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.

GreenBiz 101: The core of materiality? What matters most

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

If you’re a sustainability professional who got his or her start in environmental affairs, chemistry or toxicology, the word “materiality” probably wasn’t part of your core curriculum. But the concept may be invaluable when it comes to prioritizing sustainability initiatives and communicating progress toward them — especially as awareness of these matters grows in the chief financial officer’s office. With that in mind, we offer this brief accounting lesson.

Free Online TOXNET Class Offered This Fall

The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) is offering an online, asynchronous class called “Discovering TOXNET” October 20 – November 14, 2014. Discover TOXNET and other NLM environmental health databases through videos, guided tutorials, and discovery exercises. The class is taught online in thirteen independent modules.

TOXNET is a web-based system of databases covering hazardous chemicals, environmental health, toxic releases, chemical nomenclature, poisoning, risk assessment and regulations, and occupational safety and health. The independent modules cover TOXLINE, ChemIDplus, TRI, TOXMAP, Hazardous Substances Data Bank, IRIS, Has-Map, LactMed, WISER, CHEMM, REMM, LiverTox and more. You’ll learn about the resources through videos, guided tutorials, and discovery exercises.

Who should take the class?

Health sciences librarians and health or environmental sciences professionals interested in unlocking the information in TOXNET and the other environmental health and toxicology resources.

How much time?

You will work on your own time over a period of 4 weeks to complete the modules that are of interest to you. There is one required module; the remaining modules are optional. The class is offered for variable MLA Continuing Education credit. Each module will be offered for 0.5 to 2.0 credit hours, for a total of up to 12 hours. Credit will not be awarded for partial completion of a module. Total credit awarded will be based on completed modules with a minimum of 1.0 credit hours.

What happens during the class?

This course is offered asynchronously through Moodle; you will work at your own pace. Each module consists of guided interactive online tutorials and/or tutorial videos as well as discovery exercises. Instructors will be available to answer questions and provide assistance throughout the course.

The modules are:

  1. Introduction to TOXNET: 0.5 hour (Required)
  2. TOXLINE: 1.0 hour
  3. ChemIDplus: 2.0 hours
  4. Integrated Risk Information System & Risk Assessment: 1.0 hour
  5. Hazardous Substances Databank: 1.5 hours
  6. Toxic Release Inventory: 1.0 hour
  7. TOXMAP: 1.5 hours
  8. Household Products Database: 0.5 hour
  9. LactMed: 0.5 hour
  10. Has-Map: 0.5 hour
  11. WISER & CHEMM: 1.0 hour
  12. REMM: 0.5 hour
  13. LiverTox: 0.5 hour

How do I register?

Space in the class is limited, so don’t delay! Register now at: http://nnlm.gov/ntcc/classes/class_details.html?class_id=809

For questions, contact the NTC at ntc@utah.edu; http://nnlm.gov/pnr/dragonfly/2014/07/17/toxnet-class-fall-2014/

Reinventing the Chief Marketing Officer: An Interview with Unilever CMO Keith Weed

Read the full story in the Harvard Business Review.

A marketing revolution is under way and nowhere is that more visible than in the CMO’s transforming role. Unilever CMO Keith Weed embodies this new order as an architect and leader of the firm’s plan to double revenue while halving its environmental impact. In this edited interview, Weed describes a new breed of marketing organization, and the CMO’s increasingly strategic role.

The Cornish beaches where Lego keeps washing up

Read the full story from the BBC.

A container filled with millions of Lego pieces fell into the sea off Cornwall in 1997. But instead of remaining at the bottom of the ocean, they are still washing up on Cornish beaches today – offering an insight into the mysterious world of oceans and tides.

New York State of Fracking: A ProPublica Explainer

Read the full story at ProPublica.

New York is one of a handful of states around the country that currently has at least temporarily halted fracking. Since 2008, when the state was first confronted with interest in gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing by energy companies, towns have banned the practice, the state has undertaken environmental and health studies, courts have issued rulings on fracking and concerns have been raised about the state’s pristine water supply.

Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about the current status of fracking in New York, the protections available to the state’s major watershed and the implications of the most recent court ruling for local municipalities.

Poll: 60% back carbon tax if used for renewables

Read the full story in USA Today.

Most Americans oppose a carbon tax, considered by many economists a cost-effective way to fight climate change, but they are willing to support it if the money is returned to them or used to fund renewable energy, a poll Monday finds.

Only a third, or 34%, say they support taxing fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas that emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide when burned, according to researchers at the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy and Muhlenberg College’s Institute of Public Opinion. This general lack of support, which is lowest among Republicans, is consistent with the authors’ prior polling.

Yet a different picture emerges when survey participants are asked about three possible uses of the tax revenue. If used to fund programs for renewable power like solar and wind, 60% back the tax overall, including 51% of Republicans, 54% of Independents and 70% of Democrats.

ScienceCinema Has a New Look

ScienceCinema has a fresh new look.  What hasn’t changed is the coverage of over 3,400 videos and audio files produced by DOE laboratories and other research facilities, with audio indexing and speech recognition technology.  Users can search for specific words and phrases, and precise snippets of the video where the search term was spoken will appear along with a timeline.  Users can then select a snippet or a segment along the timeline to begin playing the video at the exact point in the video where the words were spoken.

