Category Archives: ΠΕΡΙΒΑΛΛΟΝ

Η μάχη κόμπρας και πύθωνα είχε νικητή

Ο φακός ενός τουρίστα σε εθνικό πάρκο της επαρχίας Πανγκά στην Ταϊλάνδη έπιασε τη στιγμή που μια βασιλική κόμπρα κατασπαράζει έναν πύθωνα. Το περιστατικό σημειώθηκε μπροστά στα μάτια των αποσβολωμένων επισκεπτών, που έκαναν μια οργανωμένη ξενάγηση στην άγρια ζωή της Ταϊλάνδης στις 23 Δεκεμβρίου. Είδαν μάλιστα τμήμα της μάχης των δύο ερπετών και την τραγική της κατάληξη, όταν το ένα έγινε τροφή για το άλλο… [embedded content] ΚΑΝΤΕ LIKE ΣΤΟ NEWSBEAST.GR Let's block ads! (Why?)

5 reasons to be optimistic about reducing, and reversing, deforestation

Let’s be frank. For those of us who care about deforestation, the last few years have not been good.The latest data tells us we’re losing more tropical tree cover than ever before. The biggest culprit is still commodity agriculture. This is exactly what we, in the Tropical Forest Alliance, are working to deter.Way back in 2012, the Alliance was founded to help the companies behind the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) achieve their 2020 zero net deforestation target. And we were so committed to this collective goal, we even named ourselves TFA 2020.For me, as the incoming TFA director, it could be seen as something of a poison chalice.What was I thinking? Taking the helm at a time when we seem destined to fall short of our founding principle? Tying myself to a target that is so short-term it surely will scare off new partners? Needless to say, I take a very different view.Yes, the lagging indicators (which tell us what has happened) give real cause for concern. But the leading indicators (which point to what could happen) paint a brighter picture. And we know what more needs to be done to catalyze action and accelerate progress.So, let me give you an alternative perspective.If we only tell negative stories, we inhibit progress. Instead, let’s focus on the progress we did make in 2018, and look with optimism at priorities for 2019. And, for me, there are five big reasons to be positive:1. The market signals are getting strongerNever underestimate the power of market forces or the influence we have on them. I see an unstoppable movement toward sustainability. People demand it. Governments respond with new regulations. Markets respond by insisting on verified products. And pockets of bad practice progressively are squeezed out.Yes, it’s a painfully slow process, but momentum is building. Many more players are signaling that deforestation must be removed from supply chains. In this regard, 2018 was an adrenalizing year. The Cerrado Manifesto from Brazil enables continued agricultural production in one of the world’s most productive landscapes while also seeking to protect important biodiversity. One example among many is the Cerrado Manifesto from Brazil, which enables continued agricultural production in one of the world’s most productive landscapes while also seeking to protect important biodiversity. In 2018 the number of signatories for its Statement of Support leapt beyond 70 global brands. Meanwhile, government-backed initiatives such as the Amsterdam Declaration grew in strength and the European Union announced its long-awaited roadmap to reduce deforestation.As a producer, logic demands that you take note. If you can demonstrate your sustainability credentials, you can access any market in the world. If you can’t, your options become ever more limited. For 2019, the TFA will work to encourage more members of the CGF to commit and strengthen action seeing beyond 2020; and crucially we will broaden our attention to key players in the emerging economies. China alone accounts for 62 percent of the world’s soy imports, 32 percent of pulp and paper and 11 percent of palm oil. As its economy prepares for the 2020 United Nations Biodiversity Summit, we have a great opportunity to increase engagement — which could make the signals deafeningly loud.2. It’s getting easier to distinguish the good from the badWith improvements in monitoring comes greater transparency. You more easily can identify deforestation in supply chains. As a consequence, the pressure mounts for companies to report on their performance. Again, we see real momentum.One of 2018’s most significant announcements came from Wilmar, Asia’s leading agribusiness group, which committed to transparency across its entire supply chain (PDF). Meanwhile, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which unites 4,000 organizations globally, agreed a new certification standard to help distinguish the good from the bad.For 2019, a priority is to build on this progress by supporting more robust monitoring tools which bring more certainty and granularity to better understand where commodities are still driving conversion. Their availability, in turn, will bring more pressure on more players to report on their performance — and provide more access to their data.3. More players are adopting holistic, landscape approachesIncreasingly, companies are looking beyond their immediate supply chains and thinking about how they can contribute to the wider economic viability of farming and the rural economy. Related announcements from Unilever and Walmart, and also from the global agribusiness group Olam, were two highlights from 2018. We need more positive examples that showcase how production and protection can work hand in hand in tropical forest landscapes.For 2019, we aim to focus our collective attention on 10-15 landscapes with strong jurisdictional leadership, where supply chain commitments can be complemented with other measures. And we will work with partners in each region to identify the most promising candidates. 4. Innovative approaches to finance are enabling sustainable solutions to achieve scaleIt would be naïve to overlook the role financing plays in agricultural decision-making.  Farmers routinely seek third-party finance to fund their next crop, and the related credit terms generally determine what they grow — and how.  As finance ministries in tropical countries come to appreciate the true economic potential of a well-managed agricultural and forest sector, we expect more innovative schemes to emerge. In the past we have seen plenty of small-scale, short-term finance initiatives directed at sustainable farming methods. But in 2018, we saw the emergence of larger-scale, longer-term schemes, including one from Bunge and Santander in Brazil, which incentivizes sustainable soybean production.For 2019, we aim to catalyze the creation of more green finance mechanisms. For example, as finance ministries in tropical countries come to appreciate the true economic potential of a well-managed agricultural and forest sector, we expect more innovative schemes to emerge. And, as funds finally start to flow under REDD+ schemes, there is definite potential for mechanisms that incorporate carbon finance.5. More people are waking up to the role of forests in addressing global warmingFor many years, forests had been largely absent from the climate change debate. Yet they are the planet’s single most powerful mechanism for sequestering carbon (or, conversely, releasing it into the atmosphere).In 2018, the tenor of the debate changed. For example, the IPCC 1.5 C Special Report made it clear that, to address climate change, more forests must be protected and restored. Forests also house more than 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity so are front and center of the renewed global effort for a New Deal for Nature and People.For 2019, we all need to push forests and deforestation to the very center of the climate, biodiversity and food debates.Turning the tide Despite my optimism, I know we will fall short of the 2020 target. But let’s not dwell on it. Obsessing over the merits of an eight-year-old target doesn’t just tie us to an arbitrary moment in time, it also puts a finite limit on our aspirations. Instead, let’s focus on the way forward.Given everything we have learned and the progress we are seeing, I am convinced the trajectory can be bent.  When that happens, even more pressure will be placed on the many laggards in our community, and more encouragement will be handed to the pace-setters. We will then enter a scenario when, instead of simply putting an end to deforestation, we have a chance to improve and restore many of our degraded landscapes.The Tropical Forest Alliance was set up to advance public-private partnership in the tropical forest space. We stand ready to up our game and support our partners to deliver on the promise of eliminating and, ultimately, reversing deforestation.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Is Pacific Gas and Electric the first corporate climate casualty?

