Month: October 2016

America’s super polluters

Read the full story from the Center for Public Integrity.

Industrial air pollution — bad for people’s health, bad for the planet — is strikingly concentrated in America among a small number of facilities like those in southwest Indiana, according to a nine-month Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Turning Detroit’s Abandoned Homes Into Greenhouses

Read the full story from The Atlantic.

When Steven Mankouche first saw the house at 3347 Burnside Street in Detroit, in 2013, it was buckling and scarred with burn marks. An artist named Andy Malone, who lived nearby, had just purchased the lot for $500 and was hoping to find some way to bring it back to life. Mankouche, an architect, and his partner, Abigail Murray, a ceramicist floated a proposal to do just that, by commandeering the house’s foundation and repurposing it as a sort of plant nursery.

Inside the Little Free Pantry: a Q&A with its Creator

Read the full story at Shareable.

Earlier this month, Shareable posted a short article about the Little Free Pantry in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Created by Jessica McClard, the Pantry is an easy way for people to share surplus food and household goods, and access items they may need.

The response to the post has been incredible. In the first week, over 21,000 people read the article and it has been shared over 700 times on Facebook. Our hunch is that people love the low-cost, direct action approach that McClard is taking to fighting food insecurity on a neighborhood level. As we face overwhelming global issues, seeing a simple, human-scale project addressing problems on a local level is a welcome relief.

I spoke with McClard about why people are so drawn to the Little Free Pantry, what she hopes comes out of it, and the unexpected challenges the project has brought. Here are the highlights of our conversation:

On College Campuses, Signs of Progress on Renewable Energy

Read the full story from E360.

U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly deploying solar arrays and other forms of renewable energy. Yet most institutions have a long way to go if they are to meet their goal of being carbon neutral in the coming decades.

300 Million Children Are Breathing ‘Extremely Toxic’ Air, UNICEF Says

Read the full story from NPR.

Some 300 million children around the world are breathing highly toxic air, according to a new report from UNICEF.

New model suggests scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere

Read the full story from Cornell University.

New Cornell research suggests an economically viable model to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to thwart runaway, point-of-no-return global warming.

The researchers propose using a “bioenergy-biochar system” that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in an environmental pinch, until other removal methods become economically feasible and in regions where other methods are impractical. Their work appeared in the Oct. 21 edition of Nature Communications.

Put A Price On It campaign seeks student volunteers

The “Put A Price On It” campaign, in partnership with Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), is currently looking for students to help with climate solution efforts on campuses across the country. The goal of the campaign is to put a price on carbon pollution and secure our transition to a 100% clean energy economy. This initiative is designed to mobilize the generation most affected by climate change — young people.

The campaign elevates the importance of carbon pricing through film, social media, and celebrity endorsements, while empowering students to participate in the democratic process and become more skilled in civic engagement. The campaign is led by the Emmy-award winning documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously and the Millennial-led advocacy group Our Climate.

Opportunities for students include joining their Fellowship program, becoming a Field Representative, and/or joining their National Action Team. Learn more about each opportunity at the Our Climate website, and get in touch with Tom at tom@theclimatesolution.com if you have any questions.  Let’s #PutAPriceOnIt!

Citizen Scientists Can Now Lend a Hand in Penguin Conservation

Read the full story from Stonybrook University.

A new interactive and user-friendly website that tracks Antarctic penguin populations and provides information for scientists to better understand environmental changes will now be accessible to the general public. The new tool, developed  by Heather J. Lynch, PhD, an Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolution, and colleagues internationally, is the first of its kind giving citizen scientists a lens into the world of scientists seeking to impact global environmental change by way of analyzing penguin living patterns, known as a strong indicator of the effects of climate change.

Dr. Lynch and Mathew R. Schwaller, PhD, at NASA Goddard, teamed up with Washington, DC-based NGO Oceanites, Inc. to develop the newly launched Mapping Application for Penguin Populations and Projected Dynamics (MAPPPD; www.penguinmap.com).  Scientists and policy makers use the website to make conservation decisions regarding the Antarctic environment.

How hooded seals are transferring contaminants to their pups

Read the full story from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Environmental contaminants such as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) can be transferred from mother to offspring through the placenta and mother’s milk, exposing the young mammal before and after birth. PFASs are a family of human-made chemicals, which have been used in a number of consumer products such as textiles, carpets, paper plates and food packaging because they repel grease, water and stains and are heat resistant. Since it was discovered that they pose a risk to wildlife and human health, some PFASs have been phased out of use, but they have not been universally banned. The Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry article, “Maternal Transfer of Perfluoroalkyl Substances in Hooded Seals” reports on the samples collected from lactating hooded seal mothers and their pups in West Ice, just east of Greenland.

Researchers invent ‘perfect’ soap molecule

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.

A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has invented a new soap molecule made from renewable sources that could dramatically reduce the number of chemicals in cleaning products and their impact on the environment.

The soap molecules also worked better than some conventional soaps in challenging conditions such as cold water and hard water. The technology has been patented by the University of Minnesota and is licensed to the new Minnesota-based startup company Sironix Renewables.

The new study is now online and will be published in the next issue of the American Chemical Society’s ACS Central Science, a leading journal in the chemical sciences. Authors of the study include researchers from the University of Minnesota, University of Delaware, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Sironix Renewables, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation and Argonne National Laboratory.

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