Plastic litter on Great Lakes beaches

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

What do cigarette butts, takeout containers, straws and water bottles have in common? They’re some of the most common litter found on Lake Michigan and Lake Erie beaches, according to a recent study published in Science of the Total Environment.

Researchers invent a breakthrough process to produce renewable car tires from trees and grasses

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.

A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses in a process that could shift the tire production industry toward using renewable resources found right in our backyards.

Conventional car tires are viewed as environmentally unfriendly because they are predominately made from fossil fuels. The car tires produced from biomass that includes trees and grasses would be identical to existing car tires with the same chemical makeup, color, shape, and performance.

The technology has been patented by the University of Minnesota and is available for licensing through the University of Minnesota Office of Technology Commercialization.

To Save The Planet, Give Cows Better Pasture

Read the full story from NPR.

The other day, in Puerto Rico, I stumbled across one small piece of an agricultural revolution. It didn’t look all that revolutionary — just an abandoned sugar plantation where workers are clearing away a mass of grass, bushes and trees in order to create better pasture for cattle.

Mike McCloskey, the dairy magnate who’s behind this particular venture, says that the tropical grasses that he’s removing are terrible food for cattle; they’re full of cellulose and lignin, and not very nutritious. “The problem with tropical pastures, in the past, is that they’re very low in their digestibility,” he says.

McCloskey should know. He grew up in Puerto Rico, worked as a veterinarian with dairy farmers in Mexico and California, then got into dairy farming himself and became one of the biggest milk producers in the United States.

He’s planning to grow varieties of grass called Mulato and Cayman on this pasture. The grasses grow quickly, they’re far more nutritious and cattle love them.

Pollution Has Worked Its Way Down To The World’s Deepest Waters

Read the full story from NPR.

The Mariana Trench in the northern Pacific is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. You might think a place that remote would be untouched by human activity.

But the Mariana Trench is polluted.

Climate Change and New Efforts to Help People Understand What They Can’t See

Read the full story in Governing.

Visual illustrations can give meaning to overwhelming emissions numbers.