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Re: Idle musings: Has the P2 community missed the bandwagon? Or get run over by it?
Happy Thanksgiving! To follow Scott's lead - I will be getting to the point in a second - and - this is related - so Let me be the first to share this announcement going out on the wire now:
Happy Thanksgiving from The Summit
We have many submissions to our call for content and trainings but have had several requests for extensions by are community and partners.
The Summit is extending the deadline for the Call for Content to November 30, 2007. Please
feel free to submit your proposals throughout the week. The extension will close at midnight on December 1. Decisions about the proposals will be made by January 2, 2008.
I find myself enjoying reading these p2tech emails in part because it is so good to hear from people I don't hear from often enough.
So much has been done by all of you - this is thanksgiving - you should all be thanked more than any p2 award or star this or track that program can thank you;
Perhaps because I came to NPPR after a few years in manufacturing automation and software development and missed a good portion of the evolution - I never thought of P2 as separate from anything going on now.
I only thought of the people doing all this work and how important it is. So the thought that comes to me when reading the projects in the call and these emails from old friends is:
What difference does it make - what it is called
what is called for is making a difference.
In looking at the many project submissions to the Summit - I see many familiar names - p2 stars from when I first walked into this community - people I used to look up to in awe - I still do.
The people in P2 are still doing their thing
I also see job titles - and divisions and program names. So getting to the point of my reply:
The people in p2 - still doing their thing so well - are often times no longer using titles or in programs named 'p2'. And they/you ARE leading - still. ( I would add - in the way many true leaders - through action. )
The universe of activity has expanded - the problems are immense - it is sad in a way how crisis has played a part in creating the tipping point.
To answer your questions;
Has the P2 community moved on?
A: Yes - and up
Outlived it's usefulness?
A: Not based on the job titles I am seeing;
Accomplished it's goals?
A: no - but - Looking at the world - how is that possible?
Morphed into these other things?
A: personal view - is a part of all these other things;
Thanks again - to p2 and all of you;
On 11/21/07, Jean S Waters <firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, let me first say that I was blasting through Iowa, not Nebraska,
although that's a distinction that possibly only Rick Yoder may care
Second, when I complained that I didn't know Scott was going to be in Salt
Lake City, he didn't complain that I didn't tell him I was going to be
there, rather he offered a technical solution -- he's going to start
posting his travel schedule and then I can check it before I go somewhere.
Isn't that the perfect Technical Assistance Program solution? He's going
to provide me the information.
It's what we all do. We provide information. Most of you also assist with
implementation. I think that may be how we end up back in the
conversation. There will continue to be a need to harp on prevention but
perhaps a greater need for what this community does really well, provide
technical solutions and facilitate implementation.
Andy Bray of NEWMOA recently pointed out a presentation by David Allaway of
Oregon DEQ (the left coast IS my favorite) as part of the EPA Resource
Conservation Challenge Web Academy. The subject was "Climate and Waste:
The next frontier in waste management policies?" Mr. Allaway was showing
statistics that relate the amount of greenhouse gasses saved by recycling.
In the spirit of Oregon DEQ's apparently successful policy of P2
integration, Mr. Allaway rightly pointed out that nothing saves greenhouse
gasses like not using the resource to begin. Or, as I've quoted before,
the farmers in Nebraska who make their own biodiesel and have wind turbines
and are "off the grid" will tell you, the easiest kilowatt to generate is
the one they don't need. So energy efficiency is worth a LOT to these
guys. Not to mention that age-old question of "do I really need it?"
Clearly I think our community has a lot to offer the current climate
change/sustainability/carbon footprint conversation. I hope we can all be
engaged in it and provide the technical details that will surely be needed,
as well as the voice of prevention - a reminder that the easiest way to
reduce is not to generate.
So, P2Techies -- keep being technical and implementing prevention solutions
and keep up the P2 chatter -- anyone who knows me knows that I'll at least
be able to keep up the chatter part...
Meanwhile, I'm going to take some tips from the recent solid-waste
newsletter sent out by my local city (Omaha - Nebraska - one of the square
states out in the middle - doesn't really matter WHICH square state) and
try to seriously reduce gift-giving this year. (so I guess you know where
that leaves you, Scott...) I'd love to share the "10 tips for Greener Gift
Giving" with everyone but our local solid waste newsletter is only
available in hard copy. The irony of that is staggering.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and remember that Friday is "Buy Nothing Day"
tate.ma.us> "Fred Granek"
Sent by: <email@example.com
owner-p2tech@grea <firstname.lastname@example.org >
email@example.com >, "Butner, R
11/21/2007 11:24 Subject
AM RE: Idle musings: Has the P2
community missed the bandwagon? Or
get run over by it?
