NASA Study Quantifies Plants’ Role in Mitigating Urban Heat Island Effect

Via e360 Digest.

The presence or scarcity of vegetation is an essential factor in determining how much urban areas heat up, according to a NASA study. Using data from multiple satellites, the researchers found that areas covered in part by impervious surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, and steel had an average summer temperature 3.4 degrees F higher than nearby rural areas.

The highest U.S. urban temperatures compared to surrounding areas were along the Interstate-95 corridor from Boston to Washington and around Atlanta and the I-85 corridor in the Southeast. In desert cities such as Phoenix, the urban area was actually cooler because irrigated lawns and trees provide cooling that dry, rocky areas do not, the researchers explain.

The urban heat island effect, as the phenomenon is known, occurs primarily during the day, when impervious surfaces in cities absorb more sunlight than surrounding vegetated areas. Plants naturally lower surrounding surface temperatures by releasing water back into the atmosphere during photosynthesis. An increase of just 1.8 degrees F can raise energy demands for air conditioning from 5 to 20 percent in the United States, according the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here are some new tools to support local energy efficiency

Read the full post from ACEEE.

Each step of a home improvement project requires the right tool. If you are planning to put up a new set of cabinets, for example, the first step requires measuring tape, assembly of the cabinets may require a drill, and then, finally, a hammer would be needed to actually mount them. A variety of tools—the right tools—are needed to complete the task.

This logic is no different when applied to the planning, design, and implementation of energy efficiency policies. Tools can provide localities with the know-how to advance energy efficiency throughout their communities. Policymakers, for example, can be tasked with assessing what energy efficiency policies make the most sense for their community, or with identifying which local stakeholders they should engage. The extent to which communities are equipped to readily answer those questions will vary; yet, all communities stand to benefit from learning about effective policies and strategies being implemented across the country. With the addition of some new resources, ACEEE hopes to expand communities’ toolboxes and provide the tools that help them achieve lasting energy savings.

Apple, Microsoft, Motorola wring new revenue out of e-waste

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

What do Apple, Microsoft and Motorola have in common?

All of these high-profile technology companies are harvesting new revenue out of discarded and end-of-life gadgets, rather than looking at them just as liabilities that require responsible recycling. What’s more, all three are among the roughly 100 organizations using Hong Kong’s Li Tong Group (aka LTG) to get the job done.

Webinar: Tribes Fostering Sustainable Behavior – Toolkit for Community Based Social Marketing

Thursday, September 3, 2015
11:00 am – 12:30 pm Central time
Register at

Before you develop another brochure…
Before you distribute another flier…
Before you conduct your next environmental outreach initiative…

Use Community-Based Social Marketing strategies to foster sustainable behavior!

Community-based social marketing (CBSM) is an alternative approach to encouraging environmentally sustainable behaviors, by effectively combining marketing tools with community engagement techniques.

This webinar will discuss:

  • An overview of Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM).
  • A tribal demonstration of CBSM conducted by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota. By using the CBSM methodology, Fond du Lac successfully increased the recycling rate by 41% at its Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
  • A draft Tribal Community-Based Social Marketing Toolkit, developed by Fond du Lac in collaboration with U.S. EPA Region 5 and Tetra Tech. We are seeking tribes’ and other stakeholder input on this draft CBSM toolkit; you are encouraged to provide feedback during the webinar.


  • Shannon Judd, Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Stacey Durley, Project Manager, Tetra Tech

University of Florida Extension (Sarasota) hiring three environmental eductors

The University of Florida is hiring three Sarasota-based environmental educators.

  • Water Resources
    The position is responsible for developing an educational and outreach program related to water resources in Sarasota County, including audience identification, an understanding and integration of current outreach efforts, and identification of gaps. The extension program’s objectives are to teach about awareness of water resources, water conservation, and substitution of potable water with reclaimed water in landscape irrigation systems. A primary goal of this position is to achieve desired behavior change among various target audiences that maintains the health of Sarasota County’s water resources.
  • Waste Reduction
    The position is responsible for developing an education and outreach program related to solid waste in Sarasota County. The extension program’s objective is to teach decision makers and the general public about issues and problems associated with solid waste management, including laws and voluntarily actions that address these issues. A primary goal of this position is to achieve desired behavior change among various target audiences that increases landfill diversion rates. The position will support the diversion goals set by the state of Florida and the local goals under development for Sarasota County’s new Solid Waste Master Plan.
  • Chemicals in the Environment
    The position is responsible for developing an education program related to chemicals in the environment in Sarasota County. The objective is to teach decision makers and the general public about chemicals in our environment with an emphasis on pollution in general and Integrated Pest Management in particular. A primary goal of this position is to achieve desired behavior change among various target audiences that maintains or improves environmental and human health relative to chemicals in the environment.

Small amount of warming has ‘significant’ regional impact

Read the full story from EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

A global average temperature rise of just 0.3 °C will “significantly” change regional average temperatures, according to a study by US scientists. The study, which also reveals that a rise of at least 2.5 °C is needed to affect regional precipitation significantly, shows the consequences of even small deviations from climate-change targets.