Day: May 30, 2012

Webinar: Showcasing Sustainability in Your TRI Report

EPA is hosting a Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) training webinar on June 6, 2012 from 2-3 pm (EDT), entitled “Showcasing Sustainability in Your TRI Report.”  The webinar will focus on the pollution prevention portion of the TRI form, which offers facilities the opportunity to report and describe pollution prevention activities and other environmentally friendly practices related to listed toxic chemicals.  Providing this information enables TRI to present a more complete picture of a facility’s management of toxic chemicals and helps make TRI a more effective tool for highlighting and promoting pollution prevention successes.

To learn more about reporting pollution prevention activities to TRI and about EPA’s plans to utilize and promote this information, we invite you to register for the webinar at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/976321289

18 U.S. Teachers Receive Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has announced the winners of the 2011-2012 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. Eighteen teachers from around the country are being recognized for their exceptional work as leaders in the field of environmental education in formal school settings. Award recipients and their local education agencies will receive monetary awards and commemorative plaques to help support and encourage their use of environmental education in their classrooms and schools.

“To earn this prestigious award, each educator demonstrated teaching skills and innovative use of environmental education that connected students with the world around them in ways that will strengthen their education for years to come,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Their lessons have put creativity and innovation, community engagement and leadership into practice, teaching students about civic responsibility and environmental stewardship. We are fortunate to have such educators in our schools today.”

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers and their local education agencies across the United States for excellence in integrating environmental education into their lessons and connecting students with their communities and the natural world.

This program recognizes and supports teachers from both rural and urban education settings who make use of experiential and environmental opportunities that utilize creativity and community engagement to help students develop a sense of civic responsibility and stewardship in ecosystems. This year’s winning teachers’ programs range from field studies in watershed and wetland science in New England to the study of clean energy sources in Colorado and ocean and climate science in Texas, forest ecology and trout studies in the Pacific Northwest and water resource management projects in the desert.

“The educators who have earned this honor are demonstrating leadership and excellence in environmental education, and are harnessing the innovation and imagination of our students,” said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “These teachers are encouraging our nation’s future leaders to take responsibility for being good stewards of our environment, and preparing them to succeed in the 21st century.”

Recipients of the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators include:

  • Lizanne Cox, New Haven, Conn., Common Ground High School
  • Ed Lindsey, Old Town High School, Old Town, Maine
  • Patricia Lockhart, Hubert Humphrey PS 57R, Staten Island, N.Y.
  • Aaron Baker, Randolph High School, Randolph, N.J.
  • Rebecca Sanders, Crellin Elementary School, Oakland, Md.
  • Robert Carroll, Plaza Middle School, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Deborah Wasylik, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Frank McKay, Exploris Middle School, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Sandra Vander Veldon, Fox River Academy, Appleton, Wis.
  • Howard Hill, Highland Park High School, Highland Park, Ill.
  • Clifford Strain, Flour Bluff ISD – Middle School, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Bradd Schulke, East Mountain High School, Sandia Park, N.M.
  • Denise Scribner, Eisenhower High School, Goddard, Kan.
  • John Broda, Buffalo Ridge Elementary, Cheyenne, Wyo.
  • Sally High, Pagosa Springs Middle School, Pagosa Springs, Colo.
  • Riccardo Magni, Pioneer Valley High School, Santa Maria, Calif.
  • Mike Town, Redmond High School, Redmond, Wash.
  • Deidre Bingaman, Donnelly Elementary School, Donnelly, Idaho

More information about the winners: http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward/winners.html
More information about this program: http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward

Six growing trends in corporate sustainability

Download the document at GreenBiz. Also available from Ernst & Young.

This report summarizes results based primarily on a survey by GreenBiz Group of executives and thought leaders in the area of corporate environmental strategy and performance.

The survey covered a wide range of topics related to corporate sustainability and reporting. From these topics, Ernst & Young distilled six key trends, which are explained in this report. The survey tells us that company and stakeholder interest in corporate sustainability reporting continues to rise, although the tools are still in their infancy. CFOs are emerging as key players in sustainability, and, surprisingly, employees are too: they are second only to customers as drivers of company sustainability initiatives.

These trends suggest that sustainability efforts are now well-integrated into the corporate fabric of a growing number of large and midsized companies. But the effectiveness of such efforts may be limited by internal systems that don’t allow companies to effectively measure, track and optimize their sustainability impacts, or to understand and manage the risks of insufficient action. To do so will require new levels of engagement by the C-suite, and more sophisticated methods of sustainability reporting and assurance.

Taking energy saving out of the dark ages

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to greater efficiency is the difficulty of visualizing energy flows. The amount of power consumed by modern electrical appliances is often hard to grasp and thus conveniently easy to ignore.

Pilgrim Beart, founder of AlertMe, would like to change that. He aims to make energy consumption a more tangible thing, to try to make it easier to trim.

 

Green Button energy apps target innovation and cost savings

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The Green Button, as hoped, is unleashing a new wave of innovation for energy management.

As part of a challenge for third-party developers to take advantage of residential and commercial energy usage data, the U.S. Department of Energy doled out cash awards yesterday to the top winners for the most compelling mobile and Internet energy applications.

Announced six weeks ago, Apps for Energy received 56 entrants covering everything from price calculations for plug-in vehicles and innovative solar demand response to reducing your home energy load by simply unplugging idle electronics.

How sustainability can give your company a competitive edge

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Pressure from customers, shareholders, governments and the general public pushes firms to improve their environmental performance — but what about a firm’s competitors? What role does competition between companies play in influencing environmental practices?

Christian Hofer (University of Arkansas), David E. Cantor (Iowa State University) and Jing Dai (Iowa State University) asked the same questions. They looked at the two largest firms in 48 different manufacturing industries from 2006 to 2009 and found that competition within an industry does affect environmental performance.

Specifically, the trio found that businesses are likely to undertake new environmental practices if their rivals had improved their own environmental performance in the previous year. The reason for this is straightforward: environmental performance is a valuable source of competitive advantage and companies don’t want to fall behind…

Source: Hofer, Christian, Cantor, David E. and Jing Dai. (2012). The competitive determinants of a firm’s environmental management activities: Evidence from US manufacturing industries, Journal of Operations Management, 30: 9-84. Summarized by Patrick Shulist and the NBS Team.

Why the road to a low-carbon future still includes cars

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Editor’s Note: Carpooling.com is Europe’s largest ridesharing network. As CEO of carpooling.com, Markus Barnikel shares his views on the economic and environmental benefits of ridesharing.]

Technology news site PandoDaily recently issued a call to build a future without cars. The widely circulated blogpost said the basic technology that goes into manufacturing a car hasn’t changed since Karl Benz rolled his first Motorwagen off the line, concluding that we are worse off for continuing to be slaves to this 19th century product.

But until someone like Peter Thiel helps build and finance the first flying car or a jet-powered Segway, we should rather change how we view the car. As CEO of carpooling.com, I think one way to do this is through ridesharing.

Carpooling is as American as apple pie and the flag, except for one problem: Nobody carpools anymore. Carpooling has become to transportation what jazz is to music: invented in the U.S., but mostly appreciated everywhere else.

Striving to Relocalize Food Production

Read the full story in Governing.

To keep Americans eating healthful, fresh-off-the-farm food, states and localities are establishing regional food policies.

Cities Get Green Certifications for More Than Just Buildings

Read the full story in Governing.

Cities and counties can now earn eco-certification for everything from the roads they build to the vehicles that ride on them.

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