What is an environmental gorilla?
When it comes to environmental issues, many facilities are primarily focused on environmental compliance – let’s make sure we meet our permit limits. Let’s stay out of trouble - today. While environmental compliance is an important aspect of environmental management, it should not be the sole focus of a facility. Each facility should also actively reduce its risk of potentially significant future environmental liabilities on a daily basis. The easiest way to start is to manage your environmental gorillas.
First, let’s look at what your environmental gorillas are all about. The “invisible gorilla” is one of the best-known experiments in psychology. According to Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, authors of the best-selling book The Invisible Gorilla, “Imagine you are asked to watch a short video in which six people – three in white shirts and three in black shirts – pass basketballs around. While you watch, you must keep a silent count of the number of passes made by the people in white shirts. At some point, a gorilla strolls into the middle of the action, faces the camera and thumps its chest, and then leaves, spending nine seconds on screen. Would you see the gorilla?”
How can something that appears to be so obvious, possibly go so unnoticed? Well according to the authors, when they conducted this experiment at Harvard University a few years ago, half of the people that watched the video and counted the passes missed the gorilla!
This experiment reveals a significant behavioral tendency - we are not aware of a lot of things around us, and we do not recognize this lack of awareness. This causes many of us to simply overlook the obvious.
Environmental gorillas frequently go unnoticed by facility personnel;
yet when identified – they are so obvious!
The following is an example of a typical environmental gorilla:
Here is a state-of-the-art chemical mix room with all of the “bells and whistles.” This facility was proud of the investment that it made to protect the environment by ensuring any release from drums and totes stored in this area would be contained by the trenches and sumps within the self-contained chemical mix room. The trenches and sumps actually contained sensors that would sound an alarm if any released material entered the structures.
While quite impressive, we asked facility personnel for the purpose of the manhole cover. While the manhole cover is quite obvious in the picture, facility personnel simply stated that it was the access location for the facility’s storm water system, which discharges into an adjacent stream. The manhole cover was not sealed.
No one at the facility recognized something so obvious – this manhole was a direct pathway for released material to impact the environment. Even though the facility invested a lot of money into a state-of-the-art spill containment system, a significant gorilla still existed. A release onto the floor of the chemical mix room could enter this storm water system manhole and impact the nearby stream – resulting in a significant environmental liability.
At ENVISION ENVIRONMENTAL, we take the worry out of our clients’ environmental issues. Our employees have on average twenty years of experience in managing environmental issues. Our staff has extensive experience over a wide-range of commercial and industrial facilities, from “Mom & Pop Shops” to Fortune 100 manufacturing complexes. This is vital in identifying environmental gorillas and helping you reduce your environmental liabilities.
Let us visit your facility for a free Gorilla Evaluation, where a member of our experienced staff will tour your facility with you. During this tour (which should take less than an hour), ENVISION will identify any environmental gorillas and provide suggestions on how to address them. All we ask is that you allow us a few minutes of your time at the end of the facility tour to talk to you about ENVISION’s service capabilities and how we can assist you in taking the worry out of your environmental issues.
Please contact Mark Roman at (609) 208-1885 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your free Gorilla Evaluation today!