Day: November 8, 2016

Climate Conference Aims To Put Paris Agreement Into Action

Read the full story from NPR.

Leaders from 195 countries are meeting in Morocco to discuss how to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations climate change conference began Monday and runs through Nov. 18. It is the first major climate meeting since the Paris climate change agreement was passed at last year’s conference.

Fuel from sewage is the future – and it’s closer than you think

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

It may sound like science fiction, but wastewater treatment plants across the United States may one day turn ordinary sewage into biocrude oil, thanks to new research at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Clif Bar Proves That Corporate Social Responsibility Can Win Customers

Read the full story from Triple Pundit.

Year after year, Clif Bar proves that corporate social responsibility wins customers. The company is growing at a 17 percent annual compounded rate. That is exceptional in an economy struggling to achieve 3 percent growth. Further so, Clif Bar achieves 17 percent compounded annual growth by running its business to achieve five aspirations for profits, brand, people, community and the environment.

Corporate social responsibility is not a business function like finance or operations at Clif Bar. Being purposeful is at the core of the company and how it measures performance. It is Clif Bar’s secret sauce for winning customers in the highly competitive food market segment.

Not Buying It: Fast Fashion, Lies & Sustainability

Read the full story at Sustainable Brands.

Fast fashion has followed a trend similar to the fast food chains that inspired its name – explosive growth, massive popularity, and then consumer skepticism. Turns out that having access to clothes en masse mere days after the latest runway shows requires production practices that aren’t healthy for societies or our planet. Just like factory farming and consuming Whoppers and fries consistently isn’t healthy or sustainable, inexpensive clothing meant to be worn once or twice and constantly replaced isn’t much better for us. Even McKinsey says so. In 2004, we had Supersize Me; in 2015, we got The True Cost. Are we seeing the beginning of a shift away from fast fashion? Will apparel brands more akin to Chipotle start gaining real traction?

Mapping Ecosystem Markets in EnviroAtlas: Providing Innovative Data and Tools to Inform Decision-Making

Read the full post from U.S. EPA.

Do you ever wonder how much clean water is worth? Or how much you would be willing to pay somebody not to pollute your favorite lake?

Maybe you don’t think about these things, but businesses are emerging who do and that is exactly what ecosystem markets are all about. Ecosystem markets provide an innovative way to safeguard the goods and services we get from ecosystems. Through markets, interested parties can pay for landowners or managers to protect or restore ecosystems. For example, a sewage treatment plant might pay a third-party broker for nearby landowners to plant filter strips along waterbodies to reduce pollution or improve fish habitat.

We are proud to announce that ecosystem markets maps are the latest addition to our EnviroAtlas web tool, thanks to a partnership between EPA, USDA’s Office of Environmental Markets, and Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace.

Pathfinder Innovation Project – Does the Microbiome Influence More than Just our Gut?

Read the full post from U.S. EPA.

Did you know that there are an estimated 100 trillion microbes living on, and in, the human body? These microbes are everywhere – they coat our skin, live in our hair, and carpet our gut.  The community of bacteria that line our gut, known as the gut microbiota, expands our ability to process food and chemicals far beyond what the human genome encodes, and functions as a so-called “second genome.”

Many studies have reported that microbiota are required for normal development. What’s more, changes to the human microbiome have been associated with multiple diseases like obesity, asthma, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Importantly for EPA, some studies are beginning to reveal that microbiota can detoxify or bioactivate environmental chemicals. Basically, those little microbes are doing a lot for us, but we still don’t understand how it all works.

In 2014, our team applied for a Pathfinder Innovation Project (PIP) to study the microbiome and how it relates to chemical safety. The PIP program is an internal competition for EPA scientists to receive time to explore their biggest ideas in environmental research. The key goal of this work is to better understand whether the toxicity of environmental chemicals is modified by gut microbes.

 

Scientists of the Corn

Read the full post from U.S. EPA.

Wandering through a corn field, you might find stillness, quiet, order, perhaps a tassel-lined sky. At our corn field at the Oregon State University Vegetable Research Farm, you will find a hydraulic drill and a team of EPA staff from Oklahoma’s Ground Water and Ecosystems Restoration Division.  The crew brought two hydraulic drills in a semi-truck to Corvallis, Oregon, to bring to life a study that had taken a year to plan.

I met them at the corn field, armed with pastries and the excitement of knowing that all the planning, site searching, relationship building, corn planting, and a host of other activities had been successful. The results of the study will help us understand how nitrate moves into groundwater.

Survey on Energy and Water Efficiency of Stadiums and Arenas

The Green Sports Alliance (Alliance), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® program, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (Institute) are working together to better understand the characteristics of stadiums and arenas and their energy and water impacts. As part of that effort, the Institute has prepared a survey with extensive industry feedback and specific guidance from EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Program. The findings from this survey will help identify opportunities to reduce energy and water use, save money, and potentially develop an ENERGY STAR® score and certification for stadiums and arenas.

In order to answer this survey completely, you may need to have information that is not readily available. Please review the survey questions at http://www.nibs.org/resource/resmgr/projects/Energy_Water_Survey.pdf to assure you have the necessary information before beginning. Additionally, you will need to submit energy and water data, which will be necessary to help develop an ENERGY STAR® score for stadiums and arenas. Please click on the link (http://www.nibs.org/resource/resmgr/projects/Energy_Water_Report_Instruct.pdf) to review instructions and options for uploading your energy and water data. Upon submitting your responses, you will have the opportunity to return to the survey questions to update or clarify your answers by a link provided.

For more information and to complete the survey, click here. If you have questions regarding the survey, please contact Ryan Colker at the National Institute of Building Sciences (rcolker@nibs.org, 202-289-7800 x133).

 

Erie Coke Corp. faces $500,000 fine for benzene violations

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Erie Coke Corp. has agreed to pay a $500,000 civil fine for illegal emission of benzene at its Erie, Pennsylvania, plant under a tentative settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Online tool combats sales of invasives

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

The Great Lakes Commission created a web tool designed to prevent sales of aquatic invasive species over the Internet. Now, the commission is working to get it into the hands of state and federal regulators.

The software crawls the web looking for sites selling plants or animals invasive to the Great Lakes and then records the data. In the first 30 days of data gathering the web tool found 58 different invasive species sold online.

Project’s director Erika Jensen says most of the invaders purchased are aquatic plants. They make their way from homes into the environment.

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