Day: March 22, 2016

Construction gets greener, but certifications could drop

Read the full story in Modern Healthcare.

Healthcare construction companies continue to build green, but getting their finished buildings LEED-certified has become less of a sure thing.

How can that be? While more hospital systems are willing to foot the bill for green construction because they understand there will be a return on investment, they are turning thumbs down on paying to obtain a certificate.

4 traits that define the next generation of climate leaders

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

We are witnessing a new era of leadership, and we have much to celebrate. I strongly believe all future leaders must set out the role they choose to play in creating our sustainable future.

Regardless of your profession or sector, you must consider your role in maneuvering our societies in a better direction. Whether you’re a kindergarten teacher, an invest banker, an engineer or a politician — everyone plays a role in making this world more sustainable.

So what traits and characteristics do I believe we need to nourish and focus on in order to become a generation of leaders that makes a positive difference in this world?

Shrinking of forest carbon sink under climate change may be ‘less than anticipated’

Read the full story at Climate Brief.

The world’s forests take up around a third of human-caused CO2 emissions, playing a critical role in helping to moderate climate change.

But as temperatures rise, scientists are concerned the delicate balance of how trees use CO2 could be upset, potentially reducing their capacity to buffer rising CO2 levels.

A new Nature study suggests that trees are able to adapt to rising temperatures better than previously thought. But it’s only partially good news, the researchers say, as warmer conditions will still see the buffering effect from trees reduced.

Sustain Mizzou members learn about the benefit of bees

Read the full story at Sustain Mizzou.

The latest buzz around Sustain Mizzou is the newest project to install two beehives on either Sanborn Field or Eckles Butterfly Garden next month.

Grist looking for the fall 2016 class of fellows

Want to grow as a journalist while absorbing a universe of green knowledge? Apply for the Grist Fellowship Program. Grist is an independent nonprofit media organization that shapes the country’s environmental conversations, making green second nature for our monthly audience of 2,000,000 and growing. At Grist, green isn’t about hugging trees or hiking — it’s about using humor and real talk to connect big issues like climate change to the places where people live, work, and play.

The Subfield That Is Changing the Landscape of Literary Studies

Read the full story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

A burgeoning subfield of literary studies that focuses on human beings’ impact on the environment is changing the curricula of English departments across the country.

Climate fiction — cli-fi, for short — often depicts a grim future of a changed world, portraying how humanity must deal with years of environmental neglect. The genre, which has seen a fourfold increase in published books in the past six years, according to data collected by, is giving professors and students a bevy of books outside of environmental studies to anchor discussions of climate change and its consequences.

Climate fiction provides a window into our future — and ourselves

Read the full story from the NRDC Switchboard.

Cli-Fi novels such as Claire Vaye Watkins’ Gold Fame Citrus, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife, and Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy have earned wide critical acclaim over the past few years. Secondary schools and universities across the country have also begun to incorporate Climate Fiction courses into their syllabi, providing an accessible platform for students to discuss current climate change impacts. While these irresistible page-turners transport us from reality, they might also motivate us to prevent a similar one.

Funding Notice: Integrating Human Health and Well-Being with Ecosystem Services

Solicitation Closing Date: April 21, 2016, 11:59:59 pm EDT
Read the full RFP

For many people, the relationship between ecosystems and their own health and well-being can be unclear. This makes it difficult for individuals as well as communities to consider ecosystems and the services they provide in personal and organizational decision making. However, decisions–particularly at the community level–can be made significantly more robust and sustainable if they consider the benefits of ecosystems and the impacts of human activity on ecosystems.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA or EPA), through its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, seeks applications for collaborative, community-based research that will foster better understanding of how ecosystems support human health and well-being. Specifically, this research should examine how communities can integrate ecosystem services1 with human health and well-being to inform their decision making and management practices. It should also develop information that allows communities to integrate environmental, societal and economic information and to better manage multiple stressors and their cumulative impacts on humans and ecosystems. The ultimate goal is to help communities achieve their own objectives.

In addition to regular awards, this solicitation includes the opportunity for early career awards. The purpose of the early career award is to fund research projects smaller in scope and budget by early career PIs.

Eligibility information: Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (includes public institutions of higher education and hospitals) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (includes private institutions of higher education and hospitals) located in the U.S., state and local governments, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, and U.S. territories or possessions are eligible to apply. This funding opportunity strongly encourages partnerships that include communities or community-based organizations.

Applicants should address all three overarching research questions:

  1. What are the factors that determine success or failure, when using existing data sources on environmental pollution, ecosystem services and community health and well-being, to understand the impacts of multiple stressors?
  2. What are the factors that influence whether and how transparent decision making processes are developed and used to identify the most important stakeholders and stressors, evaluate management strategies and set and prioritize goals?
  3. What are the most effective methods for tracking progress and ensuring accountability towards mitigating and reducing adverse impacts to ecosystems and human health and well-being at the community level?

How ‘Ugly’ Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger

Read the full story in National Geographic.

Across cultures, food waste goes against the moral grain. After all, nearly 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. But according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we squander enough food—globally, 2.9 trillion pounds a year—to feed every one of them more than twice over. Where’s all that food—about a third of the planet’s production—going? In developing nations much is lost postharvest for lack of adequate storage facilities, good roads, and refrigeration. In comparison, developed nations waste more food farther down the supply chain, when retailers order, serve, or display too much and when consumers ignore leftovers in the back of the fridge or toss perishables before they’ve expired.

Wasting food takes an environmental toll as well. Producing food that no one eats—whether sausages or snickerdoodles—also squanders the water, fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, fuel, and land needed to grow it. The quantities aren’t trivial. Globally a year’s production of uneaten food guzzles as much water as the entire annual flow of the Volga, Europe’s most voluminous river. Growing the 133 billion pounds of food that retailers and consumers discard in the United States annually slurps the equivalent of more than 70 times the amount of oil lost in the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to American Wasteland author Jonathan Bloom. These staggering numbers don’t even include the losses from farms, fishing vessels, and slaughterhouses. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the U.S. On a planet of finite resources, with the expectation of at least two billion more residents by 2050, this profligacy, Stuart argues in his book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, is obscene.

Sculpture to Raise Awareness of Waste Generation, Management During Earth Week

Read the full post at the ISTC Blog.

ISTC’s efforts to help the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign achieve zero waste goals and foster a culture of waste reduction will include a unique public education display during Earth Week this spring.

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