their PLCs” where they came from and how long they’ve been in operation, said Ludwig. “The focus has always been on productivity and maintaining that uptime.” A safety assessment looks at not only standard operator functions but all human-machine interactions, including machine setup, maintenance, cleaning and sanitation, as well as training and administrative requirements. In addition, companies should expand their traditional scope of this assessment and look at potential cyberattack risk. “With safety assessment, you’re going through the steps—what is the normal operation of that machine?” said Ludwig. “How long will that machine be safe?” With a connected enterprise, you can get information on the safety front like how often a door is opened or shut on a machine. Ludwig asked the audience if safety was being called upon to address security at their companies, to a mixed response. One audience member commented that his plant was not addressing cybersecurity in its safety contingency plan, though there had been talk of more collaboration between IT and OT. Other safety leaders remarked that they were, intentionally or unintentionally, sometimes left out of leadership meetings about cybersecurity. Let's block ads! (Why?)

What You Need to Know about California’s New Warning Regulations

    If you live in or visit California, you may have noticed that nearly every building has a sign that reads, “Warning: This area contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.” These warning signs are the product of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Environment Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65 or Prop 65.     On September 2nd, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued amendments to Proposition 65 (California Health and Safety Code §25600 – 25607.9), which effectively overhauled the requirements for Clear and Reasonable Warnings. Due to these amendments, these over-familiar signs and labels will need to be updated or replaced to include more information than previously required. The new Clear and Reasonable Warning requirements became effective on August 30, 2018. BACKGROUND     In 1986, California voters approved Proposition 65 in response to growing concern about exposure to toxic chemicals. Proposition 65 requires the state to publish and maintain a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm. In addition, Prop 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to notify the public about potential exposure to listed chemicals through products they purchase, at their homes or workplaces, or through environmental release. This notification process is codified in Sections 25600 through 25607 of Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) and is titled “Clear and Reasonable Warnings.” WHAT’S CHANGED? Under the old regulation, Proposition 65 warnings were required to state that a product, area, or business may expose Californians to chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive harm. Under the amended regulation, the warning must include the name of one or more chemicals that the public may be exposed to and the source of the exposure. In addition, the address for a Prop 65 informational website must be included in The warning. This requires more extensive knowledge and testing of products or exposure areas, and additional attention to detail when preparing and issuing signs and notices. A comparison of the old versus new warnings is provided in Table 1. Table 1 OLD WARNINGThis area contains a chemical knownto the State of California to causecancer. NEW WARNINGEntering this area can expose youto chemicals known to the State ofCalifornia to cause cancer, including[name of one or more chemicals],from [name of one or more sourcesof exposure]. For more informationgo to     The new regulations have separate warning requirements for consumer products, food products and environmental exposure. In addition, the new Clear and Reasonable Warning Regulations  guidelines for common exposure including but not limited to diesel engine exhaust, gasoline service stations, hotels and designated smoking areas. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?     The primary goal of the revised Clear and Reasonable Warning requirements is to provide the public with additional details on exposure from consumer products, food products and areas with environmental exposure. The addition of the specific chemical and source of the exposure provides a concise, useful warning with information on how to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals. The best example of this is the specific warning for environmental exposure at gasoline service stations:     "Breathing the air in this area or skin contact with petroleum products can expose you to chemicals including benzene, motor vehicle exhaust and carbon monoxide, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Do not stay in this area longer than necessary. For more information go to”     This warning provides the public with clear information on the potential hazards, as well as actions they can take to minimize exposure. The previous warnings did not inform the public on the specific hazards of service stations and provided no advice on mitigating or minimizing the hazards. In this scenario, the revised requirements achieved the goal to provide a clearer, more useful warning.     