Learn about strategic and sustainable solutions!
March 2017
Learning Through Living
Plisko Sustainable Solutions, LLC continues to experience, and engage the multi-faceted aspects of sustainability, including pushing forward healthy political agendas, learning about the social/equity leg of the three-legged sustainability stool (reminder, the three legs are environmental, economic, and social/equity), and enhancing our knowledge on technical matters. PSS is proud to highlight some of our experiential engagement this month
Strategy: Testify in State Matters
Did you know that approximately 70 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States are used for livestock such as poultry, cattle, and hogs? In fact, most antibiotics used on animals are for preventative or non-therapeutic uses. That means the animals are not sick, but they get antibiotics to make them grow faster or to mitigate dirty and crowded conditions, often at conventional factory-style farms. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), at least:
  • 2 million Americans contract antibiotic-resistant infections,
  • 23,000 Americans die of those infections, and
  • $55 billion are lost due to excess hospital costs and lost productivity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Although some people think a person becomes resistant to specific drugs, it is the bacteria, not the person, that become resistant to the drugs."

On February 14th, in her capacity as Community Sustainability Director for the Pearlstone Center, Joan Plisko testified in the Maryland Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs in support of the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act.

Are you considering public testimony on an issue of concern? If so, the Association for Career and Technical Education provides the following tips for preparing both written and oral testimonial.

  • For the written portion, briefly, introduce yourself, state your goal and outline your major points, talk about the problem, outline ways to resolve the problem, and list specific recommendations.
  • During oral testimony, remember that public officials are people, too so personalize your testimony, make eye contact, remember that there is often a time limit for public testimony, and focus on the specific issue of the hearing. 

Integration: Participate in Police Ride-Along
Sustainability is a three-legged stool with environmental and economic prosperity often taking prominence or compensating for the forgotten or broken leg of social/equity. In the context of sustainability, equity encompasses fairness -- whether all people have similar rights, opportunities and access to all forms of community capital. To better understand some social issues of a local community, Joan participated in a police ride-along. This close-up, experiential evening was profound. Here is an immediate reflection of Joan's experience:

"Bulletproof vest on, we sped down the road, lights flashing and siren blaring. That’s how I started my nine-hour police-ride-along in Baltimore City. Breaking and entering; domestic dispute; drugs; hit and run; disorderly conduct; forced entry; repeat it all. From 5 p.m. till 2 a.m. I caught a glimpse into the daily routine of what it takes to help maintain order in a City whose notoriety is The Wire. Just a few miles from where I live in the County, but a million miles away in terms of culture and order, when I arrived home I felt blessed and thankful. Just as a few bad apples don’t make the bushel bad; a few corrupt politicians don’t make the system bad. The same holds true for Baltimore City's Police Department. I had the opportunity to meet some of Baltimore’s finest and dedicated police officers. Hats off to my friends in blue – I thank and appreciate your tireless efforts on the streets of Baltimore!"

Here are some observations from the evening:

  • Technology: Financial constraints lead to outdated and inefficient technologies, making the officers' jobs more laborious and time-consuming than they need to be.
  • Officers behavior around people: In addition to upholding the law, officers were compassionate mediators and provided necessary deflection in cases that could have easily escalated.
  • Community resources: Access to resources, including knowledge and safe spaces were severely lacking. More community resource centers to improve the quality of life are needed. One shining example of this in Baltimore City is Paul's Place.

Many police districts allow for individuals over the age of eighteen to participate in the ride-along program. Check with a district near for similar opportunities to dive deeper into your community issues.

Results: Engage in Continuing Education
Since 2001, Marc Plisko has held certification from the  American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) as an Industrial Hygienist (CIH). Valid for five-year time increments, Marc recently received news of his renewed certification which allows him to carry the designation of CIH until 2022!

For folks who don't know what a CIH is, according to the ABIH, a CIH must meet the requirements for education, knowledge, and experience in the following areas:
  • Air Sampling & Instrumentation
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Basic Science
  • Biohazards
  • Biostatistics & Epidemiology
  • Community Exposure
  • Engineering Controls/Ventilation
  • Ergonomics
  • Health Risk Analysis & Hazard Communication
  • IH Program Management
  • Noise
  • Non-Engineering Controls
  • Radiation – Ionizing and Non-ionizing
  • Thermal Stressors
  • Toxicology
  • Work Environments & Industrial Processes

There are many sources of continuing education offered around the country through trade associations, community colleges, and as well as through on-line venues, among others.

About Plisko Sustainable Solutions
Joan Plisko, PhD, President

Marc Plisko, CIH, Vice President
Plisko Sustainable Solutions (PSS) can help your company develop innovative strategies, optimize operations, and appraise performance related to environmental health, exposure assessment, and sustainability programs. The PSS team will provide expertise and guidance as you improve your company's economic, environmental, and social performance.