July 2008   



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California Water
TV Special
Tune in Tuesday, July 15 to KQED TV Ch. 9 for “A State of Thirst: California’s Water Future.” Produced by QUEST, KQED’s science and environment series, the 30-minute special will include interviews with Institute President Peter Gleick and other experts.


The Alliance for
Water Stewardship

The freshwater crisis is a global problem that to be solved will require a truly global approach. In an effort to unite and guide those working for the proper use and stewardship of our freshwater resources, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Pacific Institute, and the Water Stewardship Initiative (WSI) have combined efforts to create the Alliance for Water Stewardship–an entity that will facilitate a collaborated and unified approach to solving freshwater sustainability problems.

To register your interest in becoming part of our growing freshwater stewardship network, click here.



 Extreme Weather Threatens U.S. Water Supply

Cooley Testifies Before Congress




Hoover Dam DroughtSenior Research Associate Heather Cooley testified on July 10 before a hearing of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming on “Climate Change and Extreme Events.” She addressed the rising risk of extreme weather-related events as a result of climatic changes and their impact on water resources.

The scientific community has been warning about extreme events associated with climate change for many years. “Floods and droughts are a natural part of the climate system, but we are are essentially ‘loading the dice’ and increasing the probability that these types of events will increase in frequency and intensity,” said Cooley.

With a focus on the western United States, Cooley discussed how U.S. water resources are already threatened by growing pressures due to increases in population, industrial and agricultural water demand, and rapid development in semi-arid and arid regions, and based on scientific analysis, it now seems highly likely that climate change will vastly increase those pressures.

In her written testimony, she highlights adaptation needs to be a central element of all climate change policy.

To read Cooley’s testimony, click here.







 Forum Brings Research on Local Issues to Community

Residents Discuss Solutions


Community ForumAfter months of intensive research, the Pacific Institute shared its preliminary findings on the economic, environmental, and community health issues facing West Contra Costa County neighborhoods with residents at a community forum this week.

From refinery-related air contamination to liquor store concentrations to resources for formerly incarcerated residents, attendees learned of the results of research on issues affecting their community.

Hosted by the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council, the West County Indicators Project Community Solutions Forum also engaged residents to discuss solutions that active and emerging campaigns are putting forward to effect change on these issues.

For more information on the Indicators Project, contact Eli Moore or call 510.251.1600.





 Anti-Idling Day Highlights Health Impacts of Trucks

Idling Significant Source of Pollution


Anti-Idling Day 2008Residents and community organizations throughout the Bay Area hit the streets June 24 to bring attention to the health impacts of truck idling as part of the Anti-Idling Day of Action.

Organized by the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative–a group of more than 20 local, state, and national organizations representing labor, health, and environment, the Anti-Idling Day of Action aimed to inform truckers that idling their trucks creates pollution that significantly effects local community health, and that idling more than five minutes is against the law.

According to a 2003 Pacific Institute report, West Oakland residents are exposed to roughly five times more diesel particulates than residents in other parts of Oakland. West Oakland residents may have an increased risk of one extra cancer per 1,000 residents due to diesel particulate exposure over a lifetime.

To report an idling diesel vehicle to the California Air Resources Board click here, or call 1.800.END.SMOG.

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In Brief

Institute, Other NGOs Withdraw from ISO Task Force
This past month, Jason Morrison, director of the Institute’s Globalization program, attended the 15th plenary meeting of the Organization for International Standards’ (ISO) environmental management committee (TC207) in Bogotá, Colombia. During a session of the committee’s governing body (CAG), Morrison presented the final work of the NGO-CAG Task Force–a group he has chaired since 2003 and that has been working to improve civil society involvement in the committee’s work. Specifically, Morrison submitted two operational procedures for the committee’s consideration and approval that were geared toward improving stakeholder involvement in the committee’s standards development work.  In a stunning and politically notable defeat, the CAG rejected the procedures. The defeat was led by intense opposition from representatives from the UK, German, and French delegations despite the fact many at the governing body meeting had not yet read them. The controversial CAG decision precluded all members of the technical committee from considering the operational procedures–an injustice deemed significant enough for the Pacific Institute and other NGOs to withdraw from the NGO-CAG Task Force.

Circle of Blue: U.S. Faces Era of Water Scarcity
Just as diminishing supplies of oil and natural gas are wrenching the economy and producing changes in lifestyles built on the principle of plenty, states and communities across the United States are confronting another impediment to the familiar way of life: increased competition for scarce water. Read Circle of Blue’s report on the challenges facing the U.S.’s water supply. Watch Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick discuss our freshwater future.

Cohen on Panel for Climate Change and Water Management
On July 16, as part of the Hydrovision 2008 conference in Sacramento, Calif., Senior Research Associate Michael Cohen will participate on the “Effects of a Changing Climate on Integrated Water Resources Management” panel, where he will discuss the impacts of climate change on habitat and species and how ecosystems can and should be integrated into water resources management. For more information, click here.

Committee Meeting Explores Research as Strategy for Change
As a steering committee for the West County Indicators Project, West County community organizations and the Institute met this past month to discuss how we have been using research tools to strengthen strategies for neighborhood change. Presentations were made by Dr. Henry Clark of West County Toxics Coalition; Lee Jones and Jannat Muhammad of Neighborhood House of North Richmond; Richard Boyd and Carolina Garcia of Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO); Marilyn Langlois of the Richmond Progressive Alliance; and Lilia Quiñonez and Rosa Acosta of Morada de Mujeres del Milenio (MMM). For more information on the Indicators Project, contact Eli Moore or call 510.251.1600.

Institute Attends Workshops on Sustainable Water Management and Reporting
On June 17-18, Jason Morrison participated in the FairWater Stewardship: Sustainable Water Management for All Workshop held in London, which brought together a range of practitioners in sustainable water management who are focused on the private sector in an effort to better coordinate efforts. Following this, Morrison participated in a June 30 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) workshop in Washington D.C. that explored new approaches for community-level sustainability reporting.

Film Screening Raises Money for Water in West Africa Campaign
At the June 9th Los Angeles screening of their film, “Pretty Ugly People,” Harbinger Pictures raised money to support the Water in West Africa campaign. The campaign aims to raise funds for safe-water initiatives in West Africa, with 100% of the proceeds going to non-governmental organizations working on the ground to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene improvements to those most in need.

“Water in West Africa is a wonderful initiative that helps people become independent and self sufficient; it empowers change and offers hope,” said Brunson Green, the film’s producer.” It was very important to our production company and film crew that we contribute in some way to this cause.” To learn more or support Water in West Africa, click here.

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