For consumer products, 27 CCR §25603(b) allows for abbreviated on product warnings where disclosure of the listed chemicals contained within the product is not required. The on-product warning must include the required warning symbol (a black exclamation mark in yellow equilateral triangle), plus one of the following statements: Warning: Cancer— Reproductive Harm— Cancer and ReproductiveHarm—     The abbreviated consumer product warnings strike a balance between providing consumers with necessary exposure information and minimizing the amount of space required to convey. Allowing the abbreviated warnings frees up valuable space on labels that manufacturers and distributors need to describe and advertise their products. WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS?        The revised warning requirements provide clear guidelines for simple exposures to one chemical or one area. However, the requirements pose confusion for complex facilities with multiple processes and/or areas that may result in exposure to Prop 65 chemicals. For environmental and occupational exposures at indoor or well-defined outdoor areas, warnings must be posted at all entrances, and the new requirements state that the warnings must include “one or more” chemicals and “one or more” sources of exposure. This leaves the question: Do these warnings need to include every chemical and every source of exposure or at least one chemical and at least one source?     The common interpretation is that “one or more” means just that, one or more, not all. This interpretation would result in warnings that omit potentially hazardous exposures. For example, if a facility had a surface coating operation and a soldering operating in the same large room, both of these operations have the potential to expose employees and visitors to Prop 65 chemicals. The painting operation may result in the release of solvents such as toluene, and the soldering operation may result in the release of toxic metals, such as lead. The “at least one” approach would lead to a warning sign that reads: “WARNING: Entering this area can expose you to chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm, including lead, from emissions associated with soldering operations. For more information go to”     This warning omits the potential exposure to toluene from painting operations. Under this scenario, have workers that are stationed near the surface coating operation been adequately warned? Unfortunately, this question will most likely be answered in a future lawsuit, and facilities will have to wait and see what happens. The alternative is that warnings require every chemical and every source of exposure. For some facilities—refineries for example—this would be impossible, and the warnings would be the size of a multi-car garage. WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?     One of the goals of the recent amendments is to reduce lawsuits related to Proposition 65. However, the final rule may have the opposite effect due to the complexity of the new warning requirements. Manufacturers and distributors of consumer products must update or redesign their labels for products sold in California, and retailers need to work with their distributors to acquire adequate information and signage to display the proper warnings. Facility owners and managers are required to determine exactly which listed chemicals are present in their living and working spaces and develop new warning signs that include those specific chemicals. Managers of industrial facilities required to send out quarterly notices need to update their public notice content and delivery method to meet the new requirements. Additional analysis or modeling may be necessary to develop the map that is required with the notice.     Overall, the new amendments have made the warning requirements more specific, which may provide the public with more information. However, they have increased the burden on entities required to provide the warnings and opened the door for a new round of lawsuits due to the unanswered questions regarding interpretation of the new requirements.  Chris Waller, C.P.P., is team manager, EHS & air, at Alta Environmental (, an environmental engineering and consulting firm. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Η συνάντηση των δυτών με το παράξενο, τεράστιο θαλάσσιο πλάσμα

Δύο δύτες που κολυμπούσαν κοντά σε ακτές της Νέας Ζηλανδίας βρέθηκαν μπροστά σε ένα σπάνιο θέαμα, καθώς συνάντησαν ένα τεράστιο πλάσμα που θυμίζει θαλάσσιο σκουλήκι. Το εν λόγω διάφανο πλάσμα μήκους 8 μέτρων ονομάζεται πυρόσωμα. Τα πυροσώματα αποτελούνται από ζωοειδείς ασπόνδυλους μικροσκοπικούς οργανισμούς που συγκεντρώνονται σε μεγάλους αριθμούς, σχηματίζοντας σωληνοειδείς αποικίες. Η μια άκρη τους είναι κλειστή και η άλλη θυμίζει απόχη για πεταλούδες. Το μήκος τους μπορεί να από μερικά εκατοστά έως πολλά μέτρα, όπως στη συγκεκριμένη περίπτωση. Οι επιστήμονες έχουν εντοπίσει πυροσώματα στο μήκος φαλαινών. Τα πυροσώματα παράγουν από ειδικά όργανα φως με το οποίο επικοινωνούν μεταξύ τους οι οργανισμοί της αποικίας. Το φως αυτό μπορεί να είναι πρασινοκίτρινο, κόκκινο, πράσινο ή λευκό. Τα πυροσώματα ζουν συνήθως σε πολύ μεγάλα βάθη των ωκεανών, ωστόσο τα τελευταία χρόνια εντοπίζονται όλο και πιο συχνά σε ρηχά νερά. Τον Ιούνιο του 2017 είχαν ξεβραστεί στη δυτική ακτή των ΗΠΑ προκαλώντας αναστάτωση τους ψαράδες, ενώ τον Σεπτέμβριο της ίδιας χρονιάς, εντοπίστηκαν στις ακτές της Αυστραλίας. ΚΑΝΤΕ LIKE ΣΤΟ NEWSBEAST.GR Let's block ads! (Why?)

