Three free online courses to help you learn more about circular economy

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Whether you’re totally new to the idea, a sustainability professional or intrigued by Cradle to Cradle principles, these online courses can enrich your understanding.

Unleaded, Please

Read the full post at On Earth.

For almost a year and a half, the 90,000 residents of Flint, Michigan, have been drinking water laced with high levels of lead—the potent neurotoxin that lowers IQ and triggers behavioral and emotional problems. There were many complaints: The tap smells like rotten eggs, the water tastes funny, and why is it brown? But it wasn’t until last week, when a pediatrician released the frightening results of some blood tests conducted on the community’s children, that officials began taking this public-health emergency seriously.

And it wasn’t until yesterday that they actually started doing something about it. The state, along with other organizations, are distributing bottled water and lead filters throughout the city. Michigan governor Rick Snyder asked his legislature for funds to switch Flint’s water source back to Lake Huron—which is where the city’s water came from before this mass contamination began last summer.

Pulp Fiction: The European Accounting Error That’s Warming the Planet

Read the full series at Climate Central.

As the world tries to shift away from fossil fuels, the energy industry is turning to what seems to be an endless supply of renewable energy: wood. In England and across Europe, wood has become the renewable of choice, with forests — many of them in the U.S. — being razed to help feed surging demand. But as this five-month Climate Central investigation reveals, renewable energy doesn’t necessarily mean clean energy. Burning trees as fuel in power plants is heating the atmosphere more quickly than coal.

Climate Central reporter John Upton traveled to England and through the U.S. Southeast to investigate both ends of the global trade in wood pellets, interviewing scientists, politicians, policy makers, activists, workers and industry leaders. Europe has long been viewed as the wellspring of climate action. But the loophole that’s promoting wood burning is so overlooked, he discovered, that it’s unlikely to even be raised during global climate treaty negotiations in Paris this December.

Federal Energy Management Program e-Course: Water Management Basics

This eTraining core course provides learners with a concise introduction to comprehensive water management, including the key topic areas of basic water management terminology, the history of federal water mandates, current Executive Order (E.O.) 13693 provisions, best practices associated with comprehensive water management, and proven water conservation financing mechanisms and strategies.

The three-module course offers a thorough overview of water management in the federal context:

  • Module One: Introduction to Federal Water Management
  • Module Two: Introduction to Comprehensive Water Management
  • Module Three: Financing and Launching Water Management Projects.

Learning Objectives

After completing this foundational course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify new E. O. 13693 water efficiency provisions in six key areas
  • Recognize water types and terminology, definitions, and applications
  • Initiate comprehensive water management planning
  • Consider their financing options to launch and pay for water management projects.

“Predatory” journals are distorting the brave new world of open science

Read the full story in the New Statesman.

The modern, digital era of peer-reviewed science is changing the way high-quality research is being released. As soon as a study has been validated for accuracy, it’s almost immediately published online and covered by a dozen websites before the end of the working day. It can create a sense of collaboration, with more people finding ways to tackle serious challenges such as cancer and climate change. Or it can increase global competitiveness, with discoveries leading to new products and services.

However, there’s been a huge proliferation in recent years of new, obscure open-access journals, potentially hindering quality and verification. A new study published in BMC Medicine is claiming that such “predatory” journals are drastically altering the landscape for the worse, by “preying” on both readers and potential scientists throughout the process. (Incidentally, we can trust BMC Medicine on this. It’s one of many periodicals from BioMed Central, a well-respected subsidiary of the science publishing giant Springer Nature.)

The Legal Consequences of Ignoring Climate Change

Read the full post in Governing.

Last month, in a case that sent shivers through corporate America, a former peanut-company executive was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in a deadly salmonella outbreak. The executive, Stewart Parnell, knowingly shipped contaminated peanut butter to stores across the country. Nine people died and hundreds more were sickened.

Parnell’s punishment was unprecedented for a foodborne-illness case. But it signals an important shift in the prevailing legal winds: More courts are holding people to account for failure to prevent harm. Increasingly, corporate and civic leaders face stiff civil — and potentially, in the most egregious situations, criminal — penalties when they endanger others.

It’s a shift that has important implications for local decision-makers — the public officials, developers and property owners who shape the places where we live and work. As our largely ill-prepared cities and towns confront an uncertain and changing climate, those decision-makers may be held accountable for development that puts people in harm’s way.

Emerging sustainable designers working to change pattern of fashion

Read the full post at Eco-Business.

The movement of emerging sustainable fashion designers with a determination to change the fashion industry is strengthening.

NGO Redress, an organisation with a mission to reduce waste in the fashion industry, is propelling these designers forward with the launch of The EcoChic Design Award Alumni Network; a platform to connect designers with industry opportunities to further support their growth and impact.

Designers within the network are all alumni of The EcoChic Design Award, the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition.