2007 Year in Review
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Releases

A Review of Water Conservation Planning for the Atlanta, Georgia Region (August, 2006),” Pacific Institute

Hidden Oasis: Water Conservation and Efficiency in Las Vegas,” Heather Cooley, Taryn Hutchins-Cabibi, Michael Cohen, Peter H. Gleick, and Matthew Heberger

At the Crest of a Wave: A Proactive Approach to Corporate Water Strategy,” Business for Social Responsibility and the Pacific Institute

A Review of the SFPUC’s Retail and Wholesale Customer Water Demand Projections,” Heather Cooley

The Human Right to Water,” Peter Gleick (Esp.)

Corporate Reporting on Water: A Review of Eleven Global Industries,” Mari Morikawa, Jason Morrison, and Peter Gleick

Results of Survey on the Current and Future CSR Landscape,” Mari Morikawa and Jason Morrison

In 2007, the Pacific Institute celebrated 20 years of innovative work–two decades of addressing issues in the fields of freshwater resources, climate change, environmental justice, and globalization.

This year’s accomplishments–fueled by the same commitment to creating a healthier planet and sustainable communities that inspired the Institute’s creation–cut across disciplines and borders.

In California, and around the world, the Institute continues to conduct rigorous scientific research and partner with stakeholders to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity.

This year’s efforts include: addressing our nation’s water scarcity issues through expanded research on water-use efficiency; working to ameliorate the disproportionate health impacts of freight transport on local communities; catalyzing the restoration of the Salton Sea and Colorado River; coordinating NGO efforts to improve corporations’ social and environmental performance; shedding light on the business risks and opportunities related to freshwater resources; and exposing the fraudulent use of science and the scientific process.

 

  Institute Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

A Generation of Innovative Work

 

20th Anniversary LogoIn October, the Pacific Institute celebrated twenty years of working for a more sustainable planet.

Held at the Oakland Museum, the anniversary celebration featured access to an art exhibit, food, music, and a short presentation. Speakers included: Gigi Coe, Institute Board Chair; Margaret Gordon, Port of Oakland Commissioner and Co-director and Co-founder of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project; representatives from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Mayor Ron Dellus; and Peter Gleick, Institute President and Co-founder.

“For two decades, the Institute has been providing unbiased, innovative analysis and solutions to threats to sustainability,” said Peter Gleick, Institute President and co-founder. “The next 20 years will see new problems, but they will also see the continued dedication of the Pacific Institute to address these problems and provide a sustainable world for all generations to come.”

In conjunction with the occasion, the Institute released “The Pacific Institute: 20 Years Toward a Sustainable Planet,” which chronicles past accomplishments and shares our vision for the future. To request a hard-copy of the report, contact Asha Nordwall or call 510-251-1600.

 

 

Analysis Reveals Water Savings in Las Vegas
 Hidden OasisSmart Water Use Has Myriad Benefits

Released in November, a Pacific Institute analysis found that significant water savings can be made in Las Vegas through improving indoor and outdoor water efficiency–findings that stirred debate in Nevada, and around the nation.

Co-authored by the Pacific Institute and Western Resource Advocates, Hidden Oasis: Water Conservation in Las Vegas found that by improving indoor water efficiency, Las Vegas residents, casinos, and hotels can cut water-related energy use, energy costs, and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Las Vegas should capitalize on strategies that other Western cities have proven to be effective,” said Heather Cooley, report co-author and Pacific Institute Senior Associate. “In all, Las Vegas’ water agencies are sitting on a tremendous opportunity to help current and future water users save water, energy, and money.”

Following its release, Cooley, along with Institute President Peter Gleick, met with state legislators, officials and media in Nevada and Utah to highlight the many benefits of smart water use for metropolitan Southern Nevada.

The report comes as the West, and other locations throughout the nation struggle to deal with current water scarcity and impending drought.

Related News:

 

Efforts to Curb Health Impacts of Freight Transport Still Trucking
Five Years of Freight Transport Work Begin to Pay Off

Community WorkshopFrom empowering local communities to informing statewide policies, Pacific Institute efforts to combat the health impacts of freight transportation continue to flourish.In December, through collaboration with the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative, we helped pass a rigorous California Air Resources Board rule. The new rule, which requires all trucks doing business at any California Port to install state-of-the-art diesel reduction filters by the end of 2009, is estimated to prevent 580 premature deaths by 2014.

In November, Pacific Institute Program Director Swati Prakash and other members of the Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative helped successfully urge the California Transportation Commission to restore air quality as a screening criteria used to distribute state transportation improvement funds.

