I was just tasked to buy flowers for Christmas but the GHS Hazard Communication Symbols on the pails is just too blaring. I won’t buy the red carnations, it’s flammable organic peroxide that is toxic to aquatic life. The yellow ones are corrosive so I won’t buy it.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Keep safe.
Nobody really understood what I was doing from July to December 2015. I just got back from my maternity leave not really wanting to do management system audits. I was extremely frustrated, nothing is happening, but since January 2015, I have been reviewing documents, procedures, guidelines, contractual requirements on the health, safety, security and environment (HSSE) for the fabrication of seventeen (17) modules for delivery to the Yamal LNG project. I was also locally managing a contractual arrangement with BV Russia.
Its Good Friday and in my free time, I was curious enough to read a copy of Casarett & Doull’s Toxicology. Me, reading a medical, pharmacological book (purposively bad grammar)? Because it will soon be a requirement next semester when I take up Industrial Toxicology. I am even thinking twice about taking the course due to the expected workload in C4 because like Epidemiology 201, it will take significant amount of effort to reach a marginal grade. As much as possible, I would like to approach the upcoming challenge with some degree of preparation and take a mindset of hands-on application and experience which I have gained over some years of audit experience and of course the current task on working for C4. It is just a matter of managing your time and the response of your brain to the load of information yet to come.
It is hard not put advocacy in the picture but things have become way too deep beyond the usual scope of climate policy, which I also think is too broad. Toxicology is similarly a very broad science and will require a certain level of specialization, and I think such specialization will also be required in working on climate change. I am very thankful that I am given an opportunity to use chemical management in climate policy while working in C4, I tried to make that connection as early as possible, linking RA6969, the Philippine counterpart to the US EPA Superfund to a possible legal basis for a local F-gas control policy. Having some toxicology background may be of help in assisting the DENR in a future regulation through a chemical control order.
There is also a greater understanding that people generally value health impacts more than environmental impacts. It will take a while before impacts to the climate may be felt while losing a love one due to a toxic response is far more painful and can provide more value and importance. Safety is not only about flammability, but toxicity from acute to chronic may be of far more importance.
I love writing about greenwashing, but I really really hate the fact that its happening in the Philippines. Been doing this since 2009 and not much progress, I guess. Ecolabeling is purely voluntary but greenwashing is rampant everywhere, it makes me cringe. I wish I could do something about it in my own little way which is to inform consumers, but my personal resources are so limited.
I would just like to highlight the fact that this sticker’s claim that it is environment-friendly is a blatant lie.
After all these years working in conformity assessment, I finally had the time to get to know IEC in the Philippines. Thank you for the welcome, it was nice to see how these things work, I totally appreciate your support. It makes the work a lot easier given your passion and drive. With the significance of IEC standards in refrigeration and air conditioning energy performance and safety and add those other electrical and electronic equipment I encounter daily, I could not help but think what makes something I use safe and efficient, moreover mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
The 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognizes that the adoption of standards can provide an effective framework for undertaking climate change mitigation. Though the work was not really focused on climate change but on safety and efficiency of new and emerging technologies in electrical and electronic equipment and systems, the work does have concrete emission reduction potential.
Though the potential to mitigate GHG emissions was not the intent, slowly these guys recognize the significance of the Paris Agreements and how the energy sector is now relying on improved energy efficiency as a major climate action to meet the goals in the Nationally Determined Contributions.
As of now…there’s more work to do.
Its been seven years already since I came across my first technology transfer project on climate change mitigation. Anaerobic biodigesters at that time, was seen as a major force in methane capture and waste to energy as part of the Clean Development Mechanism or CDM. The Philippines was seen as having a very large potential due to the widespread practice of microscale pig farmers which is embedded in our Filipino culture. Also, the concept and projects have taken off in Thailand and had been earning enough from emission trading schemes.
So what happened after seven years? Not much really but of course there was the camaraderie developed among the trainers and project implementers. Though the funding from the US EPA has somewhat died down.
When a technology is transferred, how do you sustain it? How do you localize it, how do you make it a point everyone will work on it with a common goal in mind?
This is the best time to write about Gina Lopez. She has been my favorite subject matter for a few years now ever since that fateful first impression at the Development Academy of the Philippines seven years ago. “What is DAP?” she haughtily asked, that bravado kind of turned us off, given her limited knowledge of those working for a government think thank. How come she doesn’t know what we do, what is our purpose and mandate. I think that meeting was merely using the facilities of DAP. We were looking for funding and we were thinking she would be a good benefactor for sustainable development projects and policies.
I have no idea what was the outcome of that meeting but fast forward to 2017, we meet again at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. I’m writing this at my temporary space at the DENR compound a few days after her rejection by the commission of appointments as DENR Secretary.
Her leadership approach was totally unconventional but at the end of it all what can we learn from it? I have encountered people from the entire spectrum of for and against her, I don’t want to comment on that, I respect their stance. The last blog I wrote on her was the fact that people compare me to her given my educational background in environmental science. I remember my early years in UPLB when former classmates perceive our presence in the university as merely farming, similar to that, environmentalists are like Gina Lopez, which is totally stereotypical.
How about people who have worked all of their lives at the DENR, particularly the Environmental Management Bureau, are they environmentalists, or are just government employees working for the environment. The public will judge not only Gina, but the DENR itself, but after her 10-month stints, some thing will totally change drastically.