Please respond to
I think we have a special message to bring to this new conversation, and
that is a can-do message, that we are uniquely capable of bringing.
firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com ] On
Behalf Of Fred Granek
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 9:31 AM
Subject: RE: Idle musings: Has the P2 community missed the bandwagon? Or
get run over by it?
Scott I agree; in my view P2 thinking and methods should be integral to the
issue of climate change, since as we all know, air issues are not just
limited to global warming, but are also more immediate in terms of smog or
toxics. We are really talking about what appears on the death certificate
as cause of death, and our job is to eliminate the underlying causes not
just developing piecemeal solutions.
When dealing with municipalities or regions rather than industrial
establishments, we are just moving the boundary further out, and looking at
the use of additional tools in the tool kit (transit policy, building
permits, planning, settlement limits, etc) than the traditional P2 ones.
It isn't a question of being irrelevant, it is a matter of allowing
ourselves to be marginalized. One off solutions don't work, never have,
never will. Now more than ever we need the questioning, non-linear thinking
of P2 practitioners.
We need to put ourselves back into the equation, to be at the centre of the
cyclone, instead of being blown away.
Because at the end of the day, the issue driven mindset will not solve the
problem. And we must solve it.
Vice President Toronto Region Sustainability Program
Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA)
2070 Hadwen Road, Unit 201A
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5K 2C9
T: (905) 822-4133 Ext 224; Cell: (416) 723- 4873; F: (905) 822-3558;
Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
Behalf Of Butner, R Scott
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 6:39 PM
Subject: Idle musings: Has the P2 community missed the bandwagon? Or get
run over by it?
Some random musings to ponder over the upcoming Thanksgiving break. If the
tryptophan doesn't put you to sleep, you can always resort to this.
As it happens, I had the opportunity to attend the American Institute of
Chemical Engineers (AIChE) meeting two weeks ago in Salt Lake City. This
was the first full AIChE meeting I'd attended in several years -- probably
since I stepped down as chairman of their Environmental Division in 2000.
Now, if you've never been to an AIChE meeting, imagine some 3,000 chemical
engineering graduate students, their professors, and another 1,000 or so
industry people all converging on one place for a week.
Sounds like a riotous affair, doesn't it? Mix in Salt Lake City as a
meeting venue, and you've got a sure-fire recipe for excitement.
And in fact, it was quite a good meeting. Turns out that Salt Lake has
some outstanding restaraunts, nearby outdoor attractions, and even a bit of
a local music scene (anyone else ever see the movie "SLC Punk"?).
Not that I had time, of course -- the conference boasted some 660 technical
sessions, approximately 3,000 or so presented papers, distributed across
the 18 technical divisions and forums of AIChE, including 16 topical
subconferences on topics including:
- New Frontiers in Energy Research
- 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Electrophoresis Society (AES)
- Sustainable Biorefineries
- Nanomaterials for Energy Applications
- Pharmaceutical Engineering for the 21st Century
Incidentally, the whole technical agenda -- which includes a lot of
sessions of interest to P2 people -- can be found here:
What's this got to do with P2TECH?
Wait a minute. I'll get there -- I'm just taking the scenic route*
So, anyway, a few days after returning to the office, I got a call from my
good friend Jean Waters (of P2Rx fame). Jean was, as is her habit, driving
at high speeds across the wide-open Nebraska plains, passing plowed-up corn
fields, bioethanol plants, and irrigation circles. She must have been
travelling west-bound (towards me), because her voice was Doppler shifted
upscale half an octave.
An exact transcript follows. Well, OK, "exact" may be a tiny bit of an
overstatement -- just as "complete fabrication" isn't entirely accurate
either -- but I think I captured the essence of it.
"Butner! Why didn't you TELL me you were in Salt Lake City last week?"
"um.....because you didn't ask?"
(for the record, I rarely coordinate my travel schedule with Jean anymore)
"doesn't matter. I was there too. We should have gotten together for
lunch. We need to talk."
And so we did. We talked briefly about business (kinda slow), our kids
(it's generally accepted -- by us -- that both of us have exceptionally
clever kids), and the state of P2 (the term "moribund" may have been tossed
about -- but I won't tell you which of us suggested it).
I don't think we ever got around to discussing the meaning of life, but
that's just as well, as you hate to introduce that topic to someone stuck
in a car doing 80 mph through the Nebraska corn fields. It can provoke an
existential crisis, and then where would you be?
