Day: August 18, 2014

Broken Pots Turned Into Brilliant DIY Fairy Gardens

Read the full post and view the images at Bored Panda.

A new trend in gardening has gardeners creating all sorts of creative garden arrangements and fairy gardens out of broken pots, proving that even a broken pot can be useful and beautiful.

Using Closed-Loop Systems to Cut Waste

Watch the video at Environmental Leader.

Shirley Duncalf, head of sustainability for UK food service wholesale distributor Bidvest 3663, talks about the company’s waste management projects and its focus on closed-loop solutions.

Report: PCBs Showing Up in Common Products

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Ritz cheese and cracker snack packaging, paint color and yellow spray paint have the highest levels of the banned substance polychlorinated biphenyl among products tested, according to a report released Thursday by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

PCBs were also detected in newspapers, magazines and in packaging of several food items including lime Jello, macaroni and cheese, Fruit by the Foot and taco shells.

How To Re-Imagine The Climate: Designers And Coders Hack Weather Data

Read the full story at Fast Company.

A competition to come up with creative ways to understand weather and climate data shows you the weather in ways you’ve never seen.

Why Energy Efficiency is About to Come Roaring Back

Read the full story in Triple Pundit.

We write a lot of stories these days about the remarkable growth of solar and wind power and how they are truly transforming the energy landscape. Another important component of this sea change is energy efficiency (EE), though we haven’t been writing as much about that, perhaps because it’s not as sexy and exciting as shiny new solar panels or towering wind turbines. But there is another reason: Investment in energy efficiency projects has been in a long-term decline, going back to a peak of about $2 billion annually in 1992, which has drifted down to about $1.2 billion in recent years…

Chris Hummel, chief marketing officer of Schneider Electric, thinks that all of that is about to change. After ticking off some $7 billion in new financing going into efficiency from state banks in Europe and the U.S., he told the Guardian the reasons why energy efficiency is about to come roaring back.

Is Sharing Really Green?

Read the full story at Ensia.

Many have sung the sharing economy’s environmental praises, but the evidence may not be there to back up their claims.

Self-cleaning cashmere saves cash and environment

Watch the video at Planet Ark.

A team from a Hong Kong university have created a cashmere fibre which can be cleaned using just sunlight, that could drastically reduce the amount of chemicals and water used to clean clothes. Elly Park reports.

 

Feeding everyone with a minimum of carbon emissions

Read the full post at Ars Technica.

Agriculture has an enormous footprint—by some estimates, it accounts for more than 90 percent of humanity’s water use. One of the other areas where its footprint is felt is in carbon emissions. Converting land to agriculture disrupts the existing soil ecosystem, releasing carbon stored there into the atmosphere; a large fraction of humanity’s collective carbon emissions fall under the category of “land use change.”

In the developed world, the intensification of agriculture has actually allowed some formerly farmed areas to revert to something akin to their original state. But it’s unclear whether there are limits to that intensification that will eventually force us to bring more agricultural land into use. Even if we don’t run into limits, population growth means that it will have to scale quickly, as global food demand is expected to increase by at least 70 percent by the middle of the century.

A new paper in this week’s PNAS examines whether there are ways to add significant new agricultural land without causing a huge boost in carbon emissions. It finds that it’s possible to greatly expand farmed land while avoiding billions of metric tons of carbon emissions, but doing so would require a level of international cooperation that would be unprecedented.

Former Echo reporter scores another national award, gives success formula

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

A former Echo writer has won national recognition for a series of environmental stories about the Great Lakes.

Brian Bienkowski, now a reporter and editor at Environmental Health News, received second place in a beat reporting category in the contest sponsored by the national Society of Environmental Journalists.

The series is called Stories of the Great Lakes’ People, Places and Creatures.

Bienkowski, a 2012 graduate of the Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, also received the same award in the same contest last year.

While at MSU, he received the center’s Rachel Carson Award for outstanding environmental journalism graduate student. I figured it would be a good idea to probe for his formula for success:

Incorporating Physical, Social, and Institutional Changes in Water Resources Planning and Management: Lessons from a Review of Case Studies

Download the document.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is increasingly moving toward a watershed or systems-based approach to water resources management infrastructure. A key component of this holistic approach is understanding the current context of the watershed and the many changes that have shaped the existing system. This report summarizes and compares 31 case studies where causative physical, social, and institutional (PSI) changes were connected to consequential PSI changes associated with water resources planning and management. Consequential changes can also occur in runoff, water quality, and riparian and aquatic ecological features. The 31 studied cases were systematically evaluated relative to: causative and consequential PSI changes (environmental effects); use of analytical frameworks and appropriate models, methods, and technologies; and the attention given to mitigation and/or management of the resultant changes. Some general observations and lessons learned were that study features were unique for each case; consequential environmental effects appeared to be logical, based on the causative changes; analytical frameworks provided a relevant structure for studies; and identified methods and technologies were pertinent for addressing both causative and consequential changes. One key lesson derived from the case study reviews was that they provide useful, “real-world” illustrations of the importance of addressing PSI changes in water resources planning and management.

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