Webinar: Making a Big Impact in Sustainability Science with Big Data

Thu, Sep 21, 2017 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM CDT
Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/641458766809039361

Issues in sustainability science are increasingly being addressed using “big data” and data analytics.  Data rich modeling techniques can assist in improving systems thinking to integrate business operations, people, ecosystems and climate. The result can be improved decision making, greener supply chains and optimization of business operations — all leading to increased corporate profits and important social benefits.  The ultimate goal of big data science is to foster economic development, improve social livelihoods, and enhance environmental quality.

Join SSF and leaders from Chatmine Technologies and Boston University in a free webinar demonstrating the application of computational modelling of natural and social processes to identify patterns, trends, and associations that can inform sustainability decision making. The webinar will be organized around five case studies focused on integrating multi-scale and multi-source data and applying spatial statistical techniques, artificial Intelligence algorithms, and systems modeling to derive business insights and strategies.  The presentations will be appropriate for a non-technical audience and include:

  • Behavioral Correlations: Are hybrid or electric car drivers more likely to solarize their roofs? This project explores behavior and attitudinal data of some consumers in Massachusetts.
  • Analyzing Flood Risk: Flood insurance is increasingly important for residential and commercial property owners. Flood risk is still mapped using USGS 100 year flood maps. These maps have to be completely updated and revised using new satellite data that can be analyzed to provide better risk probability profiles based on International panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models. This example reports on work for a commercial insurance company.
  • Forensic Environmental Investigations Using Neural Networks: Urban sustainability includes protecting urban trees and forests. Panelists applied unsupervised neural networks to examine the impact of natural gas leaks caused by aging infrastructure that resulted in tree mortality in Boston
  • Predicting Malaria Hot Spots: Increasing temperatures in the highland regions of East Shoa in Ethiopia have led to increased incidence of malaria. Spatial statistical analysis, shown in this example, predicted the clusters or hot spots of malaria.
  • Municipal Resilience Snapshots: Designing and implementing sustainability metrics for a neighborhood or town can provide a quick snapshot of its current or future social and natural resiliency, as illustrated in this example.

Minnesota citizen scientists thrill at sightings of endangered bumble bee

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Scientific discoveries don’t always come from scientists in a lab.

Amanda Sampson Townsend made one in July when she sunk her feet into a small patch of colorful, black-eyed Susan and bee balm in southeast Minnesota.

“I looked down and right on this little bee balm plant, right next to me, was this little bee,” Sampson Townsend said.

Finding a bee seems like a small discovery, but Sampson Townsend didn’t find just any bee.

Sampson Townsend found a rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), she said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the species on the federally endangered list in March.

Michigan Capitol going green with geothermal

Read the full story in the Detroit News.

The Michigan Capitol is going “green and clean” with a new geothermal heating and cooling system that officials say will be the largest of its kind at a state government building in the country.

Winners: SEJ 16th Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment

The Society of Environmental Journalists is proud to present the winners of the 2016-2017 Awards for Reporting on the Environment. SEJ’s journalism contest is the world’s largest and most comprehensive awards for journalism on environmental topics.

Clorox Hit with Laundry List of Alleged Green Marketing Violations

Read the full story at Lexology.

A class action complaint filed in July by New York and California residents in the Northern District of California takes aim at a series of Clorox-brand products that are marketed as comprising “green” or “natural” ingredients.

Sonoma County businesses go green to get into black

Read the full story in the Press Democrat.

Local businesses are embracing the concept of sustainability amid the realization that going green — besides having a positive impact on the planet — can also bring their bottom line into the black.

Once limited to agriculture, sustainable practices have spread to sectors as unlikely as technology, food manufacturing and financial services.

Flexible batteries get safe aqueous electrolytes

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Most batteries that power wearable and implantable medical devices are rigid and don’t move with the body. Researchers are developing flexible batteries and energy-storing supercapacitors to overcome that limitation. However, current ones use electrolytes containing strong acids and bases or toxic and flammable organic solutions. If these materials leaked in or on the body, they could cause harm.

Researchers in China have now created bendable sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) with biologically friendly aqueous electrolytes (Chem 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.chempr.2017.05.004).