OCTOBER 2006 HEADLINES

Institute Welcomes New Program Director

The Pacific Institute welcomed its newest program director in September. Swati Prakash will be taking the helm of the Institute’s Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice program.

Swati Prakash
Swati Prakash

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Swati to the Pacific Institute,” said Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. “Her training in public health, her environmental justice work, and her commitment to participatory action research will help us expand the success of all the Institute’s efforts.”

Prakash hit the ground running in September. In addition to co-authoring the Institute’s forthcoming report on freight transport, she will be overseeing the recently launched West County Indicators project. She hopes to continue her passion for leadership development, and is also looking forward to developing innovative models of incorporating community health needs into city planning and land use decisions.

“I look forward to building on the Pacific Institute’s commitment to addressing economic development and environmental health in local communities,” said Prakash.

Prakash arrives at the Institute from New York City, where she worked with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health, conducting workplace safety & health outreach to immigrant workers. She has also formerly served as a director at West Harlem Environmental Action Inc. (WE ACT) and was a lecturer on Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Health and an AB in Environmental Health and Public Policy, both from Harvard University.

Meena Palaniappan
Meena Palaniappan

Shifting her research focus, former program director Meena Palaniappan is working to expand the international water and sanitation work at the Pacific Institute, combining the on-the-ground strategies of the Community Strategies Program with the Institute’s depth of expertise in the international water arena. She will be developing the foundation of a toolkit on technologies, approaches, and funding mechanisms in water and sanitation to be used by practitioners in developing countries. She will also be advising a charitable foundation on how to make the most effective investments in improving water and sanitation.

Facilities Reporting Project Milestone Reached

During the first week of November, representatives from private and public organizations interested in sustainability management will be converging on Denver for “On the Path Toward Sustainability and Accountability: A Best Practice Training on the Facility Reporting Project.” Pacific Institute Program Director Jason Morrison will be leading a portion of the training.

Jason Morrison
Jason Morrison

“As one of the three course providers for the event, this inaugural FRP training is a milestone in the Pacific Institute’s longstanding efforts to promote best practice in facility-level stakeholder engagement and sustainability reporting,” said Morrison.

The event takes place November 2 and is sponsored by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in conjunction with Ceres. More information about the FRP is available at www.facilityreporting.org. To register or find out more about the event, contact Jason Morrison at 510-251-1600, jmorrison@pacinst.org.

Institute Soliciting NGOs for CSR Survey

The Pacific Institute, in collaboration with the ISEAL Alliance, AccountAbility, Global Reporting Initiative, and International Institute for Sustainable Development, is conducting a survey of civil society groups regarding the current and future desired landscape of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement. The collaborative is circulating the questionnaire as widely as possible so that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world can better understand and share views regarding the best way to improve corporations’ accountability, transparency, and social and environmental performance.

The Institute encourages interested NGOs to participate in this important survey, either online or by filling out the MS Word document (click here to download) and returning it to Mari Morikawa of the Pacific Institute at morikawa@pacinst.org. The deadline for the submission is October 13, 2006. All responses will be synthesized and shared, but without attribution. Questions about the survey should be directed to morikawa@pacinst.org or by calling Morikawa at 510-251-1600.

Institute to Release Freight Transport Report

Diesel-powered freight transport impacts local communities

The Pacific Institute is busily preparing its next report, which will examine the health and social costs of freight transport (otherwise known as goods movement) in California. Lead authors Meena Palaniappan and Swati Prakash find that, despite businesses’ claims to the contrary, there are ample funds to support trade growth in California and mitigate the negative impacts of freight transport. “Paying with Our Health: The Real Cost of Freight Transport in California” is scheduled for release later this month — keep an eye out for it at www.pacinst.org. If you would like to receive notice of its release, e-mail publications@pacinst.org.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Replacing existing toilets with high-efficiency models could save California more than 130 billion gallons of water every year. That is more water than we get from Hetch Hetchy reservoir.

– Peter Gleick, in an op-ed on the need for California to recommit to water efficiency programs. Read article

UPCOMING

10/24/06. Salton Sea [Sacramento, Calif.] Michael Cohen will participate in the Resources Agency’s Salton Sea Advisory Committee meeting.

10/24/06. Water Privatization [Brooklyn Center, Minn.] Ian Hart will present “Beyond Privatization: Restructuring Water Systems to Improve Performance” at the Minnesota Water 2006 and Annual Water Resources joint conference.