And Institute efforts to combat the health impacts of freight transport weren’t confined to the state-level either.

Recognizing that the community voice in often absent from the decisionmaking process surrounding the expansion of freight transport, the Institute continues to provide community residents of West Oakland and West Contra Costa County with the tools necessary to effectively participate in these decisions.

Designed to build community members’ capacity to understand and impact land-use decisions related to the expansion of freight transport in their neighborhoods, both the Soot Busters project and Project 12898 in West County held a series of workshops this year.

In addition, the work of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project has made the development of the Port of Oakland’s Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan a more inclusive process. Learn more.

 

 

Work Continues on Salton Sea Restoration
 Institute Urges Immediate Action
Salton Sea BirdIn 2007, the Pacific Institute continued its active participation on California’s Salton Sea Advisory Committee and related technical workgroups, developing policy alternatives and offering constructive refinements and revisions to state proposals and assumptions. 
In May, the California Resources Agency ended three-plus years of Advisory Committee deliberations with the release of an $8.9 billion Salton Sea restoration alternative. In response, the Pacific Institute urged legislators to take immediate action to implement consensus elements of the plan.

“With SB187, the Legislature will decide whether to spend $47 million on consensus elements of the plan. This initial work is critically important and funding should be approved,” said Senior Associate Michael Cohen. “With it, we can begin–for the first time–to put real restoration projects on the ground, generating measurable benefits for wildlife and reducing air quality impacts.”

The Institute worked with state agencies to initiate planning and development of some of these consensus elements. In addition, we worked with Senator Ducheny to develop the structure and functions of a governance entity to manage and implement Salton Sea restoration projects.

Working with local agencies and other champions of Salton Sea restoration, we pushed for state and local funding for these projects, and worked to improve communication and cooperation among the many Salton Sea stakeholders.

California’s Salton Sea covers an astonishing 360 miles, yet without a restoration project, it will transform from California’s largest lake into an economic, health, and environmental hazard.

For 10 years, the Pacific Institute has actively engaged in Salton Sea restoration efforts. Learn more.

Institute Helps Steer International Standards Development

Standards Improve Environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility

This past year, the Institute continued to participate in the development
of international standards to improve corporate accountability and sustainable development.

From advising the Fair Trade movement, to steering greenhouse gas emission reduction standards, to advocating stakeholder engagement provisions in ISO’s Social Responsibility standard, Institute efforts are working to improve ethical commerce and corporate social responsibility in the U.S. and around the world.

Marking the Institute’s significant role in standards development, Program Director Jason Morrison was reelected as the developed country NGO representative on the governing body of the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility in November.

Throughout the year, the Institute has also continued its participation in the development of water and environmental management standards.

In addition to helping develop standards, we have worked to make the development process more inclusive–through collaboration with other civil society groups working to reform ISO and by keeping interested parties up-to-date on ISO and international standards-related developments. Through the International NGO Network on ISO (INNI), we continue to inform interested parties of ISO’s standards development activities in the areas of social responsibility, water management, greenhouse gas emissions, fair and ethical trade, green building, and energy efficiency, among others.

For 10 years, the Institute has focused on ensuring standards created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), one of the world’s most influential standards-setting bodies, protect the environment, consumers, and the public at large. Learn more.

 

 

2007 Abuses to Science Keep Institute Busy
 Hummer v PriusInstitute Initiative Fights for Integrity

From White House statements to marketing reports, we continue to bring attention to the misuse of the scientific process that permeates policy debate and media headlines.In March, we showed White House claims on greenhouse gas emissions to be false. Their statements asserting that the United States is doing better in Europe in reducing greenhouse gas emission relied on a selective use of data.

In May, a CNW Marketing Research, Inc. report caught the interest of the media and the public with its claim that a Hummer H3 SUV has a lower life-cycle energy cost than a Toyota Prius hybrid. But on closer inspection, the Institute found the report’s conclusions rely on faulty methods of analysis, untenable assumptions, selective use and presentation of data, and a complete lack of peer review.

November brought about the correction of a widely distributed, highly public error. In 2007, numerous high-profile articles and editorials reported that an estimated 1.5 million barrels of oil equivalent were needed to produce the bottles for annual U.S. bottled water consumption. But a recent assessment by the Pacific Institute concluded the actual amount of energy required just to manufacture the plastic bottles consumed by the U.S. in 2006 was ten times higher–the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil.