Διεθνής Οργανισμός Ενέργειας: Το φυσικό αέριο θα ξεπεράσει τον άνθρακα έως το 2030

Το φυσικό αέριο αναμένεται να ξεπεράσει τον άνθρακα ως η δεύτερη μεγαλύτερη στον κόσμο πηγή ενέργειας μετά το πετρέλαιο έως το 2030 χάρη στις προσπάθειες να μειωθεί η ρύπανση της ατμόσφαιρας και στην αύξηση της χρήσης του υγροποιημένου φυσικού αερίου (LNG), όπως ανακοίνωσε σήμερα ο Διεθνής Οργανισμός Ενέργειας (IEA). Στην έκθεσή του για τις Παγκόσμιες Ενεργειακές Προοπτικές για το 2018, ο IEA ανέφερε ότι η ζήτηση για ενέργεια θα αυξηθεί περισσότερο από ένα τέταρτο από το 2017 έως το 2040 υπό την προϋπόθεση ότι θα γίνεται πιο αποδοτική χρήση της ενέργειας – αλλά θα αυξηθεί στο διπλάσιο χωρίς τέτοιου είδους βελτιώσεις. Σύμφωνα με όσα μετέδωσε το Αθηναϊκό Πρακτορείο, η παγκόσμια ζήτηση για αέριο θα αυξηθεί κατά 1,6% τον χρόνο έως το 2040 και θα είναι κατά 45% υψηλότερη έως τότε απ’ ό,τι σήμερα, ανέφερε ο οργανισμός. Οι εκτιμήσεις βασίζονται στο «Σενάριο Νέων Πολιτικών» του IEA που λαμβάνει υπόψιν τη νομοθεσία και τις πολιτικές για μείωση των εκπομπών ρύπων και αντιμετώπιση της κλιματικής αλλαγής. Βασίζονται επίσης στην υπόθεση για μεγαλύτερη ενεργειακή αποδοτικότητα στη χρήση καυσίμων, στα κτίρια και σε άλλους παράγοντες. «Το φυσικό αέριο είναι το ταχύτερα αναπτυσσόμενο ορυκτό καύσιμο στο Σενάριο Νέων Πολιτικών, ξεπερνώντας τον άνθρακα έως το 2030 ως η δεύτερη μεγαλύτερη πηγή ενέργειας μετά το πετρέλαιο», ανέφερε η έκθεση. Η Κίνα, που είναι ήδη ο μεγαλύτερος στον κόσμο εισαγωγέας πετρελαίου και άνθρακα, θα γίνει σύντομα ο μεγαλύτερος εισαγωγέας αερίου και οι καθαρές εισαγωγές θα προσεγγίσουν το επίπεδο της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης έως το 2040, ανέφερε ο ΙΕΑ. Αν και η Κίνα είναι ο τρίτος μεγαλύτερος στον κόσμο καταναλωτής φυσικού αερίου πίσω από τις ΗΠΑ και τη Ρωσία, πρέπει να εισάγει περίπου το 40% των αναγκών της καθώς η εγχώρια παραγωγή δεν επαρκεί. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Η προβλεπόμενη ανάπτυξη των ΑΠΕ δεν θα αποτρέψει την επιδείνωση της υπερθέρμανσης του πλανήτη

Η προβλεπόμενη ανάπτυξη της ανανεώσιμης ενέργειας, των ηλεκτρικών οχημάτων και άλλων πηγών χαμηλών εκπομπών άνθρακα δεν θα εμποδίσει τα επίπεδα της υπερθέρμανσης του πλανήτη να ξεπεράσουν τους στόχους της Συμφωνίας του Παρισιού, σύμφωνα με την ετήσια έκθεση της Διεθνούς Υπηρεσίας Ενέργειας (ΙΕΑ) για την παγκόσμια ενεργειακή κατάσταση. Οι τρέχουσες τάσεις σημαίνουν έντονα αυξανόμενη ζήτηση για ενέργεια, η οποία θα απαιτήσει μια υπερβολική προσφορά καυσίμων που θα οδηγήσει την αύξηση της μέσης θερμοκρασίας να ξεπεράσει του δύο βαθμούς Κελσίου πάνω από τα προβιομηχανικά επίπεδα. Η έκθεση εξέτασε τρία σενάρια. Ένα με τους υφιστάμενους νόμους και ρυθμιστικές πολιτικές παγκοσμίως, ένα σενάριο «νέων πολιτικών» με τα αναγγελθέντα σχέδια των χωρών και τους στόχους εκπομπών, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των δεσμεύσεων στο πλαίσιο της συμφωνίας του Παρισιού, και ένα πολύ πιο φιλόδοξο σενάριο βιώσιμης ανάπτυξης που ευθυγραμμίζεται πλήρως με τους στόχους του Παρισιού. Στα πλαίσια του δεύτερου και πιο ρεαλιστικού σεναρίου, η έκθεση εκτιμά ότι ως το 2040 η συνολική παγκόσμια ενεργειακή ζήτηση θα αυξηθεί κατά περισσότερο από 25%, ενώ η ζήτηση ηλεκτρικής ενέργειας ειδικά θα αυξηθεί κατά 60%, παρά τα οφέλη της ενεργειακής απόδοσης. Η αύξηση της ζήτησης οφείλεται στην αύξηση των εισοδημάτων, στην αστικοποίηση και στην αύξηση του πληθυσμού στις αναπτυσσόμενες χώρες. Η ηλεκτρική ενέργεια από ανανεώσιμες πηγές θα αυξηθεί στο 40% του παγκόσμιου ενεργειακού μείγματος, κυρίως λόγω αιολικής και ηλιακής ενέργειας. Το μερίδιο του άνθρακα, εν τω μεταξύ, θα μειωθεί σε περίπου 25%. Ωστόσο, η συνολική ενεργειακή κατανάλωση θα αυξηθεί τόσο, ώστε η συνολική κατανάλωση άνθρακα θα παραμείνει σχεδόν σταθερή, με τις μειώσεις στην Κίνα, την Ευρώπη και τη Βόρεια Αμερική να αντισταθμίζονται από τις αυξήσεις στην Ινδία και τη Νοτιοανατολική Ασία. Ομοίως, η ζήτηση πετρελαίου θα αυξηθεί ελαφρά, λόγω της ζήτησης από αναπτυσσόμενες χώρες, φτάνοντας τα 106 εκατομμύρια βαρέλια την ημέρα παρά την αύξηση των ηλεκτρικών οχημάτων. Η ζήτηση πετρελαίου για φορτηγά, αεροπλάνα, πετροχημικά και άλλους τομείς θα αντισταθμίσει την κατανάλωση που θα μειωθεί λόγω της αύξησης της κυκλοφορίας ηλεκτρικών οχημάτων. Παράλληλα η ΙΕΑ προβλέπει ότι το φυσικό αέριο θα ξεπεράσει τον άνθρακα ως η δεύτερη μεγαλύτερη στον κόσμο πηγή ενέργειας μετά το πετρέλαιο έως το 2030. Η παγκόσμια ζήτηση για αέριο θα αυξηθεί κατά 1,6% τον χρόνο έως το 2040 και θα είναι κατά 45% υψηλότερη έως τότε απ’ ό,τι σήμερα σύμφωνα με την έκθεση.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

Πώς συνδέεται η ζέστη με τα έντομα και την ανδρική γονιμότητα

