Safety Instrumented Systems

Be Sustainable or Be Doomed

We Have Made Major Contributions to the Death of Planet Earth. We Need to Change Our Way of Living and Be a Lot More Sustainable

By Katherine Bonfante

The Mayans predicted the end of the world to be on Dec. 21, 2012, so if you're not ready for this—well, it's kind of too late to start getting ready for the inevitable.

Don't panic. Chances are on Dec. 22, 2012, we'll wake up and go about our days as usual. Yet, we all know that all good things come to an end, and someday this world will be gone.

So far, we have made major contributions to the death of planet Earth. We have contaminated the oceans, the land and the atmosphere with millions of pollutants. Slowly these contaminants are killing all living organisms—including us. We have depleted Earth's natural resources and have caused global warming. Every day we take out of this planet more resources than we ever attempt to put back in. Yet somehow we have managed to retrofit the planet, converting it into the largest, 24/7 automated factory ever made. One day—maybe Dec. 21, 2012—Earth's natural processes will just shut down, or maybe this gigantic industrial plant will blow up, and everything as we know it will cease to exist.

We need to change our way of living. We need to be a lot more sustainable. This is the only way how we can help Mother Earth grow older and celebrate a few billion more birthdays.

Automation professionals have already started changing their ways, and doing things differently to help the planet. Many automation companies have jumped on the green bandwagon and adapted their processes, making them more sustainable and efficient. Read our article "Serious Sustainability" at, and see what some experienced end users and their applications are doing in this arena.

Going green is not just about becoming efficient. Safety can play an important role in sustainability. Our article, "Process Safety and Sustainability Are a Two-Way Street," shows how focusing on safety can yield sustainability efforts. Read this article at

Don't know were to start with sustainability efforts? Try reading "Securing Your Sustainability." In this article, executive editor Jim Montague says that designing and assembling greener process applications, running more sustainable facilities and producing greener products requires participants to adopt better practices. Read the article at