Read the full story at Fast Company.
Climate change is having an uneven effect across the world, causing extreme weather in some regions but not in others, and harming more poor people than rich people. The impact is even uneven in the United States. Some states are warming faster than others.
Take a look at this interactive graphic from Climate Central. It shows that Delaware and Wisconsin have warmed fastest since 1970, at a rate of 0.67 degrees Fahrenheit per decade (or about 3 degrees in total). Washington and Georgia have warmed slowest, about half as quickly.
Read the full story in Fast Company.
Walls might be the next frontier for urban farming. Though rooftop gardens are fairly common, exterior walls aren’t typically used for growing crops. A “green wall” usually means a covering of plants that won’t be harvested.
But while a wall isn’t necessarily a good place for vegetables, with algae, it’s another story. One new algae-filled wall comes from Italian architect Cesare Griffa, who designed a system that can quickly grow and harvest micro-algae to help fight climate change and create new products.
Read the full story at GreenBiz.
While many people associate cooperatives with a place for hippies to buy organic food, the cooperative movement actually has grown far and wide, creating sustainable enterprises that generate jobs and strengthen local economies. Today, nearly 30,000 cooperatives are in the United States, with more than 100 million members. From day care centers to hardware stores, cooperatives seem to be permeating every sector of society. So it’s no surprise that cooperatives are making their way into the renewable energy field as well.
A cooperative is a group of people acting together to meet the common needs and aspirations of its members, sharing ownership and making decisions democratically. Co-ops can be owned by workers, residents, consumers, farmers, the community or any combination of the above. What they have in common is that they are not about making big profits for shareholders, but rather circulating the benefits back to their member-owners, and these benefits ripple out to the broader community.
Solar cooperatives are helping independently owned solar integrators share best practices, allowing homeowners to install PV systems more economically and giving renters or people living in apartments a simple way to join the solar revolution.
Read the full story at GreenBiz.
Talking trash on the docks is nothing new. But talk of how to turn “trash fish” — netted fish that is in less demand — into treasured bounty is a different story. And the idea offers hope for creating new markets that can benefit both fishers and fish.
The fact is, a lot of fish goes to waste in the world. According to a recent Oceana report, U.S. fisheries discard an astounding 2 billion pounds per year. Most of that is due to bycatch — unintentionally caught species, including endangered mammals, sea turtles, sharks and seabirds, which are then tossed back into the water. But a lot of bycatch is perfectly edible fish, discarded simply because the fish don’t garner enough value to merit space on the boat. And therein lies the opportunity: creating demand for those fish offers a way to reduce food waste and help fishers.
Read the full story in Federal Times.
Agencies would be prohibited from throwing out electronic waste in landfills, according to a proposed rule released by the General Services Administration April 22.
Computers, phones and monitors that would be thrown out would instead be sold or offered to other agencies or donated to schools, state and local governments or non-profits, according to GSA.
Read the full story from PennTAP.
Two manufacturers working with the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) at Penn State have received certification from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for significantly reducing their energy use.
Read the full story at SmartPlanet.
Among the mix of renewable energy sources, collecting energy from the movement of the ocean seems like it should be a sure thing. It has the benefit of being abundant, constant, and predictable, all good qualities when you’re looking for a new energy source. The U.K. alone believes wave and tidal power (there’s a difference) could meet 75 percent of its current electricity needs.
So why isn’t marine energy powering our planet yet?
SmartPlanet reports on USDA’s 2013 Report on Technology Transfer. Innovations include:
- Flour from chardonnay grape seeds, a waste product of the winemaking process, might lower cholesterol and prevent weight gain. (Works in hamsters!) Not to mention, the process could help reduce the cost of wine.
- An enzyme identified in sand flies can be used to develop insecticides that protect troops in Iraq from the disease-spreading pests.
- Fertilizer from tires could provide nutrients for zinc-deficient soils. Tires contain 1.5 percent zinc because of the vulcanization process. Grinding up used rubber can help reduce cadmium, a toxic metal that is naturally taken up by grains and cereals.
- Window cleaners that use a biodegradable solution of nanoparticles can prevent water-beading. This could be especially useful for solar panels and car side windows that have no wipers.
- Lawn clippings, tree prunings, and leaves could be harvested by cities into bioenergy. These are untapped resources make up about 164 million metric tons of dry biomass that’s collected or recycled from urban areas in the U.S. annually.
- A computer-based model of the fluid milk process could help farms lower their greenhouse gas emissions. On-farm production generates 70 percent of the emissions due to methane from cows and manure; off-farm activities, which include packaging and refrigeration, make up 30 percent. The dairy industry’s goal is to reduce emissions by 25 percent per gallon of milk by 2020.
Read the full post at MIT Sloan Management Review’s Big Ideas Blog.
Responses to the recent MIT Sloan Management Review and BCG annual sustainability survey suggest that the risks of climate change are not a top concern in the business world. But new attention from business leaders could be building momentum for change.
Read the full post at MIT Sloan Management Review’s Big Ideas blog.
Toyota’s environmental performance is driven more by internal commitments than government regulations. And by practicing its monozukuri mantra, Toyota hopes to resume its leadership in creating a more dynamic — and more sustainable — automotive sector.