This article is drawn from the Energy Weekly newsletter, running Thursdays. Subscribe here.The big news this week is the misfortunes of California utility Pacific Gas and Electric, which has filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from more than $30 billion in damages related to California’s voracious wildfires. CEO Geisha Williams resigned over the weekend, so the company can figure out next steps.The irony is stark: One of the true pioneers in the clean energy transition could be one of the first corporate victims of climate change. It stems back to the state’s liability laws: PG&E’s high-transmission lines have been fingered as the fire starters for more than one of the devastating fires, which have been exacerbated by an ongoing drought. Which, of course, are being exacerbated by the effects of global warming.Quite simply, the utility wasn’t financially prepared for this. Although other states don’t have the same way of handling damages related to a utility’s equipment, the situation should be a wake-up call about the need for serious policy overhaul and for business insurance policies — for every sector — that account for ways climate change could reshape the world around us. Although other states don’t have the same way of handling damages related to a utility’s equipment, the situation should be a wake-up call about the need for serious policy overhaul. It’s obviously too early to say, with authority, what exactly will happen to PG&E as a result of this development. The lights certainly aren’t going to go out for its 16 million customers. But here are five very real possible outcomes:1. There could also be shakeups at Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, although they have managed to shield themselves (so far) from similar liabilities. It definitely will change the nature of negotiations with those utilities for new projects. (New York Times)2. PG&E has the right to renegotiate big power purchase agreements, but there’s really no precedent in the era of corporate renewables procurement. That could be really bad news for some of the most prominent developers. In other words, there could be a ripple effect — one that could affect corporate buyers as well. (Greentech Media, PV Magazine)3. It could delay the timeline for California’s zero-carbon electricity transition. As much as this east-coaster hates to admit it, PG&E was a real innovator and risk taker when it came to shaping programs — initiatives for energy efficiency, energy storage and electric vehicle infrastructure that many of its industry peers later sought to emulate. Who will be willing to take those risks in the future? (Grist, Sacramento-Bee)4. It could be a catalyst for more microgrid projects. As the legacy grid infrastructure becomes more vulnerable to climate conditions — including fires, windstorms and floods — localized projects that make communities and companies less vulnerable to disruptions sure look more appealing. Of course, that could be a harbinger of a whole new wave of cybersecurity and liability issues related to commercial and industrial projects.5. Mainstream investors finally may realize that climate risks are real financial risks. Over the past four months, PG&E's stock price has been in freefall: its market capitalization is around $3.5 billion, compared with about $24 billion in September. Who got clobbered? Apparently, investors who pay attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues got themselves out in time. Bloomberg reports that of the 1,200 funds that use ESG metrics, just 34 were PG&E shareholders. "People get comfortable with risks that have never been a problem before, then all of a sudden it is," Henry Peabody, a fund manager with Eaton Vance, told the news organization.This will take months to play out, so stay on the line.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Εντυπωσιακές φωτογραφίες από την ολική έκλειψη Σελήνης

