Day: June 8, 2011

Why Bankruptcy is Not Such a Bad Idea for USPS

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported last week that USPS is on the verge of bankruptcy. There are many reasons for that, but one thing I find disturbing is that USPS’ plan to raise its falling revenues is mainly based on sending you more junk mail and convincing banks and other businesses to keep sending you paper bills. So even though I like mail (who doesn’t?), I think bankruptcy might not be such a bad option in this case.

REI’s Climate Impact Slows While Sales Surge

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

REI recently released its 2010 Stewardship (corporate social responsibility, or CSR) report. With its successes the last several years, REI offers a template for other companies, particularly retailers, which try to solve the riddle of increasing revenues while slowing the effects of their carbon footprint.

Engineering and Business for Sustainability Collection

The Engineering and Business for Sustainability (EBS) Collection was developed by the University of California at Berkeley to capture curricular modules, lectures and other educational resources associated with its Certificate Program of the same tile. EBS is an initiative to train UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students to understand the complexity and urgency of their role in engineering, business, and environmental management, and to work across boundaries to achieve sustainable solutions to pressing societal problems.

The collection includes lectures, reference articles, course websites, and curricular units on topics like sustainable product design, life cycle analysis, triple bottom line, and greening the supply chain.

Environmental Groups Sue FDA Over Livestock Pharm Rules

Read the full story in Environmental Protection.

Last year the FDA proposed in a draft guidance that the agricultural industry voluntarily restrict use of in antibiotics in livestock. This draft suggestion caused an outcry on both sides of this contentious debate: Environmentalists didn’t think the suggestion went far enough to protect consumers and the environment, while livestock producers recoiled at what they saw was the FDA overstepping its bounds. You know you’re dealing with a contentious issue when both sides are outraged at a draft of a suggestion.

The agency has yet to issue a final version of the guidance, and it appears some environmental and heath groups are getting tired of the delay: Yesterday, several of these groups filed suit against the FDA to try to get the agency to ban the widespread use of penicillin and tetracycline in livestock.

Without getting into all the legal wrangling – if you’re interested, see this story for an excellent history – the groups are alleging that the FDA decided that the practice was harmful in 1977, and that since then it has unlawfully failed to act on this health threat.

Methane Gas From Cows: The Proof is in the Poo

Read the full story at Environmental Protection.

Scientists could have a revolutionary new way of measuring how much of the potent greenhouse gas methane is produced by cows and other ruminants, thanks to a surprising discovery in their poo.

Researchers from the University of Bristol and the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre in Ireland, have found a link between methane production and levels of a compound called archaeol in the faeces of several fore-gut fermenting animals including cows, sheep and deer.

Paved Surfaces Can Foster Build-Up of Polluted Air

Read the news release from National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

New research focusing on the Houston area suggests that widespread urban development alters wind patterns in a way that can make it easier for pollutants to build up during warm summer weather instead of being blown out to sea.

The international study, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), could have implications for the air quality of fast-growing coastal cities in the United States and other midlatitude regions overseas. The reason: the proliferation of strip malls, subdivisions, and other paved areas may interfere with breezes needed to clear away smog and other pollution.