Plastics Pollution in the Great Lakes and the Marine Debris Problem

I’ve been experimenting with Storify this afternoon. It’s not letting me direct publish to WordPress using the export feature, so if you want to see the story I just published, it’s available at

And I apologize profusely if I spammed your inbox with multiple posts with this title.

Illinois Biochar Group Fall Meeting

November 16, 2012 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, One E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign, IL

The Illinois Biochar Group will hold its fall meeting on Nov. 16 from 11 am – 4 pm at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center on the campus of the University of Illinois.  This meeting is an opportunity to learn about the latest biochar research in the Midwest, exchange information and ideas, and discuss ways to collaborate on future projects.  The meeting is free and open to the public.  Everyone with an interest in biochar is welcome to attend.  Please register at so we know the number of attendees. You may also order a box lunch for the meeting for $6 (choices listed on the registration form).  Deadline to register is noon on Nov. 14 if you are placing a lunch order. You will find a map and directions to ISTC and parking information on the website also.  Please contact Nancy Holm, IBG Coordinator, at or 217-244-3330 with any questions about the meeting.


10:30 am    Tour of Labs (optional)

11 am   Welcome and Introductions by attendees

11:15 am   Kevin Gibson – Purdue University
“Effect of Biochar on Competition between Native and Invasive Prairie Plants”

Noon – 1:00 pm   Lunch – Box lunches or on own – and Open Discussion

1:00 pm   Duane Friend – University of Illinois Extension
“Biochar Application on Low Organic Matter Soils in Illinois”

1:15 pm   Kurt Spokas – USDA – St. Paul; University of Minnesota
“Biochar Research Update”

1:30 pm   Audrey Sweet – Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
“Incorporation of Biochar into Riparian Buffers”

1:45 pm   Krishna Reddy – University of Illinois – Chicago
“Use of Biochar as Landfill Cover Material to Enhance Methane Oxidation”

2:00 pm   Tom Holm – UI Illinois State Water Survey
“Biochar and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)”

2:15 pm   Junhua Jiang – UI Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
“Preliminary Evaluation of Biochar Supercapacitors using Non-Aqueous Electrolytes”

2:30 pm   Rick Larson – UI Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
“Phenolic Antioxidants from Lignin Pyrolysis”

2:45 pm   Paul Wever – Chip Energy, Inc.
“Biochar Feedstock Supplies”

3:00 pm   Paul Anderson – Chip Energy, Inc.
“Experiences at the First Biochar Summer School (Sept. 2012, Germany), and Other International Topics”

3:15 – 4 pm   Coffee Break and Open Discussion

4:00 pm   Tour of Labs (optional)

Two on bikeable cities

Both are from Shareable.

  • Bikes Boost Economic Opportunities in Your Town
    Studies show many young people prefer bikes and transit over cars. That makes bikeable cities attractive to high-tech and creative sector companies.
  • The Top 5 Recent Developments in Bikesharing
    Bikesharing is gaining in popularity everywhere. With new systems being launched every month and existing ones expanding, there is much to report from bikesharing endeavors across the globe. Here are five recent developments that are pushing the movement forward.

Sustainable Manufacturing Curriculum: Greening the Future by Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce

U.S. EPA Region 4 has developed a curriculum intended for educators at high schools, career and vocational institutes, community colleges and trade schools. It is comprised of three modules: Environmental Sustainability, Lean Manufacturing and Pollution Prevention, and Energy and Carbon. Each module includes a slide presentation and a facilitator’s guide complete with handouts, activities, quizzes, and facilitator’s notes. The facilitator’s guide also uses visually engaging icons to assist educators in appropriately conveying the material to the students.

The curriculum modules are available at Thanks to Marcus Rivas, U.S. EPA P2 Coordinator in Region 7, for the heads-up about this resource.

ECU cooking oil fuels school buses

Read the full story in the East Carolinian.

Campus Dining Services has begun recycling cooking oil to donate to local Pitt County schools to use as biodiesel in buses. This recycling is being done through a program called Biodiesel 4 Schools, which began in the spring of 2010 in association with Green Circle, an environmental fundraising group.

University Team Uses Campus as Test Bed to Seek Ecological Synergies

Read the full story from Ohio State University.

Ohio State is investing in a scientific study to improve the efficiency and sustainability of campus operations by working in harmony with the surrounding ecosystems.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers will work with the university’s Energy Services and Sustainability office to estimate the “environmental footprint,” including the energy use, water use, carbon emissions and other environmental impacts for a selected area of the campus. Next, they will investigate how to reduce that footprint, as well as annual operating costs, by conserving energy and harnessing services from nature such as water provision and waste filtration. This project will help the university work toward its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The research represents a “campus as a test bed” project in which the university serves as a resource for testing and improving new industrial technologies; helping faculty teams to develop research funding; and engaging students in cutting-edge sustainability science.