Τα χαράματα της Δευτέρας η πρώτη πανσέληνος του έτους συνδυάστηκε με μια ολική έκλειψη Σελήνης, η οποία ταυτόχρονα βρισκόταν στο κοντινότερο σημείο της τροχιάς της από τη Γη και έτσι φαινόταν πιο μεγάλη και φωτεινή (Υπερ-Σελήνη ή υπερπανσέληνος), καθώς και πιο σκουροκόκκινη λόγω της έκλειψης. Ολική σεληνιακή έκλειψη συμβαίνει όταν το φεγγάρι καλύπτεται ολόκληρο από τη σκιά της Γης. Η προηγούμενη είχε συμβεί στις 27 Ιουλίου 2018. Η έκλειψη της Δευτέρας ήταν η τελευταία ολική έκλειψη Σελήνης έως τις 26 Μαΐου 2021, ενώ η επόμενη ολική έκλειψη που θα είναι ορατή από την Ελλάδα, θα αργήσει ακόμη περισσότερο, έως τον Σεπτέμβριο του 2025, δηλαδή σε 6,5 χρόνια μεταδίδει το ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ. Ναύπλιο Η ολική φάση της έκλειψης, που διήρκεσε περίπου μία ώρα, ήταν ορατή σχεδόν από όλη την Ελλάδα, συμπεριλαμβανομένης της Αθήνας, όπου το φαινόμενο άρχισε στις 06:41 ώρα Ελλάδας και έφθασε στο μέγιστο σημείο του στις 07:12. Όμως τα αρκετά σύννεφα στον ουρανό έκρυψαν το φαινόμενο σε μεγάλο βαθμό. Η έκλειψη στην ολότητά της -δηλαδή μαζί με το φαινόμενο της παρασκιάς και της μερικής έκλειψης που προηγείται και έπεται της ολικής- ήταν ορατή μόνο από το πιο δυτικό τμήμα της Ευρώπης, τη δυτική Αφρική, τη Βόρεια και Νότια Αμερική και τον ανατολικό Ειρηνικό Ωκεανό. Ρωσία Η πρώτη πανσέληνος του έτους, που φέτος συνέβη στις 07:16 ώρα Ελλάδας της 21ης Ιανουαρίου, ονομαζόταν παραδοσιακά από τους Ινδιάνους της Αμερικής «πανσέληνος του λύκου», επειδή εκείνη την εποχή του χρόνου κοπάδια πεινασμένων λύκων ούρλιαζαν γύρω από τους καταυλισμούς των ανθρώπων. Ήταν το πρώτο από τα τρία «σούπερ-φεγγάρια» του 2019, καθώς φέτος θα υπάρξει τρεις φορές Υπερ-Σελήνη, δηλαδή ο δορυφόρος της Γης θα φαίνεται πιο κοντινός και λαμπερός από ό,τι συνήθως. Η επόμενη υπερπανσέληνος θα συμβεί στις 19 Φεβρουαρίου. Την επόμενη μέρα, την Τρίτη 22 Ιανουαρίου, θα υπάρξει άλλο ένα ενδιαφέρον αστρονομικό φαινόμενο, ένα πολύ κοντινό πλησίασμα (σύνοδος) στον ουρανό της Αφροδίτης και του Δία. Οι δύο φωτεινοί πλανήτες θα είναι ορατοί σε απόσταση μόνο 2,4 μοιρών μεταξύ τους στον πρωινό ουρανό προς την ανατολή, λίγο πριν ο Ήλιος ανατείλει. Στις 31 Ιανουαρίου στους δύο πλανήτες θα προστεθεί και η Σελήνη, ώστε θα υπάρξει τριπλή σύνοδος το ξημέρωμα. Ρωσία Πορτογαλία Νιού Τζέρσεϊ Λος Άντζελες Καλιφόρνια Βραζιλία Βέλγιο Let's block ads! (Why?)

Are You Ready for the Feb. 1 OSHA Reporting Deadline?