Η κλιματική αλλαγή μπορεί να αποτελέσει απειλή για το σπέρμα και την ανδρική γονιμότητα, σύμφωνα με μία νέα επιστημονική μελέτη, η οποία διαπίστωσε ότι τα κατά καιρούς κύματα καύσωνα βλάπτουν το σπέρμα των εντόμων, πράγμα που έχει αρνητικές επιπτώσεις για τη γονιμότητά τους έως του σημείου της στείρωσης. Αυτό, κατά τους επιστήμονες, μπορεί να εξηγεί γενικότερα γιατί η κλιματική αλλαγή έχει διαχρονικά οδηγήσει σε μείωση του πληθυσμού διαφόρων ειδών στη φύση. «Γνωρίζουμε ότι η βιοποικιλότητα πλήττεται λόγω της κλιματικής αλλαγής, όμως, είναι δύσκολο να εντοπίσουμε τις ακριβείς αιτίες γι' αυτό. Η νέα μελέτη μας δείχνει ότι το σπέρμα είναι ιδιαίτερα ευαίσθητο στην άνοδο της θερμοκρασίας του περιβάλλοντος», δήλωσε ο καθηγητής Ματ Κέιτζ του Πανεπιστημίου της Ανατολικής Αγγλίας. Οι ερευνητές, με επικεφαλής τον Κέιτζ, που έκαναν τη σχετική δημοσίευση στο περιοδικό «Nature Communications», ανέφεραν ότι «τα ακραία συμβάντα, όπως οι καύσωνες γίνονται ολοένα πιο συχνά, έντονα και εκτεταμένα, προκαλώντας τοπικές εξαφανίσεις ειδών. Μία εξήγηση γι' αυτό μπορεί να έχει να κάνει με το σπέρμα». Οι ερευνητές εξέτασαν σκαθάρια που εκτέθηκαν στο εργαστήριο σε συνθήκες ανάλογες ενός καύσωνα. Διαπιστώθηκε ότι υπήρξε ελάττωση της ποσότητας και ποιότητας του σπέρματος των αρσενικών εντόμων, καθώς και μείωση κατά 50% έως 75% του αριθμού των απογόνων. Επιπλέον, μειώθηκε η σεξουαλική διάθεση των αρσενικών σκαθαριών, που ζευγάρωναν τις μισές φορές από ό,τι σε συνθήκες κανονικών θερμοκρασιών. Αντίθετα, τα θηλυκά σκαθάρια δεν επηρεάσθηκαν από την αυξημένη θερμοκρασία. Όταν αρσενικά σκαθάρια εκτίθεντο σε δύο διαδοχικά κύματα καύσωνα με διαφορά δέκα ημερών, η παραγωγή απογόνων τους δεν ήταν ούτε το 1% σε σχέση με τα έντομα που ζούσαν σε κανονικές θερμοκρασίες. Επίσης, οι απόγονοι που είχαν γεννηθεί από αρσενικά σκαθάρια, που προηγουμένως είχαν εκτεθεί σε καύσωνες, ζούσαν λιγότερο. Προβληματική ήταν και η αναπαραγωγική ικανότητα των «γιων» που προέρχονταν από «μπαμπάδες» που είχαν περάσει καύσωνες, καθώς οι απόγονοι δυσκολεύονταν με τη σειρά τους να γονιμοποιήσουν θηλυκά σκαθάρια. Βεβαίως, σημειώνει το Αθηναϊκό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων, είναι άλλο θέμα το κατά πόσο οι άνδρες θα έχουν παρόμοιες επιπτώσεις με τα αρσενικά σκαθάρια, καθώς υπάρχει... τεράστια διαφορά ανάμεσα στα δύο είδη. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Everybody on board

My life as a former chief sustainability officer has become extraordinarily busy and my pursuits surprisingly diverse. I find I’m doing nearly as much mentoring and coaching as I did when I was a future ex-CSO.I’ve canvassed to get out the vote for I-1631, Washington state’s initiative to impose a fee on carbon. (Not my favorite sport, nor did it work this time. Still, I’m convinced that changing the system isn’t about changing minds so much as mobilizing supporters, and for that you have to knock on doors.)I’ve been conniving with fellow ex-CSOs seeking ways to raise the expectations for corporate sustainability. Speaking opportunities have started to arise again. Occasionally (although, I dare say, not often enough), I settle in to write about my experiences.And yes, I’m still toughing it out with flute lessons.The greatest demand on my time, and one of the most rewarding, is serving on nonprofit boards. It’s incredibly motivating, if a little humbling, to join a group of smart, engaged people in a variety of fields, many of whom I never might have met otherwise. Each board is different, and I learn from each lessons that can be carried to the others.But I have discovered things that I wish I’d understood better before jumping in. Of course, the first question on each opportunity is, "Should I join this board?" Honestly, the first time I was asked, I was so honored that I performed nearly zero diligence. The only people I really talked to were the person who recruited me and a person who later turned out to be giving me a, shall we say, "highly edited" version of the organization. Suffice to say, there were challenges.Digging deeperNot that I’ve yet encountered an organization, nonprofit or otherwise, that wasn’t grappling with some challenge. Hell, if they weren’t, there’d be nothing to do. But some challenges are more dire than others, and my skills are more useful in some than in others. I’ve had to learn to dig a little deeper and cast a little wider to figure out what I’m getting myself into. Then there’s the question of what I personally bring to the table. Boards classically look for director candidates who bring some combination of the 3Ts: Time, Talent and Treasure. (Some look for the 3Ws: Work, Wisdom and Wealth; same thing.) While all boards need effort, skill and funding, the required balance is specific to the organization and can change over time. What I’ve learned is that what I thought I was good for was not always what they wanted me for. And what they wanted me for was not always what I turned out to be good for.As an active CSO, conversations about joining boards focused on my potential contributions with regard to mission alignment, organizational skills, expertise and connections. But there is no question that access to corporate pockets was a — if not the — top attraction. I’ve never been good at fundraising and was probably a disappointment in that