Four ways to save our food system if bees disappear

Read the full story from the New Food Economy.

If a region’s farms were to lose the free labor they rely on, what could we do to keep crops growing—and how much would new methods change the way we eat?

Content from the Obama White House web site

As happens with every presidential transition, the White House pages for the prior administration were removed immediately following the inauguration ceremony and replaced with those reflecting the new president. The Obama White House pages can now be found at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/.

President’s Environmental Youth Award now accepting applications

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes K-12 students and their efforts to protect the environment. The award promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement.

Winning projects have included restoring natural habitats, starting recycling programs at school and in communities, and installing renewable energy projects. Applications are due March 1, 2017.

EPA Taking Action to Remove 72 Inert Ingredients Previously Approved for Use in Pesticide Products

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to remove 72 ingredients from its list of inert ingredients approved for use in pesticide products.

Manufacturers wishing to use these ingredients in the future will have to provide EPA with studies or information to demonstrate their safety. EPA will then consider whether to allow their use.

EPA is taking this action in response to petitions by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and others. These groups asked the agency to issue a rule requiring disclosure of 371 inert ingredients found in pesticide products. Instead, EPA will evaluate potential risks of inert ingredients and reduce risks, as appropriate.

Many of the 72 inert ingredients removed with this action are on the list of 371 identified by the petitioners as hazardous. EPA is taking this action after considering public comments on its October 2014 proposal. EPA’s list of approved inert ingredients will be updated after the Federal Register publication.

Most pesticide products contain a mixture of different ingredients. Ingredients that are directly responsible for controlling pests such as insects or weeds are called active ingredients. An inert ingredient is any other substance that is intentionally included in a pesticide that is not an active ingredient.

  • For the list of 72 chemical substances, see the Federal Register Notice in docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558.
  • For EPA’s current approach on inert ingredients and the May 22, 2014, response to the petitioners, see the federal website.
  • General information on inert ingredients

Launch of Climate Deregulation Tracker

Read the full post at the Climate Law Blog.

President Donald Trump has stated that he intends to undo most or all of the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change. Today, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law is launching a new tool to identify and explain the efforts taken by the incoming administration to scale back or wholly eliminate federal climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The Climate Deregulation Tracker will also monitor congressional efforts to repeal statutory provisions, regulations, and guidance pertaining to climate change, and to otherwise undermine climate action.

Rockefeller Foundation, USDA, EPA to Create Center for Action Against Food Waste

Read the full story at Sustainable Brands.

A partnership of 12 organization is set to launch an online hub for information and solutions to reduce food waste, “Further With Food: Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions,” at FurtherWithFood.org. The site is intended to help realize the national goal to halve food waste by 2030, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September 2015.

Renewable Plastic Can Be Created From Pine Needle Waste

Read the full story at Seeker.

That pine fresh scent in the air actually smells like the future of plastics.

A team of chemists in England has figured out a way to produce a renewable plastic from pine needle waste, potentially replacing a type that’s currently made from crude oil. In order to do it, they turned to the chemical called pinene that gives pine trees their delicious smell.

Pinene is a naturally derived organic compound known as a terpene, and the paper industry generates a bunch of it as a waste product. Chemists at the University of Bath converted the chemical into a polymer using a four-step process. The team was led by Matthew Davidson, director of the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, and they published their results in the journal Polymer Chemistry.