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Some mark the beginning of the modern environmental movement with the publication of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" in September 1962. Others cite the conservation movement started by President Teddy Roosevelt nearly 120 years ago. I choose a different date: a rising of environmental awareness in the late 1980's, marked by a rapid rise in landfill tipping fees.
It was the latter, nothing earlier, that hit the average citizen in the pocketbook and extended to all a heightened awareness of what we do with our trash, whether in the city or a rural location. Along about the same time, perhaps a bit earlier, scientists had switched their view of the future from global cooling to global warming.
I have long railed against what seems to be poor science, or at least sloppy science, when it comes to predicting future temperatures. That does not mean I believe we should be lackadaisical about our care of the planet; it just means I want to be assured we are getting it right. I am still not convinced that we are.
However, a couple of things are appearing on the horizon that may indicate we have lost interest in the environment or that we will have to change our thinking about it.
The first is the rumor that China will stop accepting recovered paper, perhaps as early as the end of this year. Recovered paper markets have already been roiled by stringent new Chinese rules that went into effect this past spring. If this important market completely dries up, the economics behind collection--and there must be economics, otherwise the system doesn't work--will experience a major upheaval.
The second thing that is happening was predictable. People are simply tired of the talk of the environment and want to move on (see this column for w/o 2 Jul 18). This has happened time and again throughout history, and the date for boredom to set in on environmental concerns has apparently arrived.
In Gallup polls done throughout this year in the United States, an open-ended question is asked, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" The answers are broken into "Economic Problems" and "Non-Economic Problems." Under "Economic Problems" neither the environment nor global warming shows up. Under "Non-Economic Problems" "Environment/Pollution" is 12th on a list of 36 items. It is low enough that it registers with less than 2% of the respondents. It has never ranked higher than being of concern to more than 3% of the respondents anytime this year. This is compared to the top winners--"Immigration/Illegal aliens" (22%) and "Dissatisfaction with the government/Poor leadership" (19%). Global warming is not on the list at all. Number 36 is "Energy/Lack of Energy Sources" following right after number 35, "Situation in Syria" which barely made the list with less than 1% of the respondents citing them.
Global Warming never makes the list.
To me, this is astounding. "Energy/Lack of Energy Sources" has been a front burner issue for my entire career. So has the environment. For these issues to fall so low indicates a complete turnaround from the last forty-five years.
This is our chance as an industry to show leadership. Many times in the past we were dragged kicking and screaming to the recycling/energy/environment party. Because it is the right thing to do, we should stay the course, pull to the front of the pack and be an industry that is a shining example for others to follow. Now is our chance.
For safety this week, let's remember that our personal environment, the one immediately surrounding us, is our key to good health. Often, this means wearing our PPE. Do it.
Be safe and we will talk next week.
* We are looking for a Production Shift Team Leader to maintain high standards, plus ensure safety policies and regulations for a company located close to Chicago's Midway Airport. If you are experienced team leader who has a four-year degree in an engineering/technical field (paper science degree preferred, and experience in recycled linerboard or corrugating medium paper mills is a plus), we are looking for someone like you! If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Jim Thompson at: email@example.com Ph. 678-206-6010 Cell: 404-822-3412.
* A family owned and operated corrugated packaging solutions company in Illinois is looking for an experienced Maintenance Technician to maintain production and quality by ensuring operation of machinery and mechanical equipment. Relocation and other perks are available to the right candidate who is committed to working third shift. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Jim Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. 678-206-6010 Cell: 404-822-3412.
* Are you an experienced Maintenance Mechanic and would like to work for a family owned and operated corrugated packaging solutions company that invests in the best equipment and technology? If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Jim Thompson at: email@example.com Ph. 678-206-6010 Cell: 404-822-3412.
* A leading company in the corrugated solutions packaging business is looking for a experienced Electrician. The right candidate will possess the following skills: electrical; hydraulic; automatic drives (basic component machines 122 to 440 volts). If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Jim Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. 678-206-6010 Cell: 404-822-3412.
* An expanding company is looking for a Corporate Industrial Electro-Mechanical Engineer near Allentown, PA. Relocation is available. Do you have a storied list of unique electrical and mechanical engineering skills you're ready to take to the next level? Do you envision yourself in a corporate-level leadership role that your experience finally merits? And do you relish any opportunity to troubleshoot and solve real-time problems, all while designing and installing new services and systems that will not only ensure safety, but also turn a potentially hazardous work environment into a continuously thriving one? If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Jim Thompson at: email@example.com Ph. 678-206-6010 Cell: 404-822-3412.
* An expanding company is looking for hands-on Electro Mechanical Maintenance Techs in Conyers, Georgia. Preference will be given to candidates with higher education and additional certificates or training. You must be able to work any shift. Pay is negotiable with excellent perks and benefits. Relocation assistance is available to the right candidate. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Jim Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. 678-206-6010 Cell: 404-822-3412.
* We are a large automation company that has a line of consistency transmitters, sample valves and sheet break detectors that are marketed through a rep. network. We are seeking someone with a strong background in consistency control to facilitate start-ups, provide troubleshooting and technical advice. The individual should have experience in all major types of consistency measurement technologies (blade, rotary, microwave and optical). Knowledge of sheet break detection technology is desirable as well. Willingness to travel to paper production facilities across the US is a must. Travel & Living Expenses to be reimbursed along with an agreed upon daily per diem rate. For more information, please contact Jim Thompson at: email@example.com Ph. 678-206-6010 Cell: 404-822-3412.
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