regard.So, I considered it a real compliment to have two boards decline my offer to give up my seat when I left my corporate role.I've always tried to compensate by being incredibly diligent, always reviewing board materials before meetings, bending my schedule to attend meetings, participating as much as possible in voluntary events and delivering on my commitments. I’ve also tried to make myself available to the executive team if there is anything I can do to assist. I admit to having been incredibly touched and flattered when the chair of one of my committees described my value as "common sense and wisdom." I admit to having been incredibly touched and flattered when the chair of one of my committees described my value as 'common sense and wisdom.' Now, I feel pretty good about being able to apply some of my experience in IT and corporate sustainability, but it’s generally the more horizontal skills of project management, team leadership, collaboration and mentoring that comprise my contributions. (That’s probably why I’m on the governance committee and/or executive committee of each of my three current boards.) It pays to have a good talk with both the board chair and the executive director about what they are looking to me for, and to try not to underestimate what I have to offer.Time and task forcesAll of this work takes time. I knew that going in. Two face-to-face meetings per year plus two long conference calls are pretty standard for non-industry boards. Add a few hours here and there for a committee.How hard can that be? Harder than it seems, it turns out. One thing I will certainly ask more about next time around is scheduling: How far in advance are meetings scheduled? Is there a history of having to reschedule? What time of year are they typically held? I know just a little about probability, and these meetings seem to conflict with one another far more often than mere chance would dictate!Then there’s the second committee I inevitably get persuaded to join. And the task forces we decide to form. As committee chair, additional activities include preparing the agenda and the minutes, coordinating with staff, initiating new committee members. I’m a little better at delegating than fundraising, but not much, which usually means drafting and managing any documents that we need to produce. But I really enjoy committees because that’s where a lot of the concrete work gets done, whether its finding new board members, clarifying roles and responsibilities, updating bylaws, refining succession plans, etc. One reason I’m grateful to my corporate work is that it did make it possible for me to cover the expenses of serving on some of these nonprofit boards. Travel to board meetings is rarely reimbursed, and most boards ask members to make or be responsible for a donation. I’ve never been asked to meet a minimum number, but most boards want to see full participation as an indication of board members’ commitment to the organization and as a signal to other prospective donors. In fact, it is sometimes a requirement by foundations and other funders.There are frustrations. There are board members who don’t do their share of the lifting — who show up occasionally, opine on one issue or another, then disappear into the mist. Thankfully, they are few and far between. It makes me crazy when long-scheduled meetings get moved at short notice. There are board members who don’t do their share of the lifting — who show up occasionally, opine on one issue or another, then disappear into the mist. Thankfully, they are few and far between. I’m lucky now that all of my boards are highly engaged, opinionated but respectful and committed to the success of the organization. I really enjoy the teamwork and the new friendships they’ve spawned that will transcend our board terms. Yeah, I like board work. Oh, I grumble about it — just ask my husband. But the truth is that I appreciate having things to do each day that are productive. He knows that I thrive when I have a focus, a deliverable, a team and a purpose.Or two. Or three.Let's block ads! (Why?)

American cities elected mayors who care about climate change

Being pro-environment was a winning strategy for this country’s mayors.Twelve mayors in America’s 100 largest cities faced re-election battles during the 2018 midterms, and mayors — both Democrats and Republicans — who followed pro-environmental policies were rewarded. All six mayors who had demonstrated their commitment to the environment by signing the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy — including Stephen Adler of Austin, Texas; Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky; and Libby Schaff of Oakland, California — won re-election. The other big city mayors in re-election battles weren’t so fortunate — two won, two lost and two are facing runoffs.Of course, voters consider many issues when they cast their ballot. It’s unlikely that the environment was the deciding issue in these races. However, mayors