Day: January 21, 2015

Panel: To Cut CO2 Emissions, Make It Profitable

Read the full story in FutureStructure.

To get power plants and other large polluters to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, make it financially attractive to them.

That was the key takeaway from a conference held last week at Brown University that brought entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers together to discuss ways of turning the carbon dioxide that is being released into the atmosphere into a valuable commodity that can be captured and put to use.

New Anchorage Housing Development Will Produce More Energy than It Uses

Read the full story in FutureStructure.

An Alaska design and architectural firm is partnering with a nonprofit housing agency to design and erect a building that gives more than it takes.

The building, planned for 2 acres on Muldoon Road near its intersection with the Glenn Highway, would be home to 20 apartments for low-income families and residents with disabilities. If the architect and designers have their way, the multifamily housing unit will produce more energy than it consumes and use on-site water and sewer reclamation systems.

New Report Aims to Help Cities Transform How They Think About and Invest in Infrastructure

Read the full story in FutureStructure.

A comprehensive new report, Infrastructure Crisis, Sustainable Solutions, from the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., outlines what the future of sustainable infrastructure may look like and what city and regional leaders must do to facilitate this transformation.

These top 5 sustainability risks present big opportunities

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

With great risk comes even greater potential reward — or at least that’s the optimistic way to interpret a first-of-its-kind report (PDF) on the biggest sustainability risks facing the planet.

Extreme weather, a lack of clean water, disease, unmitigated urbanization and continued reliance on fossil fuels were identified as the top five risks by Danish nonprofit Sustainia. The group then outlined reasons to believe that the dual drivers of both opportunity for social progress and business market openings might lead to new breakthroughs with both human and financial benefits.

It’s Big Block of Cheese Day #AsktheWH

Today, the White House is hosting the second-annual virtual Big Block of Cheese Day, where members of the Obama administration will take to social media to answer your questions about the President’s State of the Union address and the issues that are most important to you.

Log on to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, and ask away using the hashtag #AskTheWH. For sustainability issues, check out the following:

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET: Climate, Energy and Conservation

  • Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz – @ErnestMoniz
  • Special Assistant to the President for Energy & Climate Change – @Utech44
  • Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell – @SecretaryJewell
  • Department of Interior – @Interior
  • Environmental Protection Agency – @EPA
  • Department of Energy – @Energy

Sequestration on shaky ground

Read the full story from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Carbon sequestration promises to address greenhouse-gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and injecting it deep below the Earth’s surface, where it would permanently solidify into rock. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that current carbon-sequestration technologies may eliminate up to 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

While such technologies may successfully remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, researchers in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT have found that once injected into the ground, less carbon dioxide is converted to rock than previously imagined.

The team studied the chemical reactions between carbon dioxide and its surroundings once the gas is injected into the Earth — finding that as carbon dioxide works its way underground, only a small fraction of the gas turns to rock. The remainder of the gas stays in a more tenuous form.

IT Energy Savings for Non-Techies: Identifying and Understanding Opportunities to Reduce Costs

January 28, 2015, 12:00-1:15 CST
Register at

This webinar will provide information and resources on driving computer and office equipment energy savings to general practitioners. Webinar presenters will review and prioritize energy savings opportunities, explain them in layman’s terms, and provide practical tips for getting IT managers and other key decision makers to support these efforts. In addition to learning about concrete next steps, webinar attendees will hear about free technical support and software made available through the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, as well as incentives from electric utilities.

Second Nature Launches New Video Series Featuring Network Leaders

Starting in January 2015, Second Nature will be rolling out a new video series titled Sustainability Sit-Downs. The series, which consists of twelve interviews, features sustainability leaders from higher education, as well as non-profit and private sector organizations that work closely with colleges and universities.

Interviewees sat down with Second Nature during the 2014 Climate Leadership Summit, hosted from October 1-3, 2014 in downtown Boston, MA. Participants shared their thoughts and experiences regarding topics such as:

  • Higher Education’s role in creating a sustainable society, and the biggest sustainability challenges it faces
  • Sustainability progress in the field
  • The arc of their own careers and involvement in the field
  • Future hopes and advice for students

Videos will be released once per week starting January 21, and will be available on Second Nature’s YouTube Channel.

Two views on the death (or not) of CSR

GreenBiz offers two views of corporate social responsibility. In CSR is dead. What comes next?, Michael Townsend asks “why isn’t all the sustainability hype translating to meaningful action?”

In CSR isn’t dead — but it may be fading, Ellen Weinreb says that corporate social responsibility gets watered down as it becomes integrated into the organization. At the same time, integration also leads to ubiquity, which opens the possibility for meaningful change.

Genre Guide: Clifi (Climate Fiction) in YA Lit

Read the full post at YALSA Teen Hub.

Climate fiction (CliFi) books (also known as eco-fiction) are ones that deal with climate change as part of the plot in which the characters struggle to survive. A lot of dystopian novels are clifi books because the breakdown of society is attributed to a catastrophic event like a nuclear war that affects the climate. I wanted to focus here on books where the climatic event was not directly caused by a man-made event like a war, but by nature, for the most part. Not all of these novels are realistic fiction or science fiction; at least one contains fantastical elements as well.

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