The deadline for employers to prepare, certify and post a hard copy of their 300A annual summary of injuries and illnesses report in their workplaces for employees to see is Feb. 1—unless your business is excluded because you have fewer than 10 employees or are on a list of low-hazard industries, such as dental offices, advertising services and car dealers. These are hard copy reports meant to be posted in the workplace for employees to see. Employers in certain other industries must electronically file their reports for 2018 with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) no later than March 2. Also, keep in mind that because of an agreement reached between Congress and President Trump last September, OSHA and all other agencies operating under the umbrella of the Department of Labor continue to function under the partial government shutdown. The Form 300A is a summation of the workplace injuries and illnesses recorded on the OSHA 300 Log during the previous calendar year, as well as the total hours worked that year by all employees covered by the OSHA 300 Log. By Feb. 1 employers must review their OSHA 300 Logs, verify the entries on the 300 Log are complete and accurate, and correct any deficiencies discovered. The employer then must use the injury data from the 300 Log to calculate an annual summary of injuries and illnesses and complete the 300A Annual Summary Form, and certify the accuracy of the 300 Log and the 300A Summary Form. With the many changes made in the reporting process over recent years, employers need to avoid making some of the most common mistakes, according to attorneys Lindsay DiSalvo, Daniel Deacon and Eric Conn of the law firm of Conn Maciel Carey LLP. “We frequently see employers make mistakes related to this annual duty to prepare, post and certify the injury and illness recordkeeping summary.” Some regularly made mistakes include ● Not having a management representative with high enough status within the company “certify” the 300A. ● Not posting a 300A for years in which there were no recordable injuries. ● Not maintaining a copy of the certified version of the 300A form. ● Not updating prior years’ 300 Logs based on newly discovered information about previously unrecorded injuries or changes to injuries previously recorded. ● Confusing the requirement to Post a 300A in the workplace with the requirement to electronically submit 300A data to OSHA’s web portal. How to Do It Right “A common mistake employers make is to have a management representative sign the 300A Form who is not at a senior enough level in the company to constitute a ‘company executive,’” the lawyers note. This is defined as an owner of the company, a corporate officer, the highest-ranking company official working at the workplace, or the immediate supervisor of the highest-ranking company official at that location. After certifying the 300A, OSHA’s regulations require the certified copy of the 300A Summary Form be posted in the workplace for three months, through April 30. The attorneys point out that many employers fail to prepare or post a 300A Form in years when there were no recordable injuries or illnesses. “Even when there have been no recordable injuries, OSHA regulations still require employers to complete the 300A form, entering zeroes into each column total, and to post the 300A just the same,” warn the Conn Maciel Carey lawyers. After April 30, employers may take down the 300A Form, but must maintain for five years following the end of the prior calendar year at the facility covered by the form or at a central location, a copy of the underlying OSHA 300 Log, the certified 300A Annual Summary Form and any corresponding 301 Incident Report forms. Another common mistake made by employers is to keep only the electronic version of the 300A, and not the version that was printed, “certified” typically by a handwritten signature and posted at the facility. “Accordingly, those employers have no effective way to demonstrate to OSHA during an inspection or enforcement action that the 300A had been certified,” the attorneys observe. Another thing employers want to avoid is putting away old 300 Logs and never looking back, even if new information comes to light about injuries recorded on those logs. However, OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations require employers during the five-year retention period to update OSHA 300 Logs with newly discovered recordable injuries or illnesses, or to correct previously recorded injuries and illnesses to reflect changes that have occurred in the classification or other details. This requirement applies only to the 300 Logs and as a result technically there is no duty to update 300A Forms or OSHA 301 Incident Reports. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Το 60% των άγριων ειδών καφέ του πλανήτη απειλείται με εξαφάνιση

