These Google StreetView Cars Are Now Mapping And Measuring Pollution

Read the full story in Fast Company.

If you stand next to an experimental Google StreetView car in Oakland, you’ll hear whirring. On top of the vehicle–below the usual cameras taking photos of the street–a mechanical system with pumps is pulling in the outdoor air, feeding it through a set of tubes to air-pollution monitoring equipment in the trunk, and then pumping the exhaust back outside again.

The car is one of two from Google Earth Outreach that Aclima, a San Francisco-based company, equipped with a mobile air-quality platform. Over the last year–as each car drove six to eight hours a day around Oakland, repeatedly sampling every street in one section of the city–researchers collected the largest-ever set of urban air pollution data, and studied how the system could be used to better understand city air quality. The project was convened by the nonprofit EDF.

How New York Is Turning Food Waste Into Compost and Gas

Read the full story in the New York Times.

New Yorkers already have blue and green bins for recycling glass, metal, paper and plastic. But now brown bins for organic waste are starting to appear all over the city. These plastic totems are part of the city’s multimillion-dollar campaign to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on landfills, and to turn food scraps and yard waste into compost and, soon, clean energy.

Climate change and health podcasts

Listen to the podcasts from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In our podcast series on climate change and health we explore the wide-ranging effects of environmental changes in a number of areas, including infectious diseases, the global food supply, and mental health.

Why Fossil Fuel Companies Won’t Defend the Government in Court on Climate

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

Last week, the three major trade groups representing the fossil fuel industry dodged, just in time, being forced to defend their position on climate change in court. The Trump administration, despite its withdrawalfrom the Paris climate accord, will not be so lucky.

Last Thursday the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers filed motions to withdraw from their defense of the government in the groundbreaking case Juliana v. United States. Three days earlier the National Association of Manufacturers had done the same. Taken together, these three giants of American industry are retreating as fast as they can from a case that leaves the administration in a legal squeeze.

The administration and the trade groups have been backed into an extraordinary legal corner in the case brought by 21 youngsters, who allege that, for over three decades, the government promoted the use of fossil fuels while knowing that the resulting greenhouse gases would undermine quality of life for future generations. According to the lawsuit, such willfully destructive actions constitute a violation of the plaintiffs’ rights to a healthy and safe world, and their ability to pass down a livable planet to their offspring. The young plaintiffs demand that the government impose limits on CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions to slow atmospheric corrosion.

A Climate Change Refresher, in Four Charts

Read the full story at Pacific Standard.

President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the United States will leave the Paris Agreement, making the U.S. now one of just three countries in the world not participating in the climate deal. Scientists have long warned of the negative effects of climate change, including more droughtsstronger hurricanes, and an ice-free Arctic. As evidenced by Trump’s announcement, though, the magnitude of these dangers have yet to sink in for some. Below are some of the basic trends driving the concern around a heating globe.

‘Saving the Earth Since 1969’ — The Story of Illinois’ Oldest Environmental Student Group

Read the full story from the University of Illinois Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and the Environment.

In summer 1969, Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River caught on fire. Sparks from a passing train had ignited the water’s greasy, polluted surface, and a subsequent Time magazine photo spread brought the apocalyptic scene into households across America.

A few months earlier it was the Pacific drawing headlines, when an offshore well spilled 200,000 gallons of oil onto the coast of Santa Barbara. The public, still jittery from recent reports on the health hazards of car emissions and pesticides, had had enough.

On April 22, 1970 — the very first Earth Day — 20 million people rallied for sake of the environment. It was a nationwide event, part protest and part educational campaign. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign participated, too, under the organization of a newly registered student group called SECS.