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Earth Island: Solutions. Industrial Engineering & The Environment. Lecture 14 Outline Environmental Solutions. Some facts about the problem Some Roles for Industrial Engineers Pollution Prevention in Production Processes Understanding the Systems Problems Assessing Systems

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earth island solutions

Earth Island: Solutions

Industrial Engineering


The Environment

lecture 14 outline environmental solutions
Lecture 14 Outline Environmental Solutions
  • Some facts about the problem
  • Some Roles for Industrial Engineers
    • Pollution Prevention in Production Processes
    • Understanding the Systems Problems
    • Assessing Systems
  • Sustainability
    • at Georgia Tech
    • The Natural Step
    • Natural Capitalism
frightening facts
Frightening Facts
  • 180 million tons of trash/year in U.S.
  • 50% of topsoil in U.S. lost this century
    • 25 billion tons/year worldwide
  • Everglades extinct?
  • Loss of species
    • frogs: 1/3 or more
    • we save mountains, not lowlands
every natural system in the world today is in decline
“Every natural system in the world today is in decline”
  • Water, aquifers
    • 20 billion gallon/year deficit in groundwater
    • Ogalala Aquifer dry in 30-40 years at present extraction rates
  • Fertility rates
  • Waste: 1 ton/week per person in U.S.
  • Pesticides: 4.1 billion tons/year, 25 million deaths
  • Equilibria: ozone, everglades, warming
pollution prevention
Pollution Prevention

Idea: instead of treating waste,

don’t produce it.

  • Move the environmental solution upstream in the production process,just as we move quality concerns upstream.
  • Role of I.E.s
understanding systems problems
Understanding Systems Problems
  • Tragedy of Commons.
    • Example: whales and the IWC
    • Example: strip mining the ocean floor, where there is a new species every square meter.
  • Limits to Growth
    • Example: Human Population, now over 6,000,000,000
  • Transportation Engineering:
    • Building more highways does not reduce traffic problems. (Why?) It increases oil usage and pollution.
assessing systems
Assessing Systems
  • A production process can not always be evaluated in isolation, but must be evaluated in situ, as part of a system
  • IE methods and approaches can help in the evaluation of systems

The idea:

Could we continue our current activities indefinitely?

“But really, this cannot go on indefinitely, can it? Does anyone rationally think it can?”

--Ray Anderson

a definition of sustainability carol carmichael ga tech center for sustainability
A definition of sustainability(Carol Carmichael, Ga. TechCenter for Sustainability)
  • Primer available on web
  • A portion is on the handout
sustainability at georgia tech
Sustainability at Georgia Tech
  • We are one of the leading institutions
  • Georgia Tech mission statement:
    • “…Georgia Tech seeks to create an enriched, more prosperous, and sustainable society for the citizens of Georgia, the nation, and the world.”
  • Institute for Sustainable Development and Technology
  • Project 3: you assess sustainability.
the natural step
The Natural Step
  • Four Principles
    • No Systematic destruction of green space and other physical bases for the earth’s productive natural cycles and biodiversity
    • No Systematic removal of material from earth’s crust
    • No Systematic placement of persistent material into the environment
    • Fair and efficient use of resources with respect to meeting human needs
the natural step1
The Natural Step
  • Founded by Dr. Roberds. Now in many countries. Paul Hawken, U.S.A.
  • Can we tax resource use rather than profits
  • Companies and individuals don’t pay the true cost for resources consumed
  • Prisoner Dilemma and Tragedy of commons tell us that the rules of the game must be changed
natural capitalism lovinses hawken
Natural Capitalism(Lovinses, Hawken)
  • Paul Hawken in The Ecology of Commerce says that industry must save the environment because it must. It is the only entity powerful enough to do so.
  • Natural Capitalism proposes ideas for a different business mindset.
  • One idea: Provide services, not goods
    • Example: Ray Anderson’s company Interfaces leases carpet squares
service vs product
Service vs. Product
  • Imagine buying the use of a working automobile for 12 years. Notice how this would change the incentives of the automobile manufacturer.