that prioritize the environment seem to be making changes in their cities that please constituents. The positive election results in 2018 were not an anomaly — all 15 mayors who signed the covenant and sought re-election in the last two years have been victorious at the ballot box, usually by large margins.Mayors with pro-environmental agendas aren’t just popular. I believe they are an important part of the answer to the global challenge of climate change.As a scholar of civil society and environmental policy — this is just one of the positive signs I see not just in American cities, but around the world.Climate change is urgentA month before the election, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its latest report about the risks associated with climate change. The news was bad. Our planet is now expected to reach a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase in average global temperatures as early as 2030. One billion people will regularly endure conditions of extreme heat. Sea levels will rise, exposing between 31 and 69 million people to flooding. Seventy to 90 percent of coral reefs will die. Fishery catches will decline by 1.5 million tons. And that is if we are lucky and keep the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which will not be easy.As my colleague Gary Yohe reflected in a recent New York Times article, "2 degrees is aspirational and 1.5 degrees is ridiculously aspirational." At exactly a time when we need to become more ambitious in our efforts to tackle this global problem, the United States has pulled out of the Paris Agreement and is dismantling many of its clean energy and other climate policies at home. One of my students recently expressed a common feeling of helplessness: "It makes me wonder if the best thing I can do is just go out in the backyard and compost myself."So, I’d like to say: There is hope. While the president of the United States may not be making much progress, many other people are. The election of pro-environment mayors and governors is one excellent sign.Cities take the leadA number of U.S. cities have gained global reputations for their innovative responses to the challenge of climate change.Once one of America’s most polluted cities, Pittsburgh has demonstrated how creative collaborations with the private sector, nonprofits, philanthropists and academics can turn toxic urban environments into one of America’s most livable cities. A 2011 wildfire damaged dozens of homes in Austin, Texas. AP Photo/April CastroAustin’s vulnerability to climate-related disasters, including drought, wildfires and hurricanes, has made it especially aggressive about addressing climate change. It has committed to being net-zero greenhouse gas emitter by 2050. Its innovations in developing and spreading renewable energy have earned it awards in green technology, climate protection and redevelopment. Austin’s pro-environmental efforts are transforming the city into a more livable place for its residents and a better one for the planet.San Francisco, which reduced its carbon emissions by 30 percent between 1990 and 2016, cemented its global leadership position by hosting the 2018 Climate Action Summit in September, which gathered 4,500 leaders from local governments, nongovernmental organizations and business together to address climate change. The summit resulted in numerous corporate and city commitments to become carbon neutral, as well as trillions of dollars of investment in climate action.New York City (PDF) reduced its emissions by 15 percent between 2005 and 2015. Its residents have a carbon footprint that it only one-third that of the average American. The mayor of the financial capital of the United States also has become a champion of oil divestment.These American cities are not alone. They are part of a global movement working to combat climate change. The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy has more than 9,000 local governments from 127 countries representing more than 770 million residents committed to making headway on climate change. C40, ICLEI, Metropolis, United Cities and Local Governments and other organizations are helping cities find solutions that work and implement them.As in the United States, global cities are also making significant progress on climate change. Tokyo (PDF) reduced its energy consumption more than 20 percent between 2000 and 2015, with the industrial and transportation sectors making astounding 41 percent and 42 percent reduction respectively. By 2015, London had reduced its emissions 25 percent since 1990, and 33 percent since peak emissions in 2000.These cities are not waiting for presidents and prime ministers to act; they’re making changes right now that are improving the lives of the tens of millions of their own residents by improving air quality, reducing flooding risk and expanding green space, all while helping to bend the global emissions curve downward.Let's block ads! (Why?)

