The picture on my blog banner was the biggest “F” of them all

Have you ever wondered where the picture from my banner post was taken? It was taken at the NGCP Substation inside in the Kalayaan Power Plant complex in Laguna, Philippines sometime February or March of 2011.

sf6-stock

It was my first foray to be part of a CDM Validation team as an observer, technically no, since I got my Lead GHG Verification course in September 2011.  I was just the “dakilang alalay”  or slave of Adarne Crispo, carrying with me our personal protective equipment or just proof reading the CDM Validation report to be submitted to the UNFCCC CDM Registry.

My mentor-mentee relationship with Mr. Crispo is somewhat complicated, because I am not sure what is the concrete outcome. I have no idea what competence I have gained in the complicated field of CDM Validation/Verification or even GHG Verification of Corporate GHG Inventories.  Nothing moved forward, as if somebody is stopping my growth on purpose, even my Lead Auditor qualification in ISO 14001 was shelved for three years, even my qualification in GLAD was purposely not updated.  Anyway there is Karma, if my designated operational entity does not want me in their roster,  I can always move forward with confidence, and I have. Though things seemed like I have thrown it on the back burner, that is still my ultimate career goal.

The CDM registry is already closed for emission reduction projects, people are now talking about Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions  and after COP 21 comes the Nationally Determined Contributions. Everyone’s anticipating the ratification of the Paris Agreements, but the Philippines seems lukewarm about it. The concept may not be fully understood by the current leadership, maybe our DENR Secretary can show some good animated materials for the president’s appreciation.   I am very happy now at this point in time working to support some of these efforts.

The Validation  of the CDM project on SF6 Emission Reduction in High Voltage Transmission will always be my first and somehow last CDM Validation project.  I was working at the back-office technically supporting Mr. Crispo, though we would hate each other every now and then, I never really took it personally, unless of course he did. Working on the validation project gave me a strong technical foundation on the nature of SF6, as the most potent greenhouse gas considered by the IPCC.  It is relatively easy to monitor and measure since its emission calculation methodology is mass balance.  Uncertainty is somewhat low, based on the API 2009 GHG compendium. Being in the validation/verification component  of the project, the focus was strengthening the quality of data on SF6 use and looking more into the maintenance processes of High Voltage Electrical Systems.

I was able to use that knowledge in auditing Geothermal, Natural Gas and Coal Fired power plants on their quality and environmental management systems. I have realized that its high GWP was not always considered environmentally significant, due to absence of a local regulatory framework. However, its significance in terms of cost is always highlighted.  A cylinder can cost around PHP 300,000 to PHP 500,000 in the Philippines, the add-on in terms of shipment cost due its nature as a Dangerous Cargo in the EU. Maybe the Paris Agreements can change this in the long run.  Not to lower cost but to force users to conserve a valuable and at the same time, a dangerous resource.

SF6 was not included in the national GHG inventory of the Philippines.  It is not a halocarbon, it is an F-Gas but the Second National Communication at base year 2000 have not considered it even if it is grouped together with HFC and PFC. Some people would call me crazy for my high regard of this F-Gas. Even now working on HFCs and PFCs, I never fail to mention SF6 as the most potent F-Gas of it all. Without a proper inventory, no one will really kow how much we really use this stuff and how much the Philippines is currently emitting GHGs from SF6.

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October 9, 2016 · 4:32 am

OH my S! No turning back, I guess.

ghs-pictograms2-700x694On April 21, 2015, I wrote a post about going into Health & Safety as part of my work responsibility and finding my level of expertise too shallow.

Good industry experience is essential to gain expertise, but the lack of professional direction,  mentorship, technical supervision and even the lack of audit assignments on OH&S was extremely frustrating on my part. Such condition have partially led to my decision to seek change.

I have been thinking hard about it for the past year, but additional academic experience on Occupational Health & Safety may extinguish this extreme frustration like a fire fighting equipment designed for a particular type of fire. Giving small toolbox talks on fire awareness, slips trips and fall or travel safety in a small office predominated by back office staff is not a highlight of my career. It seems like a sideline, particularly if you did it in your last trimester of pregnancy under orders of bed rest from my Ob-Gyn.  I find that so pathetic and frustrating.  There is more to life than this.

My maternity leave did offer an avenue for reflection and a year after a tumultuous mindset, small changes and efforts have led to some good results.  I have a new job on Climate Change Mitigation and I have been accepted to pursue further graduate studies in Occupational Health.  At the end of the day, there are a lot of things in my life that I have to be thankful about, even if it took a year of reflecting and contemplating.

1024px-GHS-pictogram-explos.svgWhen I was interviewed into the MOH program in UP Manila, I was reminded that I was still young.  So what if I did not get any specific qualification at the moment? I am still young. I am still in my mid-thirties. There is no other choice but to move forward with confidence (I love that tagline….hahaha).  Change does not need to be explosive, it can be a quiet proactive process.

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment

I was not photoshopped into the Chocolate Hills

Bohol 2012

Be careful what you put to social media. People can manipulate images. I was not that Kenyan Girl who was obviously photoshopped into the Great Wall of China. Above was an old photo of mine taken January 2012.  It was my first trip to Bohol for Bureau Veritas. After five (5) years doing management system audits and documenting QHSE, I have decided to go back to development work.  I have done quite a bit of sustainable development work prior to joining BV, the difference maybe is that I just don’t own a really great high resolution camera, maybe the next time I travel, I may have one wherever my new work experiences could take me.

Ten years ago, I told myself that my career goals are to work for a Multi-Lateral Development Organization and become a Lead GHG Verifier. Maybe God is kind to me, I still have not achieved those goals…because maybe…my career could have been over by now….one things for sure though, such goals are attainable, but such goal could not be fully achieved if I stay in my current situation.  There are policy barriers,  market barriers, or personally motivated manipulative barriers. People fear the unknown. However, I do know where I want to go.

