Environmental Health – Disaster Callouts

World Environmental Health Day is on Thursday, September 26, 2013. WORX Environmental Products will be providing tips, tricks, and educational resources every day this week to take part in the global discussion. This year’s theme is “Emerging Environmental Health Risks and Challenges for Tomorrow.”

Earlier this year, towards the end of June, we at WORX experienced firsthand how devastating an environmental disaster can be on a community. Conditions in the mountains were such that a considerable amount of rainfall plus a melting icepack created a swath of damage in southern Alberta.

We were lucky enough not to be directly affected by the flooding at the office, though two of our staff were evacuated from their homes for a few days. We were, however, directly impacted by the resulting rise in the community to get out and help. Mel (our Marketing and Communications lead) spent several days working in the worst-affected areas around town and in High River, and we were able to donate approximately $10,000 worth of hand cleaner to those on the front lines who desperately needed it. This is part of who we are as a company, and we were thankful to be in a position to be able to help.

But we were not alone, not by a long shot. Whether it was donations of services or products or physical labour assisting in demolition, clean up, and rebuilding, companies from all across Alberta – and Canada – came together to help out. A high percentage of these businesses were reacting to the need, but did not have a previously in-place policy for disaster assistance. WORX is included in this group. For small businesses – even for large businesses – it can be hard to plan in advance for major disasters, but as we grow more connected through community and social media, it’s important to think about the future.

Whether an environmental disaster such as flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, or an industrial disaster such as train derailment or leaks, all businesses should plan for the future. We plan for our own personal health, and take steps to ensure that we will make it through whatever comes. Why would we neglect to plan for our environmental health?

Offsetting negative environmental impact with a proactive plan for disaster assistance is one way to not only increase social responsibility, but also to help protect environmental health for future generations. The expression “many hands make light work” has never been more apt. If we can all commit to doing what we are able to do, we as a global community will be better able to bounce back from environmental and industrial disasters, and at the same time reduce the negative environmental impact.

Check back with us tomorrow for a feature on industrial innovations in support of conservation…

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