Mary Anning is famous in her home town of Lyme Regis, Dorset, just 4 hours west of London. However, outside of that coastal community not very many people have heard of her; in fact, she might be the very definition of an unsung hero. Though she died in 1847 at the age of 47, her legacy should place her in the presence of scientific greats such as Charles Darwin, Richard Owen and WilliamBuckland. Yet, that is not the case. She died in seeming anonymity. Anning has been listed by the Royal Society as the third most influential female scientist in British history and was the true ‘First lady of Fossils’. Among many other important finds, she discovered the first Ichthyosaur skeleton, the first two Plesiosaur skeletons and the first skeleton of Dimorphodon (the first Pterosaur found outside Germany).
Why then is Anning and her amazing contribution to palaontology consigned to near-obscurity? She grew up in a poor artisan family, who were religious dissenters. She was uneducated. She was a woman in an age of strong gender prejudice, working in a man’s world of inflated scientific egos. As a result, she was unable to present her finds in person to the scientific community and her work was rarely credited to her.
Heroes like Mary Anning and her contribution to the scientific community should not go unnoticed. Ironically, she may not qualify as “unsung”, given a very familiar tongue-twister based on her life was penned in 1908 by Terry Sullivan; does “she sells sea shells down by the sea shore” sound familiar?
Not too far from Anning’s home is a group of people that should not suffer the same fate as her. With the 2012 Olympics behind us, we are left with fond memories of the opening and closing ceremonies, the athletes and their stories, and the intense competition that kept many of us up each night glued to the television. We don’t think of the people behind the scenes that worked tirelessly around the clock to make the competition the focus. One such group was the waste management team at Veolia Environmental.
Veolia is one of the largest waste management providers in the UK and was charged to keep the streets clean both during and after the Olympics. At the end of the first weekend the team had collected over 85 tons and 17,000 bags of trash. Daily, they collected thousands of plastic bottles, hundreds of flags and had “scavenger squads” on call 24-7 to respond to waste emergencies and to keep the streets of London clean. Mr. Ed Argar, Westminster Council’s Cabinet Member said of Veolia, “Our dedicated Olympic clean up team have done a first-class job over the first few days of the Games, getting the streets back to their best for the start of the first full week of the Games.”
Veolia is one of Alpine Technology Corporation‘s premier customers and is very familiar with the power of Visual RAMS-Pro tools, developed specifically for the waste industry. Scott Nell of RAMS Europe has been working side-by-side with Veolia in the London area integrating waste management solutions into their operations. In fact, RAMS Europe integrated an E-Payment and Document Handling system for Veolia that was implemented a few months prior to the Olympics.
Congratulations Veolia and all the other unsung heroes in the London area for a great 2012 Olympics!