Day: October 14, 2013

Webinar: Green Business Data Tracking Systems: the End to the Excel Nightmare

Thu, Nov 7, 2013 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CST
Register at

After convening for the first time during a May conference in Boston, a smaller group of colleagues who run Green Business Engagement Programs across the Country has formed a national network to work jointly on issues of shared interest. A Better City, a Boston-based non-profit membership business association, and ICLEI, a non-profit membership municipality organization, are co-facilitating this group of National Green Business Engagement programs and are holding the first in a series of National Green Business “How-to” Webinars.  The first one hosted by WSPPN is ‘Green Business Data Tracking Systems: the End to the Excel Nightmare’.

Donna Walden will introduce WSPPN and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx).
David Straus and Mihir Parikh (A Better City, Boston) will introduce the National Green Business Task Force and ABC/ICLEI, and give a summary of known programs and survey results.

  • System 1:  Energy Stewards® web platform is an efficient tool that successfully supports a range of project portfolios, engaging businesses, medical facilities, religious congregations, schools and units of government to take action to reduce financial and environmental costs. Warren Gaskill will review its development, in what circumstances it can be used successfully, and its key features.
  • System 2:  Jo Fleming will present on a web-based tool funded and created by the State of California and several local jurisdictions within to track and measure Green Business Program efforts. It includes decades of checklist and metric development by several state and local environmental professionals.
  • System 3: Caroline Teng will present an overview of available ICLEI web-based tools that allow communities to easily administer their green business engagement programs, track data, and launch a friendly competition to encourage resource efficiency. Included will be case studies illustrating best practices from local governments.

Society of Environmental Journalists Fund for Environmental Journalism Announces Summer 2013 Grantees

Thanks to generous funding from the Grantham Foundation, and individual members and friends of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), we are pleased to announce grants totaling $15,380 to five journalism projects selected in SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism Summer 2013 grant cycle. In addition to the grant, SEJ will also provide mentoring support to any grantees requesting it.
SEJ launched the Fund for Environmental Journalism in 2010 to support reporting projects and entrepreneurial journalism ventures related to the environment. Since inception, small grants totaling more than $78,000 have been awarded to both staff and freelance journalists to cover costs of travel, document access, graphics and website development, translation and other budget items, without which journalists might have been unable to produce and distribute specific, timely stories about important environmental issues.
Congratulations to the grantees in the Summer 2013 cycle:
Kiera Butler
Oakland, CA
$3,500 for fact-checking to complete a book on 4-H clubs and their role in shaping modern agriculture
Karen Coates
Peralta, NM
$3,480 for travel to report on the environmental effects of agricultural change in Myanmar
Daniel Grossman and Maureen Nandini Mitra
Brooklyn, NY and Berkeley, CA
$3,500 for travel to investigate impacts of climate change in the Himalayas
Jaeah J. Lee
San Francisco, CA
$3,500 for travel, visas, translation & equipment rental for reporting on the spread of fracking to China
Talli San Nauman, Co-Director, Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness
Spearfish, SD
$1,400 for travel expenses supporting a U.S.-Mexico cross-border citizen-journalism initiative focused on sustainable development in the Gulf of California Region
To learn more about the FEJ grant program, including applicant eligibility and submission guidelines, or to see information and links about past grants, please go to the Fund for Environmental Journalism web page. The next deadline for proposals is November 15, 2013.

We are currently fundraising for the summer and winter 2014 grant cycles. Please consider making your own donation today, to help SEJ build the Fund for Environmental Journalism and support new work! If you would like to help experienced environmental journalists to continue producing rich, rigorously investigated and unbiased content, please make a gift on SEJ’s secure website.

Trailblazing Without the Smog: Incorporating Energy Efficiency into Greenhouse Gas Limits for Existing Power Plants

Download the document.

On June 25, 2013, President Obama called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose a rule to regulate greenhouse gases from existing power plants by June 2014. Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act is likely to be the authority upon which EPA relies to draft the rule. With the drafting of these regulations, a whole host of questions emerge concerning what a greenhouse gas regulatory scheme might look like. One of the most promising opportunities for emission reductions from existing sources is in low-cost end-use energy efficiency. This report makes several recommendations for how a 111(d) rulemaking could be designed so that end-use efficiency plays a role in achieving meaningful greenhouse gas reductions from the power sector.

Don’t forget water in the true cost of biobased packaging

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The growing adoption of biobased materials is one response to the challenge of depleting resources. Now estimated around $2.6 billion, the biobased industry is growing by approximately 15 percent annually. This feedstock provides a renewable source of raw materials and energy, which may help to offer businesses greater long-term environmental and economic stability.

But what is the true cost of producing bio-based materials? Trucost decided to find out.

Anheuser-Busch InBev puts a new price on water

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

We need to rethink how we value water in order to move away from treating water as a throwaway commodity. It won’t be possible to meet the increasing need to produce food, energy and products as well as the needs of people and ecosystems unless we embrace water stewardship.

From a business perspective, if we don’t value water, we run the risk of business disruption and stranded assets. But some companies are taking action to put a new value on water, and Anheuser-Busch InBev is among those on the frontlines of this paradigm shift.

New device harnesses sun and sewage to produce hydrogen fuel

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

A novel device that uses only sunlight and wastewater to produce hydrogen gas could provide a sustainable energy source while improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment.

A research team led by Yat Li, assoc. prof. of chemistry at the Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, developed the solar-microbial device and reported their results in ACS Nano. The hybrid device combines a microbial fuel cell (MFC) and a type of solar cell called a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC). In the MFC component, bacteria degrade organic matter in the wastewater, generating electricity in the process. The biologically generated electricity is delivered to the PEC component to assist the solar-powered splitting of water (electrolysis) that generates hydrogen and oxygen.

Uncertain Inheritance: Transgenerational Effects of Environmental Exposures

Read the full story in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Andrea Cupp made a serendipitous discovery when she was a postdoctoral fellow at Washington State University: While investigating how chemicals affect sex determination in embryonic animals, she bred the offspring of pregnant rats that had been dosed with an insecticide called methoxyclor. When the males from that litter grew into adults, they had decreased sperm counts and higher rates of infertility. Cupp had seen these same abnormalities in the animals’ fathers, which had been exposed to methoxyclor in the womb. But this latest generation hadn’t been exposed that way, which suggested that methoxyclor’s toxic effects had carried over generations. “At first I couldn’t believe it,” says Cupp’s advisor, Michael Skinner, a biochemist and Washington State professor. “But then we repeated the breeding experiments and found that the results held up.”

Skinner and Cupp, who is now a professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, published their findings in 2005. Since that paper—which showed that reproductive effects not just from methoxyclor but also from the fungicide vinclozolin persisted for at least four generations—the number of published articles reporting similar transgenerational findings has increased steadily. “In the last year and half there’s been an explosion in studies showing transgenerational effects from exposure to a wide array of environmental stressors,” says Lisa Chadwick, a program administrator at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). “This is a field that’s really starting to take off.”