Read more :

 

Institute Speaks Out in California Water Debates

Delta Ruling, Cal. Water Plan Hot Topics

This past year has brought unprecedented attention to the issues surrounding California’s water resources–from the Delta ruling and the Legislator’s special session to the Colorado River water plan and the Salton Sea restoration alternative.Through it all, the Institute has been a strong voice in the conversation–working to transform the way we perceive, manage, and use our freshwater resources.
Read more:

 

Lecture Series Brings Water to the Masses
 
Institute Co-sponsors Cool Clear Water

Cool Clear Water

In August, with local and global water concerns in mind, the Commonwealth Club of California and the Pacific Institute presented Cool Clear Water, a series of special lectures that addressed critical water issues.

Topics ranged from protection of the environment and the health of California’ s rivers and ocean, to the impact of global warming on water resources, to use of water for irrigation and industry, to conservation of water for household use.

Lecturers and panelists included Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick, Meena Palaniappan, Heather Cooley, and Michael Cohen. Audio recordings of several of the talks can be accessed at the Commonwealth Club website

Select video recordings are also available on FORA.tv. Watch Gleick’s “Water in the 21st Century.” Watch Cooley’s “The Nexus of Water, Energy, and Climate.”

 

Water Risks in Business Explored
 Reports Examine Effects of Freshwater Scarcity on Business

With the release of two reports, the Pacific Institute has worked to bring attention to the poorly-understood business risks and opportunities related to freshwater scarcity.

In September, the Pacific Institute and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) released a trends report that focuses on corporate water strategy. The joint publication, “At the Crest of a Wave: A Proactive Approach to Corporate Water Strategy,” explains the drivers behind water trends, their implications for business and, most importantly, how to prepare for them.

Released in May, “Corporate Reporting on Water: A Review of Eleven Global Industries“–the Pacific Institute analysis of corporate non-financial reports–found that although many large global corporations are providing information on their water use, much of this information fails to address real water risks.

 

 

“Water scarcity, contamination, and rising water-related costs are factors that can impact a company’s bottom line,” said Mari Morikawa, Pacific Institute Research Associate and lead author of the report. “This analysis shows that companies are not providing risk-relevant information to investors and stakeholders. It may also indicate that some companies and sectors are failing to pay attention to their most important water risks.”

 

New Book Illustrates Power of Water
Sales Benefit Water Initiatives
Water Is KeyReleased this year, Water Is Key,a new book of photographs by Gil Garcetti and edited by Peter Gleick, illustrates the link between water and human health in West Africa.
The book includes essays by President Jimmy Carter, President Shirley Johnson-Sirleaf, President Mary Robinson, and former Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan.

All proceeds from the sale of Water Is Key benefit Water in West Africa, a campaign to help raise funds for safe-water initiatives in West Africa. This campaign is a collaboration between the Pacific Institute, Gil Garcetti, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Purchase Water Is Key or make a donation to Water in West Africa.

 


2007 Staff Updates

2007 brought many new additions to the Institute. David Briggs joined the Institute briefly as a Communications Intern. In March, Catalina Garzón joined the Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice (CSSJ) program as a part-time Research Associate while she completes her doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley. In May, the Water Program welcomed new Research Associate Matthew Heberger. The same month saw the full-time addition of Research Associate Eli Moore to the CSSJ program. Research Analyst Courtney Smith came on in July to bolster the Communications Department and the Integrity of Science Initiative.

In December, Communications Director Ian Hart left a 2 year stay at the Institute to accept a position as a policy generalist with the Budget Analyst for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Honors and Awards

Institute President and Co-founder Peter Gleick was elected as a 2007-2011 representative to the Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In March, the Teamsters and the Change to Win Coalition honored West Oakland resident and former Pacific Institute staff member Margaret Gordon and Institute Program Director Swati Prakash with their “Community Trailblazer” award.

West Harlem Environmental ACTion (WE ACT) honored Swati Prakash and others in April for their efforts in preserving the environment and improving environmental health in New York City’s communities of color.

On April 28, Margaret Gordon was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame for her efforts to curtail air pollution in West Oakland.

Peter Gleick was formally inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Sciences at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 29.

In October, Margaret Gordon was confirmed by the Oakland City Council to the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners in October. She is the first environmental health expert and neighboring community member to sit on the Commission.

The United Nations Association East Bay Chapter awarded the Pacific Institute and Institute co-founder and president Peter Gleick with a “Global Citizen Award” on Oct. 24.

At the Nov. annual plenary meeting of the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility in Vienna, Austria, Institute Program Director Jason Morrison was reelected by the NGOs participating in the ISO 26000 initiative to serve as the developed country NGO representative on the Working Group’s governing body.