Institute on World Water Day: “Solutions are Here”
Pacific Institute President and Co-Founder Peter Gleick called for an end to inertia on March 22, World Water Day.
“Water is neither a conservative nor a liberal issue,” said Gleick. “Water is a human issue and the water problems we confront have a human face.
“Thousands of people, mostly children, will die from preventable water-related diseases on World Water Day 2007. And thousands have died every day since World Water Day last year. This daily tragedy is the result of the world’s failure to provide adequate drinking water and sanitation to everyone. We know how to meet basic human needs for water, but we have failed to make this a priority. It is time to take the necessary steps to prevent this needless suffering.” read more
Every day, tons of cargo, automobiles, and other goods arrive at California’s major seaports and airports. These imports are loaded onto trucks and trains and shipped to destinations throughout California and the United States. The sum of these processes is known as freight transport, and its cumulative diesel pollution is taking a toll on fence-line communities.
Pacific Institute Senior Research Associate Meena Palaniappan discussed the environmental and social injustices of freight transport on the TV interview show i on San Francisco. Drawing on the research she conducted for the report “Paying With Our Health,” she explains that implementing state-recommended pollution controls would cost freight importers, exporters, and transporters less than a penny per dollar of their California-dependent revenue. In other words, a system where everyone benefits is achievable. The interview (in three parts) is now available on YouTube.
As the Pacific Institute found in 2004, bottled water drinkers should not assume that the purity of bottled water is adequately protected, regulated, or monitored. In fact, tap water in the United States is not only high quality — in blind taste tests, participants often have trouble telling the difference between bottled and tap water. But what about the ubiquitous office water cooler?
The Institute committed workplace heresy in March and sent its water cooler packing. We knew that bottled water can cost thousands of times more than tap water, with little difference in quality. But then we took a hard look at our water cooler bill. We realized that for the cost of 18 months of water cooler service, we could purchase a new kitchen sink, counter, two cabinets, and pay to have it installed!
Administrative Assistant Asha Nordwall implemented the change. “This will save us money on rental and electricity,” said Nordwall. “Plus, everyone’s happy that the money we’re saving will be used to replace the old refrigerator!”
Yuma Desalter Test-Run Marks Historic Compromise
Last month’s U.S. Bureau of Reclamation kick-off of the Yuma Desalting Plant’s demonstration run marked a successful partnership among Arizona water agencies, the Bureau of Reclamation, and environmentalists. This partnership, known as the Yuma Desalting Plant/Cienega de Santa Clara Workgroup, developed a set of recommendations for meeting users’ water needs while protecting the environment.
“This historic accord offered a critical roadmap for moving beyond the acrimony that previously clouded discussions about the Yuma Desalting Plant,” said Michael Cohen, Senior Associate with the Pacific Institute. Learn more.
4/9/07. World’s Water [Berkeley, Calif.] Peter Gleick will be giving seminars on the World’s Water and Water and China at the University of California at Berkeley.
4/10/07. Environmental Justice [Sacramento, Calif.] Swati Prakash and Bay Area community partners will take part in an Environmental Lobby Day, sponsored by the California League of Conservation Voters.
4/10/07. Freight Transport [Oakland, Calif.] Margaret Gordon and Swati Prakash will participate in the kick-off event for the Port of Oakland Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan. Gordon co-chairs the planning process for the air quality improvement plan. For meeting information contact Delphine Prevost at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-627-1141.
4/10/07. Water and Conflict [Bowling Green, Ohio] Peter Gleick will give the 2007 Edward Lamb Peace Lecture “Water and Conflict in the 21st Century: Fears and Hopes” at Bowling Green State University.
4/19/07. Environmental Justice [New York, N.Y.]. The New York City-based organization WE ACT for Environmental Justice will honor Swati Prakash for her contributions to improving environmental health and developing sustainable practices and communities. Other awardees include Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg. The event will take place in Harlem. More information: www.weact.org.