Institute and WOEIP
Host Planning Workshop

The Pacific Institute, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, and Alameda County Health Services hosted a workshop on integrating health into city planning last Friday. More than 60 Bay Area city planners, public health professionals, and community advocates attended “Planning Healthy Cities for the 21st Century.”

Institute-sponsored Health Planning Workshop

Institute Welcomes Interns

The Institute welcomes three new interns this fall. Chris Nelson is conducting research on climate and water as well as water conflict. He is an International Environmental Policy graduate student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Micah Lang is conducting research on decisionmaking tools for selecting appropriate water and sanitation technology interventions. He is also examining how development aid in the water and sanitation sector can be invested to have the greatest impact in improving children’s health in Africa. Micah is a PhD student in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jane Bloch is the Institute’s new Communications Intern. She will be assisting on this fall’s various projects, including the release of the new freight transport report (see HEADLINES), the release of the The World’s Water: 2006-2007 in November, and projects related to the Institute’s Science Integrity Initiative. Jane recently completed her BA in Political Science at the University of Washington.

New Book Analyzes Corporate Green Initiatives

In September, RFF Press (a division of Resources for the Future) released its new book Leveraging the Private Sector Management-Based Strategies for Improving Environmental Performance. The book offers the first sustained analysis of public and private sector initiatives designed to encourage firms and industries to use their own management expertise to improve their environmental performance.

“I’ve been awaiting this book’s release,” said Institute Program Director Jason Morrison. More.


PRESS HIGHLIGHTS

Micro Pollution Panel Commonwealth Club (KQED), 9/1/06

Marshlands considered for port Contra Costa Times, 9/3/06

Global warming threatens Delta islands, water supply Contra Costa Times, 9/4/06

Conference looks at water options San Antonio Express-News, 9/9/06

Warming posing dilemma: Santa Clarita Valley water may be affected in future LA Daily News, 9/28/06

The Debate: Water Management, Water Fees and Conservation New York Times, 10/1/06

Flushing water and money down the drain San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/06


STAFF UPDATES

10/5/06. Water Privatization [Urbana, Ill.] Ian Hart presented the Institute’s report “Beyond Privatization“at the Institutional and Economics Strategies panel of the 2006 Illinois Water Conference.

9/28-9/29/06. Water Conservation and Efficiency [San Francisco, California] Heather Cooley participated in a briefing to discuss the potential of conservation and efficiency for the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s retail and wholesale customers.

9/28/06. West County Neighborhood Indicators Project [Richmond, Calif.] Swati Prakash and Pacific Institute consultant Arlene Wong, working with community partners West County Toxics Coalition, Neighborhood House of North Richmond, and Community Health Initiative, hosted a community orientation meeting for the recently launched West County Indicators Project for Economic, Environmental & Community Health. Nearly 40 community residents packed the room of Community Heritage Senior homes in the evening to discuss information needs and priorities that can be addressed through an indicators project.

9/27/06. Community Strategies [Oakland, Calif.] Margaret Gordon of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project spoke before the Jack London Gateway Phase 2 project Design Review Committee.

Gleick at FutureSeaLevel.org event

9/21/06. Climate Change [San Francisco, Calif.] The Pacific Institute joined San Francisco’s Department of the Environment and the Sierra Club in unveiling a customized “FutureSeaLevel.org” marker at Pier 39’s Aquarium of the Bay to illustrate potential sea level rise. Peter Gleick spoke on the science of climate change, as well as its historical context. This event was sponsored by the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and Aquarium of the Bay at PIER 39.

9/17/06. Community Indicators [Oakland, Calif.] Margaret Gordon of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project sat on a panel at a town hall meeting hosted by Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

9/13/06. Energy, Water, and Climate [Washington, D.C.] Peter Gleick was one of four panelists at an Environmental and Energy Study Institute-hosted Congressional briefing on the connections between water use in the energy sector, energy use in the water sector, and climate change.

9/9/06. Desalination [San Antonio, Tex.] Pacific Institute affiliate Dr. Gary Wolff presented “The Economics of Desalination” at the Sierra Club’s “Water for People and the Environment Conference.”

For press coverage of the event, see Conference looks at water options.


“No Trucks Over 4 1/2 Tons” photo courtesy of Brian Beveridge.

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