Where to donate your used stuff in Champaign-Urbana

There are many non-profit organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area that accept donations all year. My ISTC colleague Joy Scrogum compiled a list several months ago and I’ve added to it. If there are any I missed, let me know in the comments.

Updated August 19, 2015 to the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company’s donation policies. Continue reading Where to donate your used stuff in Champaign-Urbana

Using Competitors’ Data to Boost Your Firm’s EHS Performance

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Big data is changing how environment, health and safety managers do their jobs, from complying with environmental laws to managing risk and ensuring worker safety on the production floor.

Here’s another way big data can boost EHS performance and businesses: you can access other companies’ data to gain a competitive advantage.

In a P2 (pollution prevention) Impact blog, the EPA’s Kara Koehrn and Dave Turk write about competitors’ pollution prevention activities — publicly available through the agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program — can improve your company’s EHS performance.

Webinar: Making Climate Change Communication Stick with Framing

Monday, May 2nd at 6:30 pm CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/123672342419364097

Have you ever wondered what would be the best way to talk about climate change? Have you felt unsure if your message is clear and connects to your students or audiences? If so, then this webinar is for you! Effectively communicating complex issues involves sound science and an element of artistry. The FrameWorks Institute interviewed over 18,000 Americans and conducted multiple experiments on the topic of communicating climate chanage to identify the “frames” or messaging strategies, which are most likely to help the public understand that:

  • fossil fuels are the primary cause of climate change
  • our ocean is part of the climate change story
  • we need alternative energy solutions at the community-based level
  • these are all issues that we can and should tackle

Find out how you can use these simple, clear, and effective messages to communicate climate change in your classroom and beyond.

The U.S. oil and gas boom is having global atmospheric consequences, scientists suggest

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Scientists say they have made a startling discovery about the link between domestic oil and gas development and the world’s levels of atmospheric ethane — a carbon compound that can both damage air quality and contribute to climate change. A new study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters has revealed that the Bakken Shale formation, a region of intensely increasing recent oil production centered in North Dakota and Montana, accounts for about 2 percent of the entire world’s ethane output — and, in fact, may be partly responsible for reversing a decades-long decline in global ethane emissions.

Vote for your favorite data stories video

Science Magazine’s Data Stories competition is still accepting votes for their People’s Choice award. The competition asked people to submit short-form (90 second) videos that use data visualizations to tell stories. View all of the submissions here.

Taking the Stigma Out of Buying Used Electronics

Read the full story in the New York Times.

GameStop’s refurbishment of video game consoles underlines how a used electronic sold by a reputable brand can often be as good as buying new. While a used product may lack the original packaging or there might be some scuffs on it, the quality of many of the devices remains high and people who buy the gadgets do the world a favor by putting more use into the energy, metals, plastics and human labor invested in creating the product, said Carole Mars, the senior research lead for the Sustainability Consortium, which studies the sustainability of consumer goods.

Baths to washing machines: welcome to the (almost) waterless home of the future

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Domestic products that eliminate the need for water could mean you’ll never have to get wet in the bath or boil an egg again.

Scientists now know the psychology behind your worries about the environment

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

More and more, attempts to explain why people behave the way they do in politics have turned away from the actual substance of issues and toward the traits of individuals themselves. Thus, this election season, there has been considerable focus on why Donald Trump appeals to voters, with psychologists noting that traits like “authoritarianism” — a preference for clear, unambiguous and decisive answers — help to explain the phenomenon.

So what about other political identities — like, say, being a major tree-hugger? Clearly, such people aren’t authoritarians, but then, what are they?

Past research has highlighted that those who care about the environment tend to be “Open to Experience” — wanting to try out new things and new experiences — and also to have high levels of empathy, or sensitivity to the suffering of others (including not just humans, but plants and animals). New research, though, suggests there’s a more intellectual side to being green as well. In particular, it finds that those with a tendency to engage in what is called “systems thinking” — embracing complex, multifaceted causal explanations for phenomena and recognizing the unpredictability of how nature works — also tend to value the environment more and to be more concerned about climate change.