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Pacific
Institute Online Update for March 2004


In
This Issue

PI
Looks at New USGS Data: Efficiency Works!

Contra Costa Using Indicators
for Clean Air
ISEAL Taps Institute for Strategic Assessment



Headlines
Institute
Analysis of U.S.G.S Data:
Efficiency is Effective, Demand is Not Endless

New
USGS data, released on Wednesday, show that US per-capita
water use continues to fall and California data
show an even stronger trend. According to an analysis
by the Pacific Institute, per capita usage has fallen
to a level not seen since the 1950s. The good news
is that efficiency and conservation are working,
and we don’t need to build ever more environmentally
destructive water projects — provided we can slay
the myth of endless demand. There is some cautionary
news in the USGS report: Pumping of groundwater
has increased — and of course a range of threats
to our water resources, from over use to climate
change, loom. But these new numbers show that if
we continue to push for greater efficiency we can
have water for human needs and for the environment
without more destructive water projects.

Our analysis, with graphs and data in Excel format,
is available online.

Contra
Costa Community Groups Band Together to Fight Dirty
Air

After
witnessing the success of the West Oakland Environmental
Indicators Project (EIP), a trio of groups in West
Contra Costa County has begun planning their own
indicators project. Environmental indicators, by
focusing attention on the most pressing threats,
have proven to be a powerful tool for communities
trying to clean up their air and improve their living
conditions. For this new project, the Community
Health Initiative, the Neighborhood House of North
Richmond, and the West Contra Costa Asthma Coalition
will work with the Pacific Institute to study air
pollution in the area, and then fashion a plan to
reduce this threat.

ISEAL
Taps Institute for Strategic Assessment

A
new paper coauthored by the Pacific Institute looks
at the challenges and evolving landscape facing
ethical certification and labeling practitioners.
The paper, coauthored with Pi Environmental Consulting
for The International Social and Environmental Accreditation
and Labeling (ISEAL) Alliance, looks at important
trade-related trends, surveys key technical challenges,
and evaluates emerging and alternative standards
initiatives.

The
paper is available online
without charge.



Staff Updates

3/12/04,
Michael Cohen participated on a panel entitled “Is
Peace Working on the Colorado River?” at the
Water Education Foundation’s 21st Annual Executive
Briefing in Sacramento.

3/2/04,
Meena Palaniappan advised the Regional Asthma Management
Program’s Environmental Committee to plan a series
of workshops on the links between asthma and environmental
factors.

3/1-3/2/04,
Jason Morrison attended a Rockefeller Brothers Fund-organized
retreat of public interest organizations working
on international standardization issues. Entitled
“Key Standards Issues in Evolving Global Processes:
Current Challenges and Critical Activity Underway,”
the two-day strategic planning event, at the Pocantico
Conference Center outside of New York City, was
intended to help RBF chart a course for its future
grant-making activities in the field.

3/1,
2/9/04, Meena Palaniappan conducted a series of
trainings on diesel pollution, health, and strategies
to reduce diesel pollution for the Transportation
Justice Working Group of the Social Equity Caucus
(SEC). The SEC is a coalition of over 60 community-based
social and environmental justice organizations throughout
the Bay Area who work on Bay Area region-wide issues
of sustainable development.

2/27/04,
Jacki Kohleriter and Meena Palaniappan facilitated
a meeting in West Oakland to begin designing a comprehensive
health survey to assess community health. The meeting
brought together the West Oakland Asthma Coalition,
Coalition for West Oakland Revitalization, and the
Alameda County Environmental Health Department.

2/25-2/27/04,
Jason Morrison attended a standards meeting of ISO
Technical Committee 207 Working Group 4 (WG4) –
Environmental Communications. Scheduled for completion
in early 2005, Mr. Morrison continues to be one
of few NGOs participating in the development of
this international guidance document. The meeting
was held in Paris, France.

While
in Paris, Jason chaired a meeting of a joint group
of NGOs and ISO Technical Committee 207 leadership,
which is working to produce a work plan for improving
NGO participation within TC 207. The report, which
includes detailed action items for enhancing NGO
involvement, will be presented for approval by the
full Technical Committee at its August 2004 plenary
meeting in Buenos Aires.

2/19/04,
Jacki Kohleriter, Meena Palaniappan, and members
of the Coalition for West Oakland Revitalization
attended a San Francisco Foundation workshop on
Strategic Planning and reviewed current efforts
to build capacity in West Oakland to continue the
West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project.

2/12,
2/13/04, Members of the West Oakland Environmental
Indicators Project and Pacific Institute were interviewed
by the United States Government Accounting Office
to develop a case study on successful indicators
projects in the U.S. The research was conducted
based on a request by the chair of the U.S. House
of Representatives to evaluate the role of environmental
indicators in protecting and measuring progress
toward improving environment and health.

Upcoming

3/23/04,
Salton Sea

[Sacramento, CA], Michael Cohen will participate
in the Resource Agency’s Salton
Sea Advisory Committee meeting
.

3/25/04,
Water Efficiency
[San Francisco, CA], Dr. Peter
H. Gleick will make a presentation on water conservation
and efficiency to the San Francisco Environment
Commission Planning and Policy Committee. The meeting
will be held in City Hall, room 421.

4/2/04,
Water Efficiency
[Sonoma, CA], Dr. Gary H. Wolff
will give a presentation at the Fourth Annual North
Bay Water Conference on conservation and it’s impacts
on California’s water supply. More info is online.



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2004. Pacific Institute for Studies in Development,
Environment, and Security
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