Day: April 6, 2016

The Deepening Story of How Climate Change Threatens Human Health

Read the full post from U.S. EPA.

This is a joint blog from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, EPA, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Climate change poses risks to human health through many pathways, some more obvious than others. Rising greenhouse-gas concentrations, driven by human activities, result in increases in temperature, changes in precipitation, increases in the frequency and intensity of some extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. These climate-change impacts endanger our health by affecting our food and water sources, the air we breathe, the weather we experience, and our interactions with the built and natural environments. As the climate continues to change, the climate-related risks to human health will continue to grow.

Today, building on the Third National Climate Assessment issued in May 2014, the Administration released a new report summarizing the growing understanding of how climate change is directly and indirectly affecting human health.  The report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, finds that “every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change.” Drawing from decades of advances in the science of climate change and its influences on ecosystems and human society, the report strengthens our understanding of the significant threat that climate change poses to the health of all Americans and highlights factors that make some individuals and communities particularly vulnerable.

Waste stream to energy source: What if America’s next big fuel source is its trash?

Read the full story from Ames Laboratory.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United States produced 254 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2013. And though 87 million tons of that material from the landfill was diverted through recycling and composting, what if the nation could do better? What if landfills could become local sources of clean energy production? Better yet, what if all waste streams, like those from agricultural, livestock, and food production, could essentially become fuel refineries at a local level?

It’s a question being asked by a collaboration of National Laboratory researchers who want to create energy conversion technologies designed to mine the carbon out of waste processes that traditionally have been an environmental burden to the planet and a disposal headache for humans.

Going green one paint job at a time

Read the full story in the Hastings Star Gazette.

Wayne’s Auto Body in Hastings took a big step toward being more environmentally friendly. The business made some big changes in its operations in order to reduce the amount of VOCs it produces.

Landscape architects probe health effects of rain gardens

Read the full story from the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program.

University of Illinois PhD students Pongsakorn “Tum” Suppakittpaisarn and Fatemeh Saeidi-Rizi study rain gardens—but not in the way you’d expect. Instead of measuring infiltration rates and pollution reduction capacity, Tum and Fatemeh want to know what happens in our brains and bodies when we see this green infrastructure practice.

Flint Public Library to archive stories of residents living through the water crisis

Read the full story from Michigan Radio.

Now anyone in Flint can preserve their story of living through the water crisis.

The Flint Public Library is opening its recording studio for residents to tell their experience of living with poisoned water.

The library is partnered with StoryCorps, a spoken-story archiving organization. The interviews are done in a conversational style, and the group will archive the recordings. With the storyteller’s permission, StoryCorps will also send the story to the Library of Congress.

Data USA

Data USA puts public US Government data in your hands. Instead of searching through multiple data sources that are often incomplete and difficult to access, you can simply point to Data USA to answer your questions. Data USA provides an open, easy-to-use platform that turns data into knowledge. It allows millions of people to conduct their own analyses and create their own stories about America – its people, places, industries, skill sets and educational institutions. Ultimately, accelerating society’s ability to learn and better understand itself.

NREL Reveals Potential for Capturing Waste Heat via Nanotubes

Read the full story from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

A finely tuned carbon nanotube thin film has the potential to act as a thermoelectric power generator that captures and uses waste heat, according to researchers at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The research could help guide the manufacture of thermoelectric devices based on either single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) films or composites containing these nanotubes. Because more than half of the energy consumed worldwide is rejected primarily as waste heat, the idea of thermoelectric power generation is emerging as an important part of renewable energy and energy-efficiency portfolios.

“There have not been many examples where people have really looked at the intrinsic thermoelectric properties of carbon nanotubes and that’s what we feel this paper does,” said Andrew Ferguson, a research scientist in NREL’s Chemical and Materials Science Center and co-lead author of the paper with Jeffrey Blackburn.

The research, “Tailored Semiconducting Carbon Nanotube Networks with Enhanced Thermoelectric Properties,” appears in the journal Nature Energy, and is a collaboration between NREL, Professor Yong-Hyun Kim’s group at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and Professor Barry Zink’s group at the University of Denver. The other authors from NREL are Azure Avery (now an assistant professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver), Ben Zhou, Elisa Miller, Rachelle Ihly, Kevin Mistry, and Sarah Guillot.

How to Start a Toy Library: 12 Quick Tips

Read the full post at Shareable.

Sharing toys can be done casually between friends or through a full-time space with hundreds of toys for the community at-large to borrow. What your toy library looks like depends on your needs, resources, and community.

Whatever the size of your toy library, there are several proven ways to make it easier for your library team to start and run a toy library. Here are 12 quick tips for starting a toy library from a webinar hosted by The Center for a New American Dream.

You are what fish eat

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

“Eat your fish,” we’re advised, “it’s good for you!”

And people responded, “OK!” — driving growth of an aquaculture industry that now provides half the seafood consumed globally. Until recently, the food those farmed fish ate was composed mostly of fishmeal and fish oil derived from wild fish, which imparted the health-promoting fatty acids EPA and DHA. But the industry’s rapid growth made using mainly wild-caught fish for feed unsustainable, so the industry began to adjust the content of feed to include more crop-based ingredients, such as corn and soy.

The shift to agriculture-based fish feed increases the environmental footprint of farm-raised seafood and may affect the health benefits of eating these fish, according to a study published earlier this month in the journal Environment International.

Climate Policy Is Coming. Is Business Prepared?

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

Businesses can expect stricter carbon pollution regulations coming soon — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, according to some.

We saw this reasoning explained in companies’ briefs supporting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan last week, with major tech firms Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, along with Ikea and Mars arguing that the power plant emissions rules are “good for business.”

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