I am very much thankful for BV that I was able to gain the basics of auditing based on ISO 19011, data quality assurance, even actual implementation of ISO 17020 for inspection activities. These are the recommended Quality Standards specified by the IPCC. More importantly, I was able to get myself copies of ISO 14064-1,2 and 3. Though Part 3 is a struggle with Atoy, at least I was able to do actual GHG Verification work for Energy and Agriculture Sectoral Scopes.

Most of my verification work involved more studying, desktop review of data, recalculations and less physical verification. Now that I have gotten this knowledge, what should I do with it?

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Filed under Biodiversity, Career Notes, Ecotourism, GHG Mitigation Effort, Travel

A Reaction to Gina Lopez’ DENR Appointment

vampira-me-laffIt has been quite a while since I have written a post,  and Gina Lopez in the news have resurrected my ecoblogging from the grave. My last post  in 2012 was about my encounter with her in DAP in 2010.

The worst that you could tell me at this point in my life is that you see me as the future Gina Lopez, DENR Secretary.  I believe I have good scientific training and technical experience in environmental management. Being a media hype is not something I would dream about. I do want a certain degree of concrete expertise.

The appointment of Gina Lopez, is something I do frown about. The second one I frowned at after Mark Villar for DPWH. These are the cases that seem muddy rather than concrete. But the established safeguards in government systems will hopefully deliver regardless of leadership. I wish them the best, but I don’t like them. Some things will be difficult, but we can always wait for the next administration to patch things up.

Gina Lopez has always been a pet peeve for me.  Maybe its the energy she exudes when I met her. Why did I end up in that meeting anyway? Was it her seemingly lack of regard for Filipino Scientists?  Her know-it-all naivete with excerpts of arrogance?  Her “alalays” Diosa and Eugene…Oh gosh, the seemingly staged entrance to the meeting, the bohemian outfit or the fact that she kind of looks like my old boss, who was deeply insecure of me. Red flags here and there, naive comments on ecology and sustainability showing limited technical knowledge….blah blah blah.

Have I really come a long way? I have nothing to do with the DENR or LLDA at the moment. As much as possible I do not want to involve myself in shallow environmentalism and media propaganda.  I do want to exude technical expertise in the most modest, humble and  academically appropriate manner.  Being recognized as a media hype, will not be me because I don’t have  and will never have that advantage.

I do believe that Climate Change is the most critical environmental issue in the Philippines. Though our focus is Adapting to the Change, mitigation should also be focused at.  I believe I can contribute my training, experience and expertise on this area and I need to learn more.

I guess my issue with Gina Lopez is that people around me compare me to her, which to me is NOT a good thing. I have nothing against her, but her ways and means are not something I want to emulate. Gina Lopez is an environmentalist, I am not like that, and I am  doing my best to break away from that perceived mold.

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels

Is it too late to move on to HS?

Fifteen years is quite a long time to gain an expertise on something technical but if the current workplace demands that you learn something new and provide expertise, that is something I do feel quite uncomfortable with. I have been comfortable working and sometimes being an expert in the field of environmental science and management. I do have the education, training and work experience to back it up with but what if my job demands that I go beyond it more than just a logical thinking, common sense requirement?

I am not moving on to high school, I am being provided responsibility to manage health and safety concerns. I may have worked side by side with people who have  been experts on that field but what if my responsibility now is to manage that? I remember way back, quite a while I guess when people from outside our technical field were appointed as administrators or managers, specially those who made a shift from the military to our industry…the first negative comments came from people like me, too ingrained in the technical and academic…

Since I am not the person in power, of course I have no choice but to just work my ass up and be the best, now with age things have changed and reflecting on my approach to work, I know this is much closer than coming from outerspace, I still have some hesitation that I may not be the perfect expert on HS even if I am quite confident on the E after all these years.  Drastic changes that I plan to do is take a few learning expeditions on OH&S.  I have attended the mandatory regulatory training and the lead auditor course but I still finding it too shallow to provide any level of confidence in working for the industry. There is this hesitation that I am not going to be the best if something is provided to me in  a silver platter unless I have worked hard for it and gained expertise on it….the opposite is also true…if I am not interested in something….I just don’t put it on my table anyway and let others do it.

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Filed under Career Notes, Disaster Management

Small Space

Small Space

I thought 7.7 sqm for a living room was small. What if 8 sqm is the entire apartment including bathroom and toilet. Amazing. The solution. Just keep the clutter away….

I will be trying to dispose items for the new year…contact me if interested…

tortoise5ab

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Filed under Random

MOLDS and LEED…S not the wine type

Mold infestations have been bothering me. In 2008, I worked in the 7th floor of a High Rise building. I was always sick, I can smell the sour stench from the carpeting, when Test America came, they could sense a degree of Sick Building Syndrome on the lower floors given the lack of ventilation among that levels. Should we get used to it or spend efforts on eliminating it?

Green buildings are not only limited to energy and resource efficiency but  also the health and wellness of the people using it. Molds are just one aspect, emissions of volatile organic compounds, thermal comfort, adequate acoustics, illumination and overall indoor quality is essential and as a requirement periodically tested. 

Sometimes that’s the irony of it all, such concepts are popular but are not fully implemented and lacks adequacy of implementation. How can I work efficiently and effectively if I don’t have a workplace at all and I have to utilize my creativity to improvise? 

In the Philippines, there are only two (2) USGBC certified buildings. I guess, there is the Philippine Green Building Council and they have more certified buildings. There is a premium on this building, but who gives a damn about this?

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Management System, GHG Mitigation Effort, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability