Day: June 25, 2013

8 Clever Ideas for Making Government Work Better With Data

Read the full story in Atlantic Cities. None of the ideas are overtly related to sustainability, but there’s probably some crossover on some of these.

How can we make the places we live more awesome through data?

That’s the question the Knight Foundation posed to coders around the world back in March, when they launched the Knight News Challenge: Open Gov. The foundation sought projects that would open up government data to citizens on the local, state or national level. At least 886 groups submitted ideas for a sliver of the $5 million prize money.

As we wrote at the time:

Amid all of the submissions are some familiar innovations we’ve already encountered at Atlantic Cities, formerly as nascent ideas now competing for a chance to scale up: our favorite guerrilla wayfinding campaign from Raleigh, North Carolina; Code for America’s playful StreetMix web app; the San Francisco-based Urban Prototyping Festival; and a community-driven transportation planning project based on the kind of data analytics we wrote about here.

Below, a look at the eight winning projects, which will receive over $3.2 million in funding among them.

Sustainability Programs Are Even More Effective through Partnerships

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

While there is a lot of talk about manufacturer responsibility in product stewardship, retailers—as the middlemen between manufacturers and consumers—are emerging as a powerful force in environmental stewardship and sustainability. This new level of influence is being intentionally cultivated through strategic partnerships between retailers and manufacturers. Lowe’s and DeWalt, for example, have partnered together to sponsor tool trade-in events that provide both an opportunity and an incentive to recycle outdated power tools.

No organization understands this better than RILA (Retail Industry Leaders Association), the retail industry’s trade association that represents some of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies.  Importantly, RILA helps its members to become sustainability leaders.

10 Qualities That You Need To Create A Sustainable Brand

Read the full story from FastCoExist.

How can you make your company a good corporate citizen. These tips, gleaned from this year’s Sustainable Brands conference, are a good place to start.

Personal Grooming Products May Be Harming Great Lakes Marine Life

Read the full story in Scientific American.

Three of the five Great Lakes—Huron, Superior and Erie—are awash in plastic. But it’s not the work of a Christo-like landscape artist covering the waterfront. Rather, small plastic beads, known as micro plastic, are the offenders, according to survey results to be published this summer in Marine Pollution Bulletin. “The highest counts were in the micro plastic category, less than a millimeter in diameter,” explained chemist Sherri “Sam” Mason of the State University of New York at Fredonia, who led the Great Lakes plastic pollution survey last July. “Under the scanning electron microscope, many of the particles we found were perfectly spherical plastic balls.”

Removing carbon from emissions

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Many researchers around the world are seeking ways to “scrub” carbon dioxide from the emissions of fossil-fuel power plants as a way of curbing the gas that is considered most responsible for global climate change. But most such systems rely on complex plumbing to divert the steam used to drive the turbines that generate power in these plants, and such systems are not practical as retrofits to existing plants.

Now, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a scrubbing system that requires no steam connection, can operate at lower temperatures and would essentially be a “plug-and-play” solution that could be added relatively easily to any existing power plant.

The new electrochemical system is described in a paper published online in Energy and Environmental Science, and written by doctoral student Michael Stern, chemical engineering prof. T. Alan Hatton and two others.

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