Or NOT be, as it happens.
Anyway, somewhere in this discussion, I mentioned that I was encouraged by
the presence of literally hundreds of shiny new graduate students -- all
there in their spiffy interview suits, young and bright and full of
enthusiasm -- who had come to the conference to talk about subjects that
were near and dear to all of us: Environmental lifecycle analysis. Green
chemistry. Selective solvents. Environmental applications of
nanotechnology. Sustainable biorefineries. Climate Change. Sustainable
All of this is stuff that built upon the intellectual and technical
foundation laid by P2. Yet it all seems to be moving ahead without the P2
community in some ways.
Now I chalk some of this up to creative repackaging -- tack the word
"sustainable" on to a session title, and you can continue to talk about the
same old.... er, stuff -- that you've always talked about, and yet still
It's a fact.
But a lot of what was being presented would have been right at home at an
NPPR meeting (remember those?) ten years ago. Or more.
I mentioned this to Jean. She started to respond, then abruptly blurted
out "wait just a sec...."
In the background, I heard tires screeching as she swerved to avoid hitting
a pig that had walked onto the freeway -- an event so commonplace in
Nebraska that native Nebraskans will mock you if you slow down even a bit.
Instead, the accepted practice is to swerve out into the cornfield (because
the laws of probability state with near certainty that if you're driving
across Nebraska, you'll be adjacent to a corn field), dodge the center
pivot sprinkler, then swerve back out onto the highway, spraying gravel
from the wheels of your pickup as you hit the pavement. On those rare
occasions when the road actually IS paved, that is.
"Try that again and you're going home as bacon!" I heard her say, away from
I was pretty sure she was talking to the pig, not to me.
"OK, now where were we?" she asked rhetorically. "Oh yeah -- all these
upstarts coming into P2."
"The problem, as I see it," she began, " is that we were successful beyond
our wildest dreams. The environment is becoming mainstream, just like we
I sensed a "but...." about to intrude into the conversation. "But-ing in,"
if you will.
"But, the thing is -- will the bandwagon stop to pick us up, or will it
roll us over?"
Good question, Jean. They grow up smart out there in the midwest.
Smart, and tough.
And smelling faintly of cows.
Anyway. Let's take stock for a moment:
- Everyone and their brother (unless the brother is named "Jeb") seems to
be interested in the environment these days.
- Companies are increasingly touting "green" products, and people are, in
increasing numbers, buying those green products
- Al Gore won the freakin' Nobel Peace prize, for insistently and
persistently stating the obvious.
Heck, there's even a movie that hit the theatres this weekend, called --
what else? -- "P2"
Without wanting to be a spoiler, here's a hint: it's not what you might
hope. Seems that "P2" can mean things OTHER than "pollution prevention" --
But that one exception notwithstanding, it seems like the P2 community --
which after all, has been ahead of this curve for years, right? -- should
be at it's peak of influence.
Sitting in the catbird seat.
Calling the shots.
Leader of the pack.
Driving the bandwagon.
(coming up with better cliches)
But I don't get the sense that we are.
Has the P2 community moved on? Tired out? Outlived it's usefulness?
Accomplished it's goals? Morphed into these other things?
Does it matter?
I don't know the answers to these questions. Just musing out loud at the
provocation of a good friend.
Anyone else wondering along these lines recently?
* speaking of scenic routes -- and this has absolutely nothing to do with
the topic of this e-mail (as if the rest of the message did?) -- if you
enjoy pictures of fish, fishermen and fisherwomen, western landscapes, or
booming Mormon metropoli, you are invited to look at the highlight photos
from my road trip to/from Salt Lake. In a decidedly Unsustainable fashion,
I elected to drive the 700 miles of high desert that lies between me and
Salt Lake City in my trusty 1999 Mazda Protege, rather than avail myself of
I could provide you with some b.s. rationale, but mostly it was an excuse
to spend 17 hours each way with no company other than myself and the
extensive collection of Elvis Costello songs I have loaded onto my iPod.
The fact that I think that is something to look forward to explains quite a
In any event, my pictures of the road trip can be found here:
As you'll see, I managed to make some stops along the way to stand in a
river or two.
As is my habit.
Have a happy Thanksgiving. Be sure to find SOMETHING to be thankful for.
Senior Research Scientist, Knowledge Systems Group
Pacific NW National Laboratory
3350 Q Ave
Richland, WA 99354
Voice: (509)-372-4946/Fax: (509) 375-2443
400 Grange Hall Road
Dalton, MA 01226