Day: November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll be taking a brief break on Thursday and Friday in order to celebrate with friends and family. I’ll resume posting on Monday, December 2.

The Center for Green Schools at USGBC Launches Global Coalition for Green Schools

Read the full story from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Today, at the Greenbuild Conference & Expo International Summit, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), in conjunction with the World Green Building Council (WGBC) announced the 29 founding members of the Global Coalition for Green Schools. The Global Coalition for Green Schools works collectively to shape schools and communities to fundamentally change the way students learn about the world around them.

Each of the 29 founding members have committed to establishing and leading a national coalition for green schools within each of their respective countries. The goal of these coalitions is to promote a shared vision of green schools for all within this generation. Members of the coalition will share best practices, resources and case studies, provide tools and infrastructure to this growing network, and introduce programs, initiatives and campaigns that can be replicated around the world.

How to make energy efficiency an easy sell

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective, easy and rapid ways to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Efficiency gains can be measured through software tools, sensor networks and predictive analytics.

Yet when you talk to people in the efficiency industry, they invariably complain that people don’t pay attention to efficiency measures and tools.

Impact Award: Beyond a Personal Commitment

Via the University of California Santa Cruz.

Reducing waste for the Chancellor’s Sustainability Challenge requires building awareness and educating yourself and others. The Chancellor is sponsoring an Impact Award, which includes a cash prize of up to $300 and recognition by the Chancellor for implementing a project or experience that raise awareness about the need to reduce waste at UCSC. More information, ideas, and award details are available here.


NOAA internet tool provides unique access to environmental data

NOAA today unveiled the beta version of “NOAA View,” an online educational tool that gives educators and the public interactive access to NOAA environmental data, enabling unique views of the world’s oceans, land, atmosphere, cryosphere and climate.

The NOAA View imagery portal provides a single point for experiencing NOAA data, including environmental information captured by satellites, inserted into scientific models and other data analyses. Users can browse, animate and download high-resolution imagery from the NOAA Visualization Lab, making it an ideal tool for putting NOAA data into the hands of students in classrooms around the world.

NOAA View, which was developed by NOAA’s Center for Satellite Applications and Research and the NOAA Visualization Lab, brings together more than 60 different sets of data, some even as far back as 1880, with new data sets being added regularly. Content is updated on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis as data observations and collections permit.

Examples of data contents include: wind speed, coral bleaching, ice cover, vegetation, precipitation, and views of the Earth at night. NOAA View lets users manipulate the display to change views of the world, data inputs and periods of time to observe the Earth.

NOAA View is compatible with all major internet browsers, as well as Apple and Android mobile devices. To use NOAA View, visit:

NOAA welcomes questions and suggestions on this beta version of the NOAA View portal. For more information, please contact Dan Pisut at:

Visit NOAA View:

Critical Aspects of EPA’s IRIS Assessment of Inorganic Arsenic: Interim Report

Download the document.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program develops toxicologic assessments of environmental contaminants. IRIS assessments provide hazard identification and dose-response assessment information. The information is then used in conjunction with exposure information to characterize risks to public health and may be used in risk-based decisionmaking, in regulatory actions, and for other risk-management purposes. Since the middle 1990s, EPA has been in the process of updating the IRIS assessment of inorganic arsenic. In response to a congressional mandate for an independent review of the IRIS assessment of inorganic arsenic, EPA requested that the National Research Council convene a committee to conduct a two-phase study. Critical Aspects of EPA’s IRIS Assessment of Inorganic Arsenic is the report of the first phase of that study. This report evaluates critical scientific issues in assessing cancer and noncancer effects of oral exposure to inorganic arsenic and offers recommendations on how the issues could be addressed in EPA’s IRIS assessment.

All 250,000 NYC Street Lights Will Be Replaced with Energy-Efficient LEDs by 2017

Read the news release from the City of New York.

Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced all 250,000 standard street light fixtures in New York City will be replaced with energy-efficient, light-emitting diodes (LED) by 2017, reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs. The Administration’s comprehensive, long-term sustainability program – PlaNYC – aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from City government operations 30 percent by 2017 and the LED replacements will help towards achieving that goal.

The mix of fuels used for electricity generation in the United States is changing

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

The mix of fuels used to generate the electricity in homes, factories, and businesses across the United States has changed in the past few years as coal, still the largest single fuel used for electricity, has lost some of its share of the generation market to natural gas and non-hydroelectric renewables.

Product Stewardship Speakers Series: Adam Minter

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency hosted Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet, as part of their Product Stewardship Speakers Series. He offered his insights into the global nature of recycling.

View the recording at

Only half the drugs in sewage are removed before entering Great Lakes

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Editors note: This story first appeared in Environmental Health News. It is written by former Echo reporter Brian Bienkowski

Only about half of the prescription drugs and other newly emerging contaminants in sewage are removed by treatment plants.

That’s the finding of a new report by the International Joint Commission, a consortium of officials from the United States and Canada who study the Great Lakes.

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