Author: Laura B.

Laura L. Barnes is a librarian at the Prairie Research Institute Library, embedded at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. She founded and writes for Environmental News Bits.

4 ways to take green cities to the next level

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

This opportunity to “connect, cool, absorb and protect” with green infrastructure is being made real by cities all across America and the world at an accelerating rate. Recent shining examples include collaborative efforts to deploy wetlands and oyster reefs in New York City after Superstorm Sandy, massive tree planting and “green alley” initiatives in cities such as Los Angeles, and the widespread recapture of abandoned rail corridors to provide safe routes for biking and walking across metro regions such as Chicago and Seattle. These urban greening efforts lessen climate vulnerability and carbon emissions in equal measure.

6 reasons technology alone can’t solve water scarcity

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Sustainably addressing water scarcity will require technology solutions both conventional and innovative — both the “hard path for water” and the soft path for water. The conventional “hard path for water” is characterized by centralized infrastructure and decision-making using technology and institutions developed in the 19th and 20th centuries: large dams and reservoirs, pipelines and treatment plants, public water departments and agencies and private companies.

Microsoft buys entire output of Illinois wind farm

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Microsoft took another step toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral, announcing its second enormous purchase of wind energy.

The company signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to buy 175 megawatts (MW) of wind energy — the entire output — of Pilot Hill Wind Project in Illinois. The wind farm is 60 miles from Chicago and will supply Microsoft’s data center there through the grid.

9 key trends in corporate sustainability reporting

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Nearly three-quarters of sustainability professionals ranked CSR above seven out of 10 in relation to their business objectives (with one being low and 10 being high.)

Meanwhile, most organizations dedicate between $34,000 and $84,000 of their budget to CSR reporting activity.

These are just some key findings from a recent 2degrees CSR reporting survey, which aims to help organizations identify key trends in CSR reporting, stakeholder engagement and materiality.

More Evidence There Is No ‘Pause’ in Global Warming

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

With researchers these days ignoring climate change because there is no scientific consensus on it, it would seem this logic is impossible to refute. Ha, just kidding: In fact, a peer-reviewed study last week in Geophysical Research Letters throws horse manure over it (a copy is available here). Shaun Lovejoy is a physics professor at Montreal’s McGill University who ran a statistical analysis of global temperatures from 1998 to 2013. He believes that what skeptics deride as a “pause” in warming was caused by natural temperature fluctuations, and that these fluctuations helped muddle the ongoing and very real progression of climate change.

New MIT Material Converts Sunlight to Steam

Read the full post at Popular Mechanics/TechFilter.

MIT scientists have invented a spongy substance that can convert solar energy into steam. The research, published in Nature Communications, may open up new ways to purify water and sterilize medical devices in remote regions.

Geography Plays a Role in Whether People Believe in Climate Change

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

Who believes in climate change? We know liberals mostly do, and that women are more likely to than men. Now, a New Zealand-based study adds another demographic to the planet-sympathizing mix: people who live near the coast.

And that’s not just because lefties prefer beachfront property. The researchers polled several thousand randomly selected New Zealanders across the country. While political orientation and gender were the strongest predictors of climate-change belief, proximity to the ocean also had a significant, isolatable effect.