Month: August 2014

Small businesses face too many barriers to increasing energy efficiency

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Energy companies and the government need to roll out smart meters and provide support to struggling SMEs

Science and sustainability goals: what researchers want businesses to know

Read the full story in The Guardian.

If companies are to help reach key climate targets and keep the world a viable place to do business, executives need to take a broader view – and pay attention to the latest science.

Oddly Sustainable: can vanity coffee give farmers a boost?

Read the full story in the Guardian.

In this week’s blog about the strange side of sustainability, we delve into the macabre, exploring death rates from bikes and for birds – and a startup aiming to be the Etsy of coffee.

NEEFA Algal Bloom Photo Contest

Algal blooms like this one can occur in water bodies as small as a neighborhood pond and as big as the Gulf of Mexico. When algae grow out of control in our waters, the result can be unappealing, harmful to our health and harmful to the environment.

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) want YOU to help spot and document algal blooms in our waters. Submit your photos of algal blooms where you live, vacation and recreate for a chance to win great prizes. Your submissions will help build a photo library that can be used to educate more people about algal blooms and illustrate the prevalence and impacts of algal blooms around the country.

Prizes

 

  • First Place: Nikon D5300 SLR Camera and winning algal bloom photo featured on the NALMS Lakeline Magazine Cover
  • Second Place: Nikon Coolpix AW120 Camera
  • Third Place: $100 REI Gift Card

Visit the contest web site for more information and to enter. The deadline is September 30, 2014.

 

Great Lakes month in review: What’s next in algae fight?

Listen at Great Lakes Echo.

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review we’re focusing on the Toledo water crisis, which was in the news for several weeks this month, and could be again.

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer (Video)

Aluminum giant, Novelis, has partnered with Red Hare Brewing Company to introduce the first certified high-content recycled beverage can. (Associated Press, Aug. 22)

Farmers Generate Energy from Coffee Wastewater

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

It is possible to generate energy, tackle climate change and protect water resources by treating discharges from coffee mills, according to project findings by UTZ Certified.

The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project was launched by UTZ Certified in 2010 in Central America with the goal of addressing environmental and health problems caused by the wastewater produced in the coffee industry.

Big Food to divulge chemical info

Read the full story at Politico.

Food companies are trying to beat the federal government’s push to make chemicals in food more transparent.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents America’s biggest food companies, announced a major new initiative Wednesday that will give the Food and Drug Administration access to a large database of safety information for chemicals commonly used in processed foods, from Twinkies to almond milk.

Sustainability studies: Something for everyone

Read the full post from the University of Minnesota Institute on Environment. Although the post focuses on the sustainability minor at UM, there are some good, general takeaways here.

Sustainability. It has become such a common word, we take it for granted that everyone knows what it is and how to practice it. But what is it, really?

Sustainability is the concept that humans use natural resources to meet current physical, social and economic needs while maintaining adequate resources for future generations.

In our homes, schools, communities and businesses we incorporate sustainability into our day-to-day lives. Some things are so ingrained we hardly think about them anymore: flipping off the lights when we leave the room; tossing bottles into the recycling bin; taking shorter showers. University of Minnesota Twin Cities undergrads from any major who want to do even more can make sustainability part of their academic program — and eventually, their career — through the sustainability studies minor.

Focusing ag expansion can save billions of tons of carbon

Read the full post from the University of Minnesota Institute on Environment.

Meeting the growing demand for food and other agricultural products is one of the most daunting challenges we face today. At the same time, clearing forests and grasslands for farming releases carbon into the atmosphere, fueling climate change, a similarly alarming and expensive problem.

A study published today by University of Minnesota researchers in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that limiting agricultural expansion to several key global regions could meet the predicted need to double food production by 2050 while preserving nearly 6 billion metric tons more carbon than would be safeguarded with unguided expansion. Preserving this much carbon is worth approximately $1 trillion in terms of climate change mitigation.“To meet the large projected increases in food demand, it is likely that a significant amount of natural land will be converted to agricultural production,” said lead author Justin Andrew Johnson, an economist with the Natural Capital Project at the University’s Institute on the Environment. “Converting natural lands, such as forests and grasslands, incurs large costs through losses of carbon storage and other ecosystem services.”

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