Environmental News Bits on Holiday Break December 19, 2016-January 2, 2017

Plants in snow
Photo credit: Scott Butner [https://flic.kr/p/5Kdstt]
Environmental News Bits is taking a break from December 19, 2016-January 2, 2017. I wish you all peace and joy during the holiday season and will see you in 2017.

How Companies Can Combine Sustainability And Customer Experience

Read the full post at Customer Think.

Enterprises have the power to achieve a lot. It is possible for them to satisfy clients but they can also alter their preferences when it comes to consuming. One good example of this is the rapid growth of environmentally friendly products. The increase in demand means that the customers want to reduce the negative impact on the planet. However, it’s not realist for companies to rely on consumers to choose the sustainable options. It’s the company’s responsibility to find what really motivates its clients. So all in all, the right way to go about it is to give the people an incentive to go for the sustainable choices.

Keep in mind though, that enterprises also have to make sure they keep turning in profit and sustainability can often come in contrast with this. Fortunately, recent studies have shown that the two don’t conflict because by going for a sustainable plan there’s a possibility to improve customer experience. By creating an amazing experience for your customers you can succeed both financially and environmentally.

Protecting America’s Waters Story Map

Since 2009, EPA – in partnership with states, cities, utilities, NGOs, and businesses – has made giant strides to advance clean water protection. Explore the story map to see where EPA worked to protect waters near you and read about the progress created through historic regulations, new programs, technology advances, and community support that move the country toward cleaner and more reliable water.

Trimming the pork: IonE research guides first major meat industry GHG reductions

Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced its commitment yesterday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain 25 percent by 2025. The move is the first of its kind among large meat producers.

The NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise (NiSE), a strategic initiative of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, partnered with Smithfield and the Environmental Defense Fund to develop the science behind the commitment.

The NorthStar team improved a generic life cycle assessment for swine production, providing spatially explicit estimates of environmental impacts for the corn and manure components of their supply chain. This improved visibility into the major supply chain processes under Smithfield’s influence builds on NiSE’s supply chain transport model showing how corn and soy travel through the farm-to-feed-to-food pipeline in the U.S.

“Smithfield, through their collaboration with EDF, realizes that the better they can understand the complexity involved in making GHG commitments, the better chance they have to actually manage and reduce such emissions,” said Jennifer Schmitt, NiSE lead scientist.

The reductions made by Smithfield will benefit the environment by improving use of fertilizer on feed grain, improving manure management and increasing energy efficiency in processing and transportation. The magnitude of their total proposed reductions will be equivalent to taking around 900,000 cars off the road, according to Schmitt. Beyond the carbon reductions, there will be additional benefits including odor reductions, improvements to water quality and decreased respiratory irritants.

“Smithfield’s commitment and partnership is a great outcome of NiSE’s mission to work with the private sector on understanding the sustainability of production and consumption systems, with Smithfield benefiting from using our spatial sourcing tool and NiSE benefiting from further insight into a specific supply chain,” said Schmitt.

Read the press releases from EDF and Smithfield.

Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.

The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.

Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda

Download the document.

Science and technology are embedded in virtually every aspect of modern life. As a result, people face an increasing need to integrate information from science with their personal values and other considerations as they make important life decisions about medical care, the safety of foods, what to do about climate change, and many other issues. Communicating science effectively, however, is a complex task and an acquired skill. Moreover, the approaches to communicating science that will be most effective for specific audiences and circumstances are not obvious. Fortunately, there is an expanding science base from diverse disciplines that can support science communicators in making these determinations.

Communicating Science Effectively offers a research agenda for science communicators and researchers seeking to apply this research and fill gaps in knowledge about how to communicate effectively about science, focusing in particular on issues that are contentious in the public sphere. To inform this research agenda, this publication identifies important influences – psychological, economic, political, social, cultural, and media-related – on how science related to such issues is understood, perceived, and used.

The Grasslands of the Great Plains Are Being Destroyed at an ‘Alarming Rate’

Read the full story at Pacific Standard.

Temperate grassland ecosystems are being destroyed around the world, largely due to conversion to agricultural land driven by the need to provide food and fuel for the exploding human population.

A study published in August found that, despite popular belief to the contrary, grassy biomes such as grasslands and savannas harbor just as much biodiversity as rainforests — and they’re being destroyed at an even quicker pace.

Superior soap molecule from renewable sources wins top Dow SISCA prize

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

A team that created a soap molecule made from renewable materials has won the $10,000 first prize in the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award competition held Dec. 6 at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in St. Paul.

What satellites can tell us about how animals will fare in a changing climate

Read the full story at Space Daily.

From the Arctic to the Mojave Desert, terrestrial and marine habitats are rapidly changing. These changes impact animals that are adapted to specific ecological niches, sometimes displacing them or reducing their numbers. From their privileged vantage point, satellites are particularly well-suited to observe habitat transformation and help scientists forecast impacts on the distribution, abundance and migration of animals.

2017 Collegiate Sports Sustainability Summit

February 15-17, 2017,  Gainesville, FL
More information and to register: http://cs3.sustainable.ufl.edu/

About the Summit
This year’s CS3, co-hosted by the EPA and the University of Florida, offers attendees the chance to network, learn, and exchange ideas with peers from around the country on ways in which athletic and sports programs can join the campus movement to engage students, fans, and alumni in making collegiate sports socially, economically, and environmentally responsible. The summit offers engaging speakers, collaborative round table discussions, and breakout sessions that allow participants to dive deeper into topics regarding sustainability.

Who Should Attend
Faculty, staff, students, or professionals researching or involved with: collegiate athletics, recreational sports, campus sustainability, recycling and waste reduction, facility management, food service, behavior change, marketing and communications, psychology, social sustainability, or fan engagement.

Call for Proposals
The 2017 Collegiate Sports Sustainability Summit is seeking presentations that model innovative, novel approaches to the CS3 topic areas, and which could theoretically be replicated by other campuses in order to advance their sustainability efforts. The goal is to raise the level of conversation at CS3 to go beyond the basics, and to encourage more meaningful conversations around behavior change, innovation, social sustainability and more.

Regular Attendee Registration – $200 ($250 after January 21, 2017)
Student Registration – $50 ($75 after January 21, 2017)