You say you want a revolution: How changing mobility will make new cities

Cars, vans, trucks and buses are legally driving themselves on city streets and highways. Over 50 companies have licenses for autonomous vehicles (AV) in California. Some have drivers behind the wheel, ready to take over. Overs have no steering wheel and no brake pedals. I see them daily here in Silicon Valley, home to Uber, Lyft, Waymo and advanced research centers for every major automaker in the world. Also, pilot AV programs from Pittsburgh to Phoenix involve transporting real customers.I recently listened to Dan Sperling discuss "Three Revolutions," his book that I highly recommend about electric, automated and shared mobility. Sperling is eminently qualified to be the editor of this book that details alternative scenarios for the future. He is the director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at U.C. Davis, chair of the National Academies Transportation, and shares the Nobel Peace Prize with other scientists for their 2007 IPCC report.We have our first opportunity to create truly sustainable transportation, he emphasizes. We have over 2 million electric vehicles (EV) on the road; many are fueled with solar and wind energy. We have vehicle automation in most new cars which helps us avoid hitting the car ahead of us or drifting into the next lane. In the future, automated and autonomous vehicles (AV) increasingly will do all the driving, instead of drivers who might be drunk, distracted or drowsy.Beyond vehicles being EV and AV, the biggest transformation of our cities will be the shift from car ownership to use of on-demand mobility services, such as ridehailing Uber and dozens of competitors from Alphabet to Didi Chuxing to Grab. Electric automated vehicles and services already have diversified into goods delivery, shuttles for ride pools, bicycle and scooter sharing.The promise of pooled AV-EVAlthough I normally ride transit, walk and bike in the city, Uber has been wonderful on rainy nights, when burdened with grocery bags, or in covering last miles when traveling. It’s not all roses for ridehailing; some cities report more gridlock with Uber drivers coming into the city looking for gigs.Mobility could get much better or it could get worse. Planning, policy and pricing will make the difference. Done well, we will have fast mobility powered with renewable energy as we travel connected cities on high-speed rail, then fast commuter rail and electric buses, with last-mile services that include ride-hailing AV-EV shuttles, cars, bikes and safer walking. Done well, we will have fast mobility powered with renewable energy as we travel connected cities on high-speed rail, then fast commuter rail and electric buses, with last-mile services. Policy and pricing will shape our future. Pooled rides could be given faster access in lanes dedicated to buses and AV-EV shuttles. Parking could be expensive and scarce, or buildings could be required to have two parking spaces per occupant. Congestion zone pricing could remove gridlock. But governments could subsidize gasoline and outlaw autonomous vehicles.In cities with effective policy, AV-EV services will lead to more affordable mobility. Housing developments will be less expensive and more equitable when parking space is not required. There will be new services for seniors and people with challenges (like my 94-year-old mother). The potential is there, but the transition of the next 20 years will be challenging.The danger of suburban sprawl and gridlockA growing number of tech workers can afford Tesla cars, but they cannot afford to buy a home in Silicon Valley. With their Teslas, they can use AutoPilot to let the car drive safely on stretches of the freeways to distant and affordable homes. As we have more AV-EVs with 300-mile ranges, some worry that we will have more suburban sprawl and more gridlock. Such behavior raises equity concerns; few can afford Teslas.Urban density was to liberate us from our cars. Instead, Americans drove more miles than ever in 2017. Low gas prices and a strong economy were major factors. The federal gasoline tax has remained at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993. Some blame Uber and Lyft for the decline in transit ridership. Yet even before these ridehailing leaders, transit only served 1 percent of U.S. passenger miles. Some blame Uber and Lyft for the decline in transit ridership. Yet even before these ridehailing leaders, transit only served 1 percent of U.S. passenger miles.Riders already have decided that ridehailing is a natural combination with other transportation. A high frequency of Uber and Lyft rides start or end at transit centers, airports and train stations. Several of our nation’s transit operators have integrated Uber with bus and rail service. Lyft provides on-demand paratransit service for MBTA in Massachusetts and RTC in Nevada. In some cities, AV-EV ridehailing will save transit, not hurt it.Three revolutions could save suburbia. Cities with fewer than 100,000 people cannot afford millions in capital and labor costs to have a network of buses reaching all points every 15 minutes. Data shows that when frequency is less than 15 minutes, ridership falls sharply. Yet, 12-seat AV-EV shuttles