Organic Landcare Solutions at Lewis & Clark College

Read the full post at EcoBiz.

Founded in 1974, Oregon Tilth is a nonprofit organization that certifies farmers as well as landscape professionals nationwide.  Oregon Tilth actively promotes a more sustainable approach to landscaping via the Organic Landcare program.  Through examinations and extensive training, landscapers can become accredited as an Oregon Tilth Organic Landcare professional.  Periodically, the Organic Landcare program offers Peer Learning Sessions to share knowledge and techniques among industry professionals.  On July 22nd, Oregon Tilth presented an organic land care peer learning session on the campus of Lewis and Clark College.  Suzie Spencer, arborist and ground steward for Lewis and Clark College, led a tour of the campus, highlighting unique landcare features along the way.

How Can Daycare Facilities Minimize Toxic Exposures?

Read the full response from the Pollution Prevention Resource Center.

The question relates to facilities that provide temporary, drop-in day care for children, ages three to ten. The facility consists of: a mat zone (for jumping and tumbling), a snack area, general toys and books, an arts and craft area, and periodic trips to the outdoor playground.

Since it is not a licensed day care, it is not bound by the same regulatory cleaning requirements as a daycare facility, but it does use bleach and various disinfectants including aerosol sprays and wipes.

The facility wants to prioritize and minimize toxic exposures to visiting children. The following sections provide some information and suggestions, categorized under cleaning exposure, cleaning and disinfection, building materials, toys, art, and pest management.

A ‘Third Way’ to Fight Climate Change

Read the full opinion piece in the New York Times.

Two options for dealing with climate change — reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a global agreement, and geoengineering proposals such as injecting sulfur into the stratosphere — tend to dominate current thinking. But there is a “third way” that is almost entirely neglected in political negotiations and public debate. It involves capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it or using it to create things we need. Because of the scale of the climate problem, I believe that in coming decades third-way technologies will become a major focus of activity.

Water Scholars Website Launched

unnamedThe Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) has announced a new website to coalesce the dozens of water scholars on the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus.

The website showcases Illinois research, education, and engagement programs integrated across four main categories of water-related “needs”:

  1. Adaptation to a changing climate and extreme weather events;
  2. Sustainable water, food, and energy resources;
  3. Safe drinking water and public health; and
  4. Resilient watersheds and ecosystems.

In addition, Water at Illinois has individual pages for scholars, plus a page describing who the scholars are and the Water Council that steers them. It is a “front porch” to various water centers at Illinois — including the state surveys, academic units, and grant-based centers — as well as to laboratories, facilities and field stations that specialize in water research.

For more information, please visit water.illinois.edu.

How Mars is greening pet food with bycatch and grain

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The United States is home to 85.8 million cats and 77.8 million dogs. They all have to eat. And that’s a problem — particularly when owners decide to feed their pets as if they were people.

The environmental impact of pet food is big, although no one knows just how big. Like the rest of us, dogs and cats consume meat, fish, corn and wheat, thus creating pressures on the global food system, along with carbon emissions as the food is manufactured and transported.

What we do know is that pet food is big business, generating about $22 billion in sales a year, industry groups estimate.

Much could be done to “green” pet foods — dogs and cats are getting more meat and fish than they need, for starters — but the industry is just starting to grapple with its sustainability issues.

Beyond carbon: Emissions cuts the energy industry has missed

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

As we enter the second half of the year, activity is picking up in advance of the United Nations’ COP21 climate summit in Paris this December.

China just released its “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” to peak its carbon-dioxide emissions around 2030. And in June, six oil and gas majors — BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total — published a joint letter to the U.N. and international governments to affirm their own climate commitments and call for action to ensure we remain within the 2 degrees Celsius threshold.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, responded with her own open letter to welcome the oil and gas industry’s efforts and suggest ways they can support government action.

Whatever Paris delivers, the energy sector can make immediate progress to build momentum for the transition to a low-emissions economy. The industry is uniquely positioned to address short-lived climate pollutants — black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and hydrofluorocarbons — through fast mitigation.

Indeed, up to 1 degree C (PDF) of temperature rise can be avoided this way. Based on BSR’s work with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), there are three main areas where the sector can make progress on short-lived climate pollutants:

Yes, recycling is still good business — if this happens

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Municipalities and recycling companies should redefine recycling contracts to value each commodity type individually in order to share in the true costs and benefits of the recycling market.