Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2009 20:42:07 -0500
Reply-To: "Tsiakals, Nicholas John" <tsiakals**At_Symbol_Here**ILLINOIS.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Tsiakals, Nicholas John" <tsiakals**At_Symbol_Here**ILLINOIS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Environmental sustainability in labs?- Friday Hilarity Ensues
In-Reply-To: <003f01ca2857$65a469a0$30ed3ce0$**At_Symbol_Here**net>

In this context, "sustainable" has come to be shorthand for "environmentall
y sustainable" - which would be defined as "having no impact or a beneficia
l impact on the environment."  Not that I've seen anyone actually define it
 in those terms, but I believe that is the concept.  I draw upon my years a
s a Boy Scout for this one - with "No Impact Camping / Leave No Trace" as a
 decent motto.

But what is meant by "no impact" or "beneficial impact on the environment"?
  Such terms are summarizing terms.  With regard to camping, it's a relativ
ely simple scope.  But what of the "sustainable" corporation or the "sustai
nable" university?  As with summaries of any complicated system, the very p
ractical question, "But how do you know?" rears its head.  It's a question 
about measurement.  The lengthy answers show how groups are measuring "impa
ct on the environment" - I think most assume the motto is well understood a
nd agreed upon, which is why most print materials don't even mention it.  A
s for the measurements, whether the correct thing is being measured in the 
correct way - well, that is one debate (perhaps one that is not "settled"?)

So to give you the short definitions, I submit a few candidates:

[environmentally] sustainable:

(1) having no impact - or beneficial impact - upon the environment

(2) living within one's means, environmentally speaking

(3) cleaning up one's own mess without relying upon or imposing upon anyone
 outside of oneself.

So it seems to me,

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Harry Els
ton [helston**At_Symbol_Here**FGI.NET]
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2009 10:18 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Environmental sustainability in labs?- Friday Hilari
ty Ensues

Perhaps I have crossed over to curmudgeon land, but I am finding the
responses that I have received both on-list and off list absolutely
hilarious.  Editing and removing names to protect the guilty:

1.  "It means not letting science interfere with the environmental dogma"
2.  "You're starting to sound like Jay Young."  (I'm not sure if that is
compliment or not)
3.  "We spend more to produce less and are happy about it."
4.  At least three "For us it means..."  (Elston interpretation:  That mean
it's opinion rather than an accepted definition)

and the winner thus far has been folks pointing me to:

5.  "The ACS policy statement is..." (...a 3-page PDF that is neither
precise in its language nor concisely written as a good "mission statement"
might be.)

I have passed this on to my youngest homeschooled daughter as an exercise i
critical thinking.

Can the concept be distilled to 2 sentences maximum?

Have a great weekend!


-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of
Ralph Stuart
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2009 7:14 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Environmental sustainability in labs?

I am helping to organize two conference presentations on
sustainability in laboratories, a local one at UVM in October, the
other at the ACS national meeting next spring. I have some ideas about
what to include in the discussion, but would appreciate any ideas, or
even better, web links to specific lab sustainability programs and
projects that you're aware of. I was able to attend the Labs-21
conference last September, so I'm familiar with that resource, but I'm
sure there are others out there that will be of interest.

Thanks for any help with this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH
Environmental Safety Manager
University of Vermont
Environmental Safety Facility
667 Spear St. Burlington, VT  05405


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