ScienceCinema delivers the precision searching already common in text-based databases.  The new version of ScienceCinema was released in May 2014 with a revamped user interface that conforms to specifications provided in other OSTI products such as SciTech Connect and DOepatents.

National Library of EnergyBeta: Cool Search Tool for Summer

Summer is the time of year that U.S. citizens might be in search of cool home energy savings. Plenty of results can be found on this topic and many other energy-related subjects using a search tool from DOE, the National Library of EnergyBeta (NLEBeta).

Users can search hundreds of webpages and 15 science-driven databases – a total of 25 million pages – at this virtual library.  Typing “cool home energy savings” into the basic search box will pull up over a thousand results ranging from full-text reports from SciTech Connect, such as this report on super energy effiicient design home evaluation, to energy.gov websites such as the Home Energy Yardstick.

The recently refreshed NLEBeta homepage now features more prominent search and advanced search boxes.  It also offers a new option enabling users to search content by broad topic areas, including science and R&D; energy and technology for industry and homeowners; energy market information and analysis; and nuclear security and environmental management.  Resources are updated regularly, and new searchable website content and databases are added periodically in an effort to make the tool comprehensive across DOE’s broad mission areas.

In addition, NLEBeta now contains all of the DOE STI resources formerly included in Science Accelerator, which has been retired as part of OSTI’s initiative to streamline its product portfolio and advance public access to additional types of scientific and technical information.

NLEBeta integrates and makes searchable disparate and decentralized information collections from DOE, including DOE program offices; the National Nuclear Security Administration; the Energy Information Administration;  DOE staff offices;  DOE field/site offices; and DOE national laboratories, technology centers, and user facilities.  DOE program offices are the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Environmental Management, Fossil Energy, Indian Energy Policy and Programs, Legacy Management, Loan Programs, Nuclear Energy, and Science.

This gateway to information from across the DOE complex nationwide was developed by OSTI to make it easy for U.S. citizens to find and access information about the Department, without knowing DOE’s organizational structure.

OSTI Conducting Pilots with National Labs, DOE-Funded Authors in Preparation for Launching Public Access Gateway to Scholarly Scientific Publications

As part of its preparations for launching a public access portal to scholarly scientific publications resulting from Department of Energy (DOE) research funding, the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is collaborating with a subset of DOE national laboratories and authors on pilot projects designed to help OSTI and members of the DOE Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) learn more about what will be entailed in collecting accepted manuscripts from DOE-funded authors.

OSTI is developing the DOE public access gateway in response to a February 22, 2013, memorandum, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research,” issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The OSTP memo called on federal science agencies that spend more than $100 million a year on research and development (R&D) to develop and implement public access plans for making accepted manuscripts and peer-reviewed scientific journal articles resulting from agency research investments publicly available in a timely fashion.

By statute, OSTI is the DOE office responsible for collecting, preserving, and disseminating scientific and technical information (STI) emanating from DOE R&D activities.  A DOE policy directive on “Scientific and Technical Information Management” requires DOE offices, contractors, and grantees “to ensure that STI is appropriately managed as part of the DOE mission to enable the advancement of scientific knowledge and technological innovation.”

As provided in the DOE directive, OSTI spearheads the DOE STIP, a collaboration of STI managers and technical information officers from across the DOE complex charged with identifying, collecting, archiving, and making accessible the results of DOE-funded R&D.  The DOE STIP network includes STI liaisons from DOE programs, field, site, and procurement offices, national laboratories, and research facilities.  Together, OSTI and the DOE STIP have a well-developed program in place to identify and provide access to DOE STI, including technical reports, patents, conference papers, theses/dissertations, technical software, books, and scientific multimedia, through a sophisticated submission system and a collection of search tools.

Now, OSTI and the DOE STIP are working together to develop and implement standard operating procedures for managing the intake of accepted manuscripts as a central element of DOE’s public access solution.  OSTI is conducting pilots with several DOE national laboratories to learn more about how authors interface with publishers’ article submission systems and when during those workflows accepted manuscripts are available.

The scholarly publications process varies widely from publisher to publisher, and the sophistication of the systems continues to evolve.  Through pilots involving DOE-funded authors at participating labs, OSTI and the DOE STIP expect to increase their knowledge of manuscript submission practices, and that promises to facilitate implementation of public access to scholarly publications across the Department.

DOE’s implementation of public access will begin after the DOE Public Access Plan is finalized and approved – and once the beta version of the DOE public access portal that OSTI has been preparing is launched.  Please stay tuned.

EPA Solicits Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Grant Proposals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a solicitation for a second round of Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Grants. EPA will award grants totaling up to $4.5 million to eligible shoreline cities to fund green infrastructure projects that will improve Great Lakes water quality.

This year, shoreline cities with a population greater than 25,000 and less than 50,000 will be eligible to apply for green infrastructure grants of up to $250,000. Last year, EPA awarded Shoreline Cities Grants totaling just under $7 million to 16 cities with populations greater than 50,000.

“This is an opportunity for more Great Lakes shoreline cities to obtain funding for green infrastructure projects,” said Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman. “These GLRI grants will be used for green infrastructure projects that reduce urban runoff and sewer overflows that foul beaches and impair Great Lakes water quality.”

Cities can use the grants to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, porous pavement, greenways, constructed wetlands, stormwater tree trenches and other green infrastructure measures installed on public property. Detailed eligibility requirements are available at www.epa.gov/grtlakes/fund/shoreline/.

More information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is available at www.glri.us.