Day: July 17, 2015

Study: To improve recycling, don’t crush containers

Read the full story in Plastics News.

Recycling would be well served if Americans reconsidered a long-held approach to how they handle their plastics and other recyclables.

Crushing recyclables, including plastic bottles and containers, is an easy way to make more room in the recycling container. But that simple and time-tested practice actually can lead to a more difficult time for today’s material recycling facilities, says the new MRF Material Flow Study report commissioned by a handful of trade groups.

Why we need an ‘Interdependence’ Day

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Fresh off of Independence Day here in the U.S., I would like to suggest that we add another special day to our calendars: “Interdependence Day.”

Such an occasion might remind us that we do not exist alone on this planet. In fact, while the rest of the natural world could get along pretty well without humans, the converse is not true.

We need the other organisms of this world in order to survive, let alone prosper. A celebration of our shared fate might help focus our attention on more ways to husband our natural world, rather than exploit it.

Resilience as economic driver? How climate action can curb inequality

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

It’s sometimes hard to understand how fighting the negative effects of climate change relates to the economic success of America, including its most vulnerable citizens. We talk a lot about this at Urban Solutions, and it was articulated extremely well during a recent presentation by President Barack Obama’s top budget expert.

At his recent talk in Washington on “Building Climate Resilience for Equitable Communities,” Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan said he sees action on climate change as not just the defining environmental challenge of our time, but as a way to grow the economy and allow for everyone to share in the growth, “including, and especially, those who have historically been left behind.”

How Unilever is creating a web of partnerships

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Unilever: a beacon of the business community that the world has come to look up to as a true pioneer of long-term sustainability strategies.

Its Sustainable Living Plan aims to guide the company in decoupling its ambitious growth plans with environmental impacts. And progress has been positive, with Unilever making strong moves to increase sustainable sourcing and reduce its waste to zero across multiple global sites, among many other things.

But what about the impact outside of its direct control, along the supply chain? It works with some 76,000 suppliers and more than 1.5 million farmers who in turn support communities of 7 million people. And with more than 400 brands, 13 of which generate sales of over 1 billion euros a year, it has a huge reach and purchasing power to influence the performance of this huge value chain.

I caught up with the company’s chief supply chain officer, Pier Luigi Sigismondi to find out how he manages this huge task (albeit supported by 110,000 people in 190 countries working in the supply chain teams at Unilever, nearly two-thirds of the total Unilever employee base).

Building the Knowledge Base for Climate Resiliency: New York Panel on Climate Change 2015 Report

With the bulk of scientific articles and reports placed behind a paywall, it’s always a welcome gift when good research is made available for free. This report on the New York Panel on Climate Change 2015 is loaded with excellent information – and it’s free and available to anyone with an Internet connection. As the introduction to the report notes, “The climate of the New York City metropolitan region is changing – annual  temperatures are hotter, heavy downpours are increasingly frequent, and the sea is rising.” The rest of the report includes a knowledgeable forward by Mayor Bill de Blasio, an executive summary on the findings of the panel, an article outlining the panel’s climate observations and projections, and chapters on sea level rise, coastal storms, coastal flooding, public health impacts, and conclusions and recommendations. For inspired readers, there are also appendices to the report that feature infographics and technical details. [CNH]

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2015.

USGS Multimedia Gallery

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) seeks to “serve the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth.” While the agency provides numerous resources of interest to Scout readers, the USGS Multimedia Gallery may be particularly handy for educators looking to use audio and visual aids to galvanize lesson plans and classroom activities. The site is organized into three categories: Photography & Images, Videos & Animations, and Audio and Podcasts. Each category features hundreds of multimedia resources. For instance, selecting “View All… Collections” under Photography & Images navigates to a page where readers may choose among subcategories such as Geography, Native American and Tribal Activities, Satellite Images, and many others. Additionally, the Public Lecture Series, a collection within Videos and Animations, features a number of webinars on such topics as the Resilience Potential of Coral Reefs in the Mariana Islands and Climate Change Effects on Fisheries in the Great Lakes. [CNH]

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2015.

Study: NE states benefit from carbon cap

Read the full story in the Burlington Free Press.

Amid complaints that planned federal rules to cut carbon emissions will hurt the economy, a new study says the northeastern states that already have moved in that direction are seeing economic benefits.

A Biodegradable Computer Chip That Performs Surprisingly Well

Read the full story in MIT Technology Review.

Biodegradable, wood-based computer chips can perform just as well as chips commonly used for wireless communication, according to new research.

Climate signals boreal bird movement

Read the full post at Great Lakes Echo.

Citizen science research is helping tell the story of one small songbird and its offbeat migration behavior.

From Energy Star to Tenant Star: The next frontier in building efficiency

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

On April 23, Congress passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, a small but important bipartisan bill focused on improving efficiency in U.S. buildings.

For many in the real estate industry, the most notable portion of the bill directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to create a tenant-focused version of EPA’s very successful Energy Star for buildings program.

The new initiative, which the bill gives EPA the option of calling Tenant Star, is being hailed by a wide range of industry stakeholders as the next great tool for driving energy savings in commercial buildings.

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