Day: January 10, 2017

In Defense of Darkness (TEDxRichland)

My good friend Scott Butner gave a talk on the advantage of dark skies at TEDxRichland awhile back. The video is now available on YouTube. The photos and time lapse video are all his. Here’s the summary:

How many times have you looked up at the night sky? The stars and the moon…the occasional shooting star. Did you realize that most likely you are seeing very little of what is actually up there? Light pollution ruins the experience for most. Maybe it’s time to take back the night.

Species diversity reduces chances of crop failure in algal biofuel systems

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

When growing algae in outdoor ponds as a next-generation biofuel, a naturally diverse mix of species will help reduce the chance of crop failure, according to a federally funded study by University of Michigan researchers.

Cleveland’s Surprising Climate Buffers

Read the full story at CityLab.

Rust Belt cities like Cleveland have one feature that newer cities don’t, though: Plenty of urban vacant land. A pilot project, the Cleveland Climate Resilience & Urban Opportunity Plan, is using that space to increase the climate resilience of the city’s neighborhoods. A portion of the multi-pronged project is testing the use of up to 200 empty lots for rain gardens, food gardens, community gathering places, native plants, and wetlands restoration. Other project components include helping residents reduce energy use, and working to strengthen neighborhood social connections.

Illinois poised to require lead testing in public schools, day care centers

Read the full story in Politico.

Illinois public schools and licensed daycare facilities will be required to test drinking water for lead contamination under a major compromise reached by key stakeholders, parties involved in the deal told POLITICO Illinois.

Will new FDA rules curb antibiotic use in farm animals and the rise of superbugs?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The meat industry is facing mounting pressure to phase out antibiotic use. Here, we trace how a widespread use of those drugs can be bad for public health.

Trash Meets Art with Recology’s Artist in Residence Program

Read the full story at Waste360.

Each year, San Francisco Bay Area artists have the chance to put their creative skills to the test with Recology’s Artist in Residence Program. Established in 1990, the program helps encourage the reuse of materials by allowing residents and artists to look at trash in a different light.

The program, which includes a four-month residency, a stipend, access to Recology’s large art studio, miscellaneous supplies and equipment and a spot in a three-day public exhibition, challenges residents to create artistic works of art from materials found in Recology’s public disposal and recycling area.

Neonicotinoid pesticide affects foraging and social interaction in bumblebees

Read the full story at

In a plastic, lasercut box blacked out with paint and lit with red light, worker bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) go about their daily activities: interacting with fellow adults, extracting food from honey pots, feeding larvae, and occasionally venturing out to forage for nectar. While this nest is far from normal, the bees that live here have adapted to their new space remarkably well. Still, all is not well within the nest, and not because of its strange form. Some bees have abandoned their daily patterns and are spending more time alone, on the periphery. Others are spending less time caring for the utterly dependent larvae that will become the next generation of bumblebees.

Within the nest, the chaotic center of bumblebee life, social behavior and interactions are crucial for bee population health and the production of young. When social behavior and the care of young changes, population numbers become more susceptible to decline. James Crall, a postdoc with the Planetary Health Alliance at Harvard University, graduate student Callin Switzer and colleagues have linked these changes in social behavior with sublethal exposure to the neonicotinoid pesticide, imidacloprid.

Full research article: Callin M. Switzer et al. The neonicotinoid pesticide, imidacloprid, affects Bombus impatiens (bumblebee) sonication behavior when consumed at doses below the LD50, Ecotoxicology (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s10646-016-1669-z

Trending: Emerson, AT&T, London Startup Find More Creative Ways to Fight Food Waste

Read the full story from Sustainable Brands.

Today, approximately 40% of the food produced in the U.S. goes to waste and 97% ends up in landfills. There it decomposes and produces methane gas — 25 times more harmful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and a major contributor to global warming and the destruction of the ozone layer. A similar story can be told across the globe.

Food waste poses a significant risk to both food security and the planet, but new technologies and creative reuses of waste streams are pushing the food industry towards more sustainable, circular models.

The Military Wants Ammunition That Turns Into Plants

Read the full story in Fast Company.

The Department of Defense has put out a call for shell casings that biodegrade and hold seeds inside them, so shooting creates some new life.

Webinar: Leveraging Greener Cleaning at Venues to Engage Sports Fans and Promote Healthier Communities

Wed, Jan 18, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST
Register at

In 2015, the Green Sports Alliance released its Greener Cleaning Playbook, a resource designed to help sports facilities reduce negative environmental and health impacts associated with cleaning sports venues. This Playbook serves as a guide for creating a successful greener cleaning program, and offers comprehensive guidance on how to select cleaning products and services that are safe for the environment as well as the people who use them.

During this webinar, attendees will get a how-to for launching their own greener cleaning program and learn strategies for improving upon their program, using the Greener Cleaning Playbook as a guide. Speakers will also discuss how the sports industry can leverage their greener cleaning program to enhance sustainability initiatives at venues that not only reduce environmental impact but engage sports fans in simple, sustainable behavior changes that promote human and environmental health.

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