Approximately $7.1 Million in Funding Available for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

EPA Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities – Technical Assistance

The EPA Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program provides quick, targeted technical assistance to selected local and/or tribal governments using a variety of tools that have demonstrated results and widespread application. Technical assistance will be delivered by EPA staff and by four nonprofit organizations with expertise in sustainable communities.

Assistance from EPA

  • Application Due: October 26, 2012
  • Eligible Entities: Local, county, or tribal governments.
  • EPA will offer nine tools, including planning bikeshare programs, creating a green streets strategy, and a green building toolkit. In 2013, EPA will select up to 44 communities for assistance.

For more information, see the technical assistance webpage.

Assistance from EPA Grantees

  • Application Due: Varies by organization. Due dates range from October 25, 2012 to February 2013.
  • Eligible Entities: Varies by organization. Eligible entities encompass local, county, or tribal governments.
  • Four nonprofit organizations, Forterra, Global Green USA, Project for Public Spaces, and Smart Growth America, have received grants from EPA to offer assistance using tools they have chosen. Global Green’s assistance is based on the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standard, which provides a nationally recognized method for creating neighborhoods that are walkable, bikeable, resource-efficient, and equitable. Livability Solutions will offer technical assistance to 6 to 12 communities, enabling local governments and communities to implement changes that move them toward smart growth and sustainability. This technical assistance will take the form of one- to two-day workshops. Smartgrowth America will offer technical assistance in 12 types of one- or two-day workshops such as sustainable land use code audit and local strategies to slow climate change. Forterra’s competition is expected to open in February 2013.

For more information, see the technical assistance webpage.

FEMA 2012 Community Resilience Innovation Challenge – Up to $35,000 per selected project

  • Application Due: November 16, 2012
  • Eligible Entities: Agencies, institutions, business entities, associations, organizations, or groups (public or private sector) operating within the local jurisdiction where the project will be conducted.

The 2012 Challenge program will support a broad range of activities designed to foster community resilience. Particular focus will be placed on reaching across social sectors, while a specific goal will be increased local dialogue that includes the sharing of information about local risks and the vulnerabilities of and consequences for local residents and their well-being. Activities can range from establishing a way to train neighborhoods to prepare and take care of themselves and others in an emergency situation to co-hosting initiatives with the private sector to actively involve businesses and organizations to improve preparedness programs, from involving children and youth through educational programs and activities to sponsoring drills for local hazards.

For more information, visit the Challenge webpage.

AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Teams (SDAT) – Technical Assistance

  • Application Due: November 16, 2012
  • Eligible Entities: Committees with a cross-section of residents, local government agencies, businesses, institutions, and community groups. A letter of support from the local AIA chapter is required.

The Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program focuses on the importance of developing sustainable communities through design. The American Institute of Architects’ Center for Communities by Design is seeking potential partner communities that can demonstrate the capacity to convene a diverse set of community leaders and stakeholders for an intensive, collaborative planning process focused on long-term sustainability. The Center is particularly focused on identifying communities that have the ability to leverage local resources and build strong partnerships for implementation of an SDAT process. Awarded communities will receive pro bono services from a multidisciplinary team through the program, and the AIA commits to funding up to $15,000 for each project to cover team expenses.

For more information, visit the AIA SDAT page.

EPA Environmental Education Regional Model Grants – $2.16 million

  • Application Due: November 21, 2012
  • Eligible Entities: Any local education agency, college or university, state education or environmental agency, nonprofit organization, or a noncommercial educational broadcasting entity. Tribal education agencies that are eligible to apply include a school or community college controlled by an Indian tribe, band, or nation that is recognized as eligible for special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians and which is not administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The purpose of the Environmental Education Regional Grant Program is to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. In order to be eligible, all applications must address at least one of the EPA educational priorities listed and at least one EPA environmental priority. EPA educational priorities are community projects, human health and the environment, and career development. EPA environmental priorities include protecting air quality, preventing pollution, cleaning up our communities, and protecting America’s waters. EPA expects to award one grant per Region for an expected 10 grants nationwide.

For more information, visit the grant opportunity webpage.