Οι ασθένειες, η κλιματική αλλαγή, και η αποψίλωση των δασών απειλούν περίπου το 60% των άγριων ειδών καφέ του πλανήτη με εξαφάνιση. Ενώ αυτό δεν έχει ακόμη θέσει σε κίνδυνο την παγκόσμια προσφορά καφέ, θέτει σε κίνδυνο την ανθεκτικότητα του καφέ απέναντι στην κλιματική αλλαγή. Στα πλαίσια νέας έρευνας, βοτανολόγοι και γεωπόνοι κατέληξαν στο συμπέρασμα ότι 75 από τα 124 άγρια ​​είδη καφέ απειλούνται τώρα με εξαφάνιση, βάσει των ευρέως χρησιμοποιούμενων κριτηρίων της Διεθνούς Ένωσης για τη Διατήρηση της Φύσης. Οι ειδικοί τονίζουν ότι τα άγρια ​​είδη κατέχουν το κλειδί για τη διατήρηση μιας υγιούς, ζωντανής και γευστικής προσφοράς καφέ. «Ο καφές που πίνουμε σήμερα υπάρχει λόγω της πρόσβασης σε άγρια ​​είδη», δήλωσε σε συνέντευξή του ο Άαρον Ντέιβις, των Βασιλικών Βοτανικών Κήπων του Κιου του Λονδίνου και επικεφαλής της μελέτης. Ένα από τα δύο πιο δημοφιλή είδη καφέ σήμερα, η ποικιλία robusta, ήταν ελάχιστα γνωστή μέχρι τις πρώτες δεκαετίες του προηγούμενου αιώνα. Αποτελούσε απλά ένα άγριο είδος, που αναπτυσσόταν σε απομακρυσμένα δάση. Περίπου το 72% των άγριων ειδών καφέ εμφανίζονται σε προστατευόμενες περιοχές, αλλά σε πολλούς από τους δρυμούς τα μέτρα προστασίας δεν επιβάλλονται αυστηρά και τα είδη καφέ σπάνια περιλαμβάνονται στα σχέδια διαχείρισης των πάρκων. Επιπλέον, μόνο τα μισά από όλα τα είδη άγριου καφέ εμφανίζονται σε γενετικές συλλογές, που αποτελούν κρίσιμους πόρους για την παραγωγή πιο ανθεκτικών ποικιλιών καφέ στο μέλλον. Η γενετική ποικιλομορφία των ποικιλιών arabica και robusta, τόσο σε προστατευόμενες περιοχές όσο και σε συλλογές, είναι ιδιαίτερα φτωχή. Αυτό είναι εξαιρετικά ανησυχητικό, σύμφωνα με τον Ντέιβις, διότι αυτά είναι τα κυριότερα είδη καλλιεργειών καφέ στα οποία βασίζεται ένας τομέας πολλών δισεκατομμυρίων δολαρίων. Η παραγωγή καφέ βασίζεται επίσης στα 100 και πλέον εκατομμύρια μικροκαλλιεργητών που βασίζονται στον καφέ για κάποιο ή το μεγαλύτερο μέρος του εισοδήματός τους. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Βέλγιο: Διαδήλωση 12.500 μαθητών για την αντιμετώπιση της κλιματικής αλλαγής

Περισσότεροι από 12.500 μαθητές συγκεντρώθηκαν στις Βρυξέλλες την Πέμπτη, για να διαμαρτυρηθούν για δεύτερη συνεχή εβδομάδα για την ελλιπή πολιτική αντιμετώπισης της κλιματικής αλλαγής, τόσο στο Βέλγιο όσο και σε ευρωπαϊκό και παγκόσμιο επίπεδο. Η διαδήλωση ήταν πάνω από τέσσερις φορές μεγαλύτερη από την προηγούμενη εβδομάδα, σύμφωνα με τη βελγική εφημερίδα De Standaard. Εικόνες από τη συγκέντρωση δείχνουν χιλιάδες μαθητές να διαδηλώνουν στη βροχή έξω από το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο, φέροντας πανό και πλακάτ που ζητούν άμεση δράση για την υπερθέρμανση του πλανήτη, τόσο στα αγγλικά όσο και στα φλαμανδικά, σύμφωνα με το πρακτορείο Associated Press. Ένας διευθυντής τοπικού σχολείου επαίνεσε τους ακτιβιστές μαθητές, δηλώνοντας στην De Standaard ότι οι διαδηλώσεις δείχνουν το θετικό αποτέλεσμα που έχει η εκπαίδευση. «Η εκπαίδευση οφείλει να μετατρέψει τους νέους σε ώριμους πολίτες», δήλωσε ο Πάτρικ Λάνκσφεερντ. «Με τις ενέργειές τους, απέδειξαν ότι είναι», πρόσθεσε. Η διαμαρτυρία ακολουθεί παρόμοιες κινήσεις υπέρ μιας καλύτερης κλιματικής πολιτικής από μαθητές σε άλλες χώρες. Μία από τις πιο αξιοσημείωτες νέες ακτιβιστές είναι η Γκρέτα Τούνμπεργκ, μια 16χρονη Σουηδέζα μαθήτρια που ξεκίνησε μια διαδήλωση μπροστά από το σουηδικό κοινοβούλιο πέρυσι και ενέπνευσε χιλιάδες άλλους να ακολουθήσουν. Τον περασμένο μήνα, απευθύνθηκε σε παγκόσμιους ηγέτες σε διάσκεψη των Ηνωμένων Εθνών για την κλιματική αλλαγή. Οι Βέλγοι φοιτητές σκοπεύουν να διαδηλώσουν πάλι την επόμενη εβδομάδα, σύμφωνα με τα βελγικά μέσα. Let's block ads! (Why?)