4/19/07. Scientific Integrity [Portland, Ore.] Peter Gleick will give the keynote address “Sound Science in an Ideological World” at the Lewis and Clark Law School’s Law, Science, and the Environment Forum.
4/20/07. Earth Day [Berkeley, Calif.] The Pacific Institute will join Climate Change Education and others at a gathering from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza.
4/25/07. World’s Water [Beijing, China] Peter Gleick will deliver the keynote address “Water and China in the 21st Century” at a conference convened by JP Morgan.
4/25/07. National Academy [Washington, D.C.] Peter Gleick will be inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Sciences at its annual meeting.
Eli Moore is the Institute’s newest Program Associate, working with the Community Strategies for Sustainability & Justice program. Eli recently graduated from Syracuse University with Master’s Degrees in both Geography and International Relations. He brings GIS mapping skills and a broad range of community-based participatory research experience. An East Bay native, his past employers include Service Employees International Union Local 250, East Bay Community Mediation, and Amo Organics, a worker-led farming collective. Moore will be coordinating the West County Indicators Project, supporting the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative, and leading some of the Institute’s freight transportation initiatives.
Institute to Cosponsor August Water Series
As part of the its 20th Anniversary celebration, the Institute will team up with San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club for a series of water-related lectures and panel discussions this August. Stay tuned!
3/1/07. Water Conservation and Efficiency [Raleigh, North Carolina] Heather Cooley participated in a panel on valuing water at a conference organized by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. The conference was entitled “The Future of North Carolina’s Water: Strategies for Sustaining Clean and Abundant Water in a Rapidly Growing State.”
3/1/07. Desalination [Huntington Beach, Calif.] Ian Hart presented the findings of “Desalination, With a Grain of Salt” at a public meeting sponsored by Residents For Responsible Desalination.
3/8/07. Integrity of Science [Berkeley, Calif.] Peter Gleick briefed a group of attorneys and journalists on threats to the integrity of science, at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s Environmental and First Amendment Law Symposium.
3/14/07. West County Indicators Project [Richmond, Calif.] The Institute co-hosted the first steering meeting of the West County Indicators Project for Economic, Environmental & Community Health at St. Mark’s Church in Richmond. Over 20 participants from neighborhoods throughout West Contra Costa County met to collectively prioritize the issues to be included in the West County Indicators report. For more information email email@example.com or call 510-251-1600.
3/17/07. Freight Transport [Oakland, Calif.] The Teamsters and the Change to Win Coalition honored Margaret Gordon and Swati Prakash with their “Community Trailblazer” award at a West Oakland Town Hall. Over 200 community residents, truck drivers, elected officials and Port of Oakland staff attended the meeting, which was sponsored by the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports. At the meeting, Gordon and Prakash gave a presentation on the community health impacts of diesel truck activity in West Oakland.
3/23/07. Integrity of Science [Cambridge, Mass.] Peter Gleick spoke with Knight Journalism Fellows at MIT on scientific integrity.
3/23/07. Water and Energy [Santa Barbara, Calif.] Heather Cooley presented “Energy Implications of Alternative Water Futures” at the First Western Forum on Energy and Water Sustainability, organized by the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.
3/27/07. Salton Sea [Sacramento, Calif.] Michael Cohen participated in the California Resources Agency’s Salton Sea Advisory Committee, to discuss the State’s preferred alternative for the Ecosystem Restoration Program.
3/28/07. Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative [Bay Area, Calif.] During a national phone call on diesel and asthma sponsored by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, Swati Prakash presented the findings from Paying with Our Health and discussed opportunities to address the health impacts of freight transportation on a national scale. A transcript from the call, which had 85 participants from across the country, can be found at http://www.healthandenvironment.org/wg_asthma_news/680.
3/29/07 Colorado River Delta [Yuma, Ariz.] Michael Cohen met with other stakeholders to discuss potential restoration designs for the Laguna Reach of the Colorado River, the northernmost extent of the river’s former delta.