EPA Brownfield Area-wide Planning Grant – $4 Million

  • Application Due: November 30, 2012
  • Eligible Entities: General purpose unit of local government; Indian Tribe other than in Alaska, Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Corporation, and Metlakatla Indian Community; land clearance authority or other quasi-governmental entity; regional council or group of general purpose units of local government; government entity created by state legislature; redevelopment agency that is chartered or otherwise sanctioned by a state; a state that is serving in a fiscal and administrative capacity on behalf of a local community; nonprofit organizations, including institutions of higher education.

This grant will fund projects to facilitate community involvement and conduct research, training, and technical assistance necessary to develop area-wide plans and implementation strategies to facilitate brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. Brownfields area-wide planning grant funding must be directed to specific areas affected by a single large or multiple brownfield sites, such as a neighborhood, downtown district, city block, or local commercial corridor. The grant funding will result in an area-wide plan, including implementation strategies, for the brownfields-affected area.

For more information, see the request for proposals.

USDA 2013 Urban and Community Forestry Grant – Approximately $900,000

  • Application Due: December 3, 2012
  • Eligible Entities: Any U.S. non-federal organization, operating within the United States or its territories.

The 2013 National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost-Share Grant Program will support urban and community forestry projects on nonfederal public land that have a national or widespread impact and application. The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council is seeking innovative grants proposals for program development, research, and collaboration to address the following two strategic priority issues: proposals that demonstrate the connection between the personal benefits of urban forests and quality of life within a community through community engagement; and proposals that design an urban forestry recruitment program and retention strategies that support existing urban forestry academic curricula. Urban and community forests demonstrate benefits including urban heat island reduction. All grant funds must be matched at least equally with non-federal source funds.

For more information, see the request for proposals.

Why the chill on climate change?

Read the opinion piece by Eugene Robinson. See also Tom Toles Goes Green, a collection of cartoons about the environment and global warming.

Not a word has been said in the presidential debates about what may be the most urgent and consequential issue in the world: climate change.

America’s Top 7 Energy-Efficient Baseball Stadiums

Read the full story from the Alliance to Save Energy.

As you follow the World Series this year, there’s something else to watch besides the score: the energy-efficient features that baseball stadiums are showing off this season.

In fact, Major League Baseball (MLB) has emerged as a vanguard of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)’s Sports Greening Project, which has sparked a sustainability movement across a slew of professional and collegiate sports leagues. The MLB was the first professional sports league to partner with NRDC on the initiative in 2005.

A Rogue Climate Experiment Outrages Scientists

Read the full post at NYT Green.

A California businessman chartered a fishing boat in July, loaded it with 100 tons of iron dust and cruised through Pacific waters off western Canada, spewing his cargo into the sea in an ecological experiment that has outraged scientists and government officials.

The entrepreneur, whose foray came to light only this week, even duped the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States into lending him ocean-monitoring buoys for the project. features hotels, tour operators, and other businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean that are either verified by the Rainforest Alliance, certified by third-party programs or recommended by reputable organizations. The goal of this site is to help savvy travelers and tour operators choose destinations that are not only beautiful, but also benefit the communities, flora, and fauna they will be visiting.

How Biofuel is Made

Read the full story in Triple Pundit.

The biofuel story can be a confusing one, since there are so many different types from so many different sources that are used in so many different ways. Let’s see if we can make some kind of sense of all this while gaining some understanding of where they come from and how they are produced.



A New Algorithm for Fast Carbon Footprinting

Read the full post from the HBR Blog Network.

Low-cost carbon footprinting is a Holy Grail for the sustainability world. But how do you measure your footprint at multiple levels — from products to business lines to the whole enterprise — quickly and cheaply? Over the last few years, PepsiCo has been working with partners at Columbia University to solve this interesting and complex business problem. The results of this partnership, what the team is calling a “Fast LCA” process, are emerging. And they’re encouraging.

To understand this initiative better, I recently spoke with two PepsiCo executives working on sustainability, Al Halvorsen and Robert ter Kuile, and the academic brain trust at Columbia led by adjunct professor Christoph Meinrenken. Here’s what I learned about three major issues.