The dying pig in the aisle: How McDonald’s came to transform animal welfare

Excerpted from "The Battle to Do Good: Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey," by Bob Langert, published by Emerald Publishing.I visited my first animal slaughterhouse in the fall of 1997: a pig facility. I was there to assess how to start an animal welfare program with an unusual partner, Temple Grandin, who was renowned in her field of animal science — and autistic. I was anxious as I entered, not knowing what to expect.The plant manager directed us into what he called the barn, which was actually a steel and concrete facility the size of a football field, with thousands of pigs in multiple pens. I had never liked the term “factory farm,” a derogatory term used by modern agriculture critics to paint a dark picture of such large facilities, but the reality was I felt like I was in an animal factory, not a barn.About an hour into the tour, I saw a forklift operator ignore a half-dead pig lying in the aisle, running over its legs. I squirmed. The sight brought me back to a book I had read in high school: "The Jungle," by Upton Sinclair. Though what I observed around me was not the same squalid conditions Sinclair described, I still seethed. How could that person be so callous? Didn’t he see the pig as a living creature? Or did he see the pig as a widget, a production piece?Seeing the dying animal, Grandin’s eyes jutted out in disgust. She pumped her arms and legs as she leaped to a position kneeling beside the pig as if it were part of her family. She emphatically called for the foreman to take care of the pig.This was the beginning of my admiration for the most inspiring leader of change I have ever encountered. After seeing Temple Grandin on the ground, becoming one with the animals, experiencing her overt passion and love of animals, I knew something special was unfolding.The world’s biggest PR disaster spurs changeI was with Grandin because my boss at McDonald’s, Shelby Yastrow, had handed me another big, bold and baffling assignment late that summer: Figure out how to develop an animal welfare program for our meat suppliers.My only knowledge of livestock came from watching "Bonanza" on television on Sunday nights as a kid growing up in the 1960s. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, disconnected from animal agriculture, even though my home was only a few miles from the setting of "The Jungle," the Union Stockyards, Chicago’s center for meatpacking, where Chicago became known as the "hog butcher for the world." This meatpacking district started to disappear just after World War II, and the stockyards finally closed for good in 1971. I grew up on the South Side, disconnected from animal agriculture, even though I was only a few miles from the Union Stockyards, where Chicago became known as the 'hog butcher for the world.' At the time Yastrow tapped me for this new assignment, I was serving as McDonald’s director of environmental affairs, and my work focused mostly on packaging, recycling and energy management — not on farm animals. Yastrow was general counsel and had become the architect of McDonald’s transformation from environmental villain to hero. He had championed a major turnaround of McDonald’s environmental program and reputation, and he had the confidence of the senior leadership team.Now, the 1990s were presenting another societal issue: animal welfare. The triggering event was a long, complicated, high-profile trial in the United Kingdom, dubbed "McLibel."In 1990, McDonald’s sued two London Greenpeace (not associated with Greenpeace International) campaigners who were passing out leaflets accusing McDonald’s of a long list of wrongs related to nutrition, litter, human rights, rainforests, recycling, waste and animal welfare. McDonald’s head of United Kingdom wanted to stop London Greenpeace from continuing to slander the company. I don’t think he anticipated the ramifications of giving these two people such a public platform.The McLibel trial in England started in 1995. It was like the very worst of today’s reality shows. McLibel exposed every wart of McDonald’s, including many animal welfare issues with suppliers, such as hens and hogs crammed into sterile, steel cages.I was one of the first to provide testimony in the Royal Courts of Justice, mostly to answer questions related to McDonald’s environmental practices. Yastrow had advised me to be short and crisp in my answers and to answer only what was asked and nothing more.However, as I observed the first few days of the trial and the interchange between the defendants (who were representing themselves) and the witnesses, I realized that the American Perry Mason approach that Yastrow had suggested wouldn’t