Sharing the Sustainability Buzz
Posted May 11, 2009
By Peter T. Brady, B.E., Residuals and Biosolids Committee Chair
At the residual and biosolids meeting in Portland last week, sustainability through effective residuals management could be described as a shared vision…or the major buzz. Topics like benefits of land application where appropriate and increased plant efficiency were discussed everywhere. And presentations on green energy and energy renewal were especially popular among older and younger attendees alike. That’s actually why I’m blogging.
In addition to creating leading-edge optimization solutions and tools for today’s residuals managers, our field must continue to attract and cultivate a new generation of young professionals (YPs). The Residuals and Biosolids Committee (RBC) is addressing sustainability from both perspectives because to make sustainability work, we need a sustainable workplace.
Green energy savers like the incinerator Cleveland upgraded to generate electricity or the report on carbon emissions presented last week are great for at least two reasons…they contribute to our profession’s knowledge base and they attract the YPs who want to fix the environment. While we build on a solid range of best practices and operations to sustain the environment through smart residuals management, we must communicate the very real opportunities to protect public health and the environment. And we should do that through venues where YPs seek information (like blogs)-- and encourage their involvement. The time to reach out has never been better.
As we saw in Portland, big things are happening in residuals management, a field bursting with innovative and practical ways to improve our environment. WEF and the RBC continue to work toward developing the best possible technical information and resources, making them available in formats that work for experienced residuals professionals as well as YPs who may be exploring the field for the first time. (Visit the Residuals and Biosolids Conference Proceedings page to see materials from recent RBC meetings.) And the RBC has challenged each of its subcommittees to increase their number of active YPs, through social media, old-fashioned networking or whatever else works, and we’ll review our progress at WEFTEC. We need YP involvement, and so does a sustainable planet.