could get people out of solo-driver cars, especially if shuttles connect people to major rail and commuter centers that get people to work. In the city of Concord, California, commuters are taken to and from the BART commuter rail station from suburban homes on a 12-passenger driverless shuttle. Today.Uber Express, Lyft Lines, Waymo and dozens of others make it easy to save money and pool rides with others in four to 12-seat vehicles, which soon can be autonomous and electric, saving more money.The low price of freed parkingThe 260 million vehicles in the United States are parked most of the time. Unfortunately, there are a lot more spaces for parking than there are vehicles. How many spaces? The data is imprecise. There could be 500 million parking lot spaces and 1 billion spaces on streets. Many cities allocate more space for cars than people. Sadly, this holds true in cities desperate to create more housing.AVs will spend more hours in use than today’s cars. Software will route them from shared ride to shared ride. Some of today’s parking structures will still be used to house the AV fleets only need during peak demand. Also, AVs will route themselves to these parking structures for fast charging, cleaning and maintenance.Many of our existing parking structures can be replaced with mixed-use living and office communities. More affordable housing will be built. Such increased urban density will invite more walking, bicycling and make economical more transit integrated with on-demand vehicles. The success of this urban park is leading to other Dallas parks, such as Pacific Plaza, a beautiful new three-acre park that is replacing a parking lot. Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas, is a three-block park that covers a below-grade freeway that divided community. It was funded with a public-private partnership. Near art museums and mixed-use development, the park is credited with higher occupancy of existing buildings and new offices for 7,000 added workers. The success of this urban park is leading to other Dallas parks, such as Pacific Plaza, a beautiful new three-acre park that is replacing a parking lot.Los Angeles voters approved a $1.2 billion bond to create new housing for the homeless. Construction for homeless housing is planned on several existing city-owned parking lots, with 24 city-owned lots to be offered for low-income developers. Projects attract both strong support and fierce opposition.Complete streetsHundreds of millions of unused street parking spaces opens opportunities for many uses including wider walkways, separated bike lanes,and lanes dedicated to transit, shuttles and autonomous vehicles that pay usage fees.Bus ridership goes up and car congestion decreases when buses have dedicated lanes. These lanes don’t take years to create, or cost millions. In San Francisco, they painted dedicated bus lanes red and put up signs. One key to the success of 200 bus rapid transit services globally is that the buses have dedicated lanes.Famed urbanist Jamie Lerner told me that as a new mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, he wanted to beautify the city with pedestrian boulevards that were car-free. Shop owners were in strong opposition. Lerner convinced some to take part in a 30-day trial. Shoppers loved it. Before the trial ended, the merchants asked that the pedestrian zone be expanded to include more streets.Mao Zedong famously said, “A revolution is not a dinner party…." The same certainly could be said of three revolutions.Cities that provide free parking and mandate parking spaces for occupants are likely to see more congestion and lower transit ridership with more ridehailing services. In cities that price parking instead of mandating it, on-demand services will improve transit and rail as people use mobile apps to travel faster, safer and more affordably.For the most part, electric mobility will accelerate renewable energy, improve air health and lower GHG emissions. Automated driving will save millions of lives, being not perfect but much safer than distracted texting drivers.Lives will improve for denizens no longer financially burdened with buying cars and find more affordable housing. Valuable land will be converted from parking to parks, housing, bus and bike lanes.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Occupational safety and health on the road: Gig economy workers are more exposed to driving risks

To understand how safety is taken into account in driving, riding or cycling for work, European Transport Safety Council conducted a study with workers engaged in gig economy. These workers are currently regarded as self-employed and in most cases carry out the responsibility of health and safety management themselves.The findings reveal that self-employed couriers and taxi drivers are more subjected to the risks of accidents or injuries, as the majority of them do not receive any safety training in risk management. In addition, they are not given adequate safety equipment, such as high visibility vest, and are often incentivised to drive in adverse weather conditions or late at night. Read the study Explore VeSafe: E-guide on work-related vehicle safety Check out road safety focused OiRA tools  Let's block ads! (Why?)