work. In England, the courtroom atmosphere was more like a discussion, a dialogue. I would come off as an ugly American if I answered too succinctly. In England, the courtroom atmosphere was more like a discussion, a dialogue. I would come off as an ugly American if I answered too succinctly. So, I carefully responded to questions about environmental packaging efforts, which was much easier than discussing what were at the time McDonald’s nonsubstantative policies and programs about animal welfare.Although the trial was based in the United Kingdom, the power of the emerging digital age created the first international internet-based public campaign. The two individuals who created the millions of leaflets distributed throughout the United Kingdom, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, were savvy in leveraging the Internet and created a website called McSpotlight to spread the word far and wide about their thoughts regarding "What’s Wrong with McDonald’s." Its introductory paragraph started its sharp anti-McDonald’s rhetoric:McDonald’s spends more than $2 billion every year worldwide on advertising and promotions, trying to cultivate an image of being a caring and green company that is also a fun place to eat. Children are lured in, often dragging their parents behind them, with the promise of toys and other gimmicks. But behind the smiling face of Ronald McDonald lies the reality: McDonald’s only interest is money, making profits from whomever and whatever they can, just like all multinationals. The company’s sales are now $40 billion a year. The continued worldwide expansion of fast food means more uniformity, less choice and the undermining of local communities.Today, transparency and sharing of daily minute-by-minute information is the norm. Back in the 1990s, such was not the case. McSpotlight was among the very first transparency efforts that traveled the globe through the new channels of the burgeoning internet.Although it’s difficult to think of it today, imagine the unconnected world transforming to a connected one. Just a few decades ago, there was no Internet, no Google, no Facebook, no Twitter, no smartphones. As the Internet grew and became ubiquitous, we at McDonald’s were not ready, neither nimble enough nor culturally prepared to deal with the ways in which the Internet was changing the dissemination and consumption of information.Looking back, even with a more concerted, sophisticated effort in place to communicate via the internet, I don’t know how McDonald’s could have communicated its way out of what became a monumental PR disaster. Technically, McDonald’s won the legal battle, but lost the PR war. With the finding of 'culpably responsible,' Yastrow believed it was time to do something tangible about animal welfare. Many labeled the McDonald’s decision to sue the two unknown, ragtag London Greenpeace leaflet campaigners as the "world’s biggest corporate PR disaster." Indeed, the trial was an embarrassment for us at McDonald’s. In her book "No Logo," Naomi Klein summarized the agony well:Over the course of the trial, Steel and Morris meticulously elaborated every one of the pamphlet’s claims, with the assistance of nutritional and environment experts and scientific studies. With 180 witnesses called to the stand, the company faced dozens of humiliating moments as the court heard stories of food poisoning, failure to pay legal overtime, bogus recycling claims and corporate spies sent to infiltrate the ranks of London Greenpeace.In one particularly telling incident, McDonald’s executives were challenged on the company’s claim that it serves "nutritious food": David Green, senior vice president of marketing, expressed his opinion that Coca-Cola is nutritious because it is "providing water, and I think that is part of a balanced diet." In another embarrassing exchange, McDonald’s executive Ed Oakley explained to Steel that the McDonald’s garbage stuffed into landfills is "a benefit, otherwise you will end up with lots of vast empty gravel pits all over the country."The longest and most expensive civil case in U.K. history finally ended in mid-1997. Although the findings overall favored McDonald’s, the court determined that McDonald’s was "culpably responsible" for cruel practices with broiler chickens, layer hens and sows (mother pigs).Technically, McDonald’s won the legal battle, but the company lost the PR war. With the finding of "culpably responsible," Yastrow believed it was time to do something tangible about animal welfare. His long-time back-and-forth interplay with a rumpled but shrewd animal activist was about to create a solution. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Απόλυτη παγωνιά στη Ρωσία, ακραίος καύσωνας στην Αυστραλία

