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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.