Την ώρα που στο βόρειο ημισφαίριο και συγκεκριμένα στην Ρωσία έχουν παγώσει ακόμα και οι… ανάσες, στην Αυστραλία βιώνουν έναν από τους πιο ακραίους καύσωνες στην ιστορία. Ο γνωστός μετεωρολόγος Σάκης Αρναούτογλου, «ανέβασε» στον προσωπικό του λογαριασμό στο facebook έναν χάρτη που δείχνει πως στις 6:00 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) της 18ης Ιανουαρίου στο Delyankir της Ρωσίας ήταν -57,5 βαθμούς κελσίου και στο αεροδρόμιο Tibooburra της Αυστραλίας 48.3 βαθμούς κελσίου. Παρά… κάτι δηλαδή, η διαφορά στη θερμοκρασία βόρειου και νότιου ημισφαιρίου ήταν 110 βαθμοί κελσίου! ΚΑΝΤΕ LIKE ΣΤΟ NEWSBEAST.GR Let's block ads! (Why?)

Fatality Investigation: Teen Completing Roofing Work Electrocuted

The Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program is tasked with investigating fatalities and making recommendations to ensure they do not occur again. This is one of their recent cases. On Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, at 8:00 a.m., a 16-year-old male roofer arrived at the worksite to begin roofing work on a private residential home. The homeowners, a husband and wife, contacted a local general contractor to replace the roof on their home. The owner of the general contracting company hired a subcontractor to perform the work, a process he informed authorities that he performs regularly. The crew began work on the back of the house and quickly worked together to complete the task. At approximately 12:00 p.m., the 16-year-old victim gathered a model D1828-2EQ Werner aluminum extension ladder and moved to the front of the house to begin work there while the other three men moved on to the side of the house. At the front of the house, there were two 4 ft. x 4 ft. boxwood bushes planted 3 feet from the home’s exterior wall at the point where the victim was attempting to access the roof. There were no witnesses, but it is believed that because of the bushes, the victim was having trouble accessing the roof. With the ladder still fully extended, the victim attempted to move it closer by lifting the ladder and walking between the bushes to find a suitable base. The ladder became unstable, causing the victim to lose his balance falling backwards. As the victim and ladder were falling, the ladder fell into a top phase power line carrying 7.2 kilovolts (7,200 volts). Because the victim was still in contact with the highly conductive aluminum ladder when it struck the power line, electricity was able to travel through the metal and into the young worker. He was immediately electrocuted. After hearing a noise from the front of the home, the owner of the subcontracting company went to investigate and found the victim lying unresponsive on the ground. He immediately knocked on the home’s front door and frantically tried to communicate to the wife what had happened and asked for help. The homeowner called 911 at 12:15 p.m. When EMS arrived eight minutes later, they observed the victim lying on the ground facing upwards. Both of the worker’s boots had burn holes near the fifth toe; burn marks were also present on the stomach area. He was pronounced dead by the county coroner minutes later. In an interview with the county sheriff’s office with the help of a translator, the coworkers stated that they were on the side of the home and did not observe this incident. The owner of the subcontracting company acknowledged that he had instructed the victim to move to the front of the house to continue work there. Both coworkers were aware that the victim was putting up a ladder to access the front roof and that the victim had not asked for assistance. Cause of Death The cause of death was high voltage electrocution. Contributing Factors Occupational injuries and fatalities are often the result of one or more contributing factors or key events in a larger sequence of events that ultimately result in the injury or fatality. National Institute Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigators identified the following unrecognized hazards as key contributing factors in this incident: Work performed outside youth employment regulations Lack of hazard recognition and safety training Use of a conductive ladder around high voltage lines Transporting an extension ladder in the vertical position Recommendations Employers should perform a job hazard analysis prior to performing a new task. In this incident, the employees were exposed to working at heights, working from ladders, and close proximity to high voltage power lines. A job hazard analysis would recognize the numerous hazards that the roofing workforce was being exposed to so that necessary safety precautions could be undertaken. Employers should become familiar with and comply with all federal, state, and local regulations associated with youth employment, including safety training and hazard recognition. Due to the high injury rate of minors in the workplace, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has very specific child labor laws, providing guidelines on how many hours per week young workers are permitted to work, what times of the day they are allowed to work, and what occupations are prohibited for minors under the age of 185. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet lists 19 occupations that are prohibited for minors, including #16: “Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof.” Subcontractors and contractors should familiarize themselves with Kentucky child labor laws and Federal child labor laws before employing youths in specific occupations. In addition federal laws apply Hazardous Occupations from the US department of labor: Eighteen is the minimum age for employment in non-agricultural occupations declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. The rules prohibiting working in hazardous occupations (HO) apply either on an industry basis, or on an occupational basis no matter what industry the job is in. Parents employing their own children are subject to these same rules. General exemptions apply to all of these occupations, while limited apprentice/student-learner exemptions apply to those occupations marked with an *.These rules prohibit work in, or with the following: HO 16.Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof. Employers should consider using non-conductive ladders when working near electrical lines. At the time of the incident, the victim was using an aluminum ladder to access the roof. Because of its extremely low resistivity and extremely high conductivity, aluminum is one of the best electrical conducting metals, behind only silver, copper, annealed copper, and gold. As the ladder contacted the overhead power line, 7,200 volts and 16 amperes (amps) travelled through ladder, into the victim, and exited his body via the stomach and each foot’s fifth (pinky) toe. At values as low as 100 milliamps (.1 amps), death can occur. Due to the high amount of amperes that entered the victim’s body, cardiac arrest occurred instantly. In order to prevent similar incidents, the employer should consider using a non-conductive ladder, such as those made of a fiberglass-reinforced polymer, when working around live power lines. Due to its low electrical conductivity and high resistance to corrosion, these ladders would make a safe and practical choice when working outdoors around electricity. However, employers should ensure that these fiberglass ladders are maintained properly as required by 29 CFR 1926.1053. Unmaintained ladders may accumulate excess dirt or moisture that can conduct electricity in the event it encounters a high voltage line. Employees should always lower the extended section and transport ladders horizontally. The victim was moving a model D1828-2EQ Werner aluminum extension ladder that weighed approximately 56 lbs. When collapsed, the ladder was 14 feet tall and had a maximum open extended length of 25 feet. At the time of the incident, the victim, who measured 5’10” tall and weighed 165 lbs., was moving the ladder, which was extended to the maximum length of 25 ft. As the ladder became unstable and began to fall, the victim may have been unable to support the ladder’s top-heavy design while standing on uneven terrain, which allowed it to contact the power line. In instances where an extension ladder needs to be relocated, employees should lower the extended portion of the ladder until it is appropriately collapsed, carefully lay the ladder down, and transport it horizontally while grasping the ladder’s middle section with both hands in order to safety manage its weight. Once the ladder is placed in the necessary area, ensure the base is secure and re-extend the ladder to the appropriate height. Had the ladder been lowered and transported horizontally, the high voltage line could have been avoided. Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In addition, citations to websites external to NIOSH do not constitute NIOSH endorsement of the sponsoring organizations or their programs or products. Furthermore, NIOSH is not responsible for the content of these websites. All web addresses referenced in this document were accessible as of the publication date. This case report was developed to draw the attention of employers and employees to a serious safety hazard and is based on preliminary data only. This publication does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident, cause of the injury, or fault of employer, employee, or any party involved. Let's block ads! (Why?)