Day: November 29, 2017

Europe gives controversial weed killer a 5-year lease on life

Read the full story in Science.

The world’s most popular herbicide can be used by European farmers for another 5 years. After several indecisive votes, a technical committee of the European Commission today approved a 5-year license renewal for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-Up weed killer and similar products. The license was scheduled to expire on 15 December.

Glyphosate is less toxic to mammals than other herbicides. But it became highly controversial in 2015 after it was deemed probably carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization. The European Food Safety Authority and other regulators have concluded it is safe to use.

Grist Fellowship Program

Want to grow as a journalist while absorbing a universe of green knowledge? Apply for the Grist Fellowship Program.

The Grist Fellowship Program is an opportunity to hone your skills at a national news outlet and deepen your understanding of environmental issues. We’re looking for early-career journalists with a variety of skills, from traditional reporting to multimedia whizbangery. We will offer exposure to the leading sustainability thinkers and theories of our time, real-world experience at a fast-paced news site, and the occasional French bulldog in a Triceratops costume. Grist fellows have gone on to land jobs at Mother JonesThe New York TimesPacific Standard, Oceana, Greentech Media, and The Stranger, among other outlets.

Grist is an independent nonprofit media organization that shapes the country’s environmental conversations, making green second nature for our monthly audience of 2.5 million and growing. At Grist, green isn’t about hugging trees or hiking — it’s about using humor and straight talk to connect big issues like climate change to real people and how they live, work, and play.

For the spring term, which begins in March 2018, we are offering three fellowships:

The inevitability of chemical substitutions

Download the document (free registration required).

It’s only logical that any time hazardous chemicals can be replaced by those potentially less dangerous that they should be.

However, because of increasingly stringent regulations, chemical substitutions are not only practical, but inevitable. Even so, many facilities struggle to implement these concepts, despite how essential they are.

In this white paper, you will learn more about ways that the industry can make changes faster, safer and more effectively, including:

  • R&D labs selecting chemical products with greater care
  • Manufacturing plants proactively identifying and eliminating risks
  • R&D teams and plant managers collaborating on substitutions in a variety of ways

Kroger’s new private label floral line is about to bloom

Read the full story at Food Dive.

Kroger is introducing a premium and sustainable store brand floral line called BLOOM HAUS, which will debut in time for the holidays, according to a company statement. The new line carries the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, which means plants have been grown and harvested using sustainable and socially responsible practices.

Tapping sewage as a source of useful materials

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Sewage treatment plants are chemical factories in waiting. By combining engineering expertise with chemistry and biology, plant operators can convert the solid sludge they generate into an array of useful chemical products. Some wastewater treatment plants already make phosphate and cellulose. But this is no cake walk. There are major hurdles still to jump, and project failure is very much a reality.

With prodding, retailers push chemical policies

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Advocacy groups’ ratings prompt more companies to disclose and reduce chemicals of concern

Oil and gas industry is causing Texas earthquakes, a ‘landmark’ study suggests

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

An unnatural number of earthquakes hit Texas in the past decade, and the region’s seismic activity is increasing. In 2008, two earthquakes stronger than magnitude 3 struck the state. Eight years later, 12 did.

Natural forces trigger most earthquakes. But humans are causing earthquakes, too, with mining and dam construction the most frequent suspects. There has been a recent increase in natural gas extraction — including fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, but other techniques as well — which produces a lot of wastewater. To get rid of it, the water is injected deep into the ground. When wastewater works its way into dormant faults, the thinking goes, the water’s pressure nudges the ancient cracks. Pent-up tectonic stress releases and the ground shakes.

But for any given earthquake, it is virtually impossible to tell whether humans or nature triggered the quake. There are no known characteristics of a quake, not in magnitude nor in the shape of its seismic waves, that provide hints to its origins.

“It’s been a head-scratching period for scientists,” said Maria Beatrice Magnani, who studies earthquakes at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Along with a team of researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, Magnani, an author of a new report published Friday in the journal Science Advances, attempted to better identify what has been causing the rash of Texas quakes.

Job opening: Industry Relations Coordinator 4 (Technical Adviser) — PennTAP

The Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) housed within Penn State’s Outreach and Online Education organization is seeking an experienced Technical Adviser that brings the combination of technical training and business development skills to the organization. This individual will primarily assist manufacturers throughout the Commonwealth of PA with reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and act as a liaison to connect these entities to the vast resources available within Penn State.

Additional responsibilities will be to promote and market all of PennTAP’s service offerings to prospective clients. As a Technical Adviser, you will be responsible for identifying energy savings opportunities at manufacturers and effectively communicate those opportunities to facility representatives.

You will be responsible for, but not limited to:

  • identifying opportunities,
  • writing client reports,
  • client relationship building,
  • student engagement and
  • serving as a PennTAP liaison to Penn State faculty.

You will be expected to work closely with Penn State students to provide them with experiential learning activities outside the classroom, while also connecting manufacturers’ needs to Penn State research, faculty and facilities.

Specific training, education, and experience in the areas of energy efficiency is preferred. Competencies critical to success are:

  • knowledge of, or ability to learn the main sources of energy reductions;
  • results-oriented team player that also works well independently;
  • strong project management skills with an ability to organize a dynamic workload;
  • ability to establish and maintain professional relationships with peers, vendors, and clients; and
  • ability to analyze, prioritize and solve unique problems.

Typically requires a Master’s degree or higher plus three years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. This position requires that you operate a motor vehicle as part of your duties. Some overnight travel required. A valid driver’s license and successful completion of a motor vehicle records check will be required in addition to standard background checks.

We seek candidates who are able to demonstrate experience and ability to advance Outreach and Online Education’s diversity initiative. This is a fixed-term appointment funded for one year from date of hire with excellent possibility of re-funding.

Energy myths

Read the full story from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Ever argue about which way to run your ceiling fan in the winter? Or wonder how much energy you are saving with your fireplace? Or whether Uncle John is right about bad shingles causing the ice dams on your roof?

We all use energy every day to heat, power, and light our homes. And using energy wisely can help slow the rate of climate change, have a positive impact on local air and water quality, and help our individual—and collective—wallets.

But there are many “energy myths” that can lead us down pathways that are a waste of time or money—and sometimes are even dangerous. Here are a few for you to consider.

Funding Opportunity: Energy Frontier Research Centers

Read the full solicitation.

Pre-Application Due Date: January 31, 2018 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time (A Pre-Application is required)

Application Due Date: April 11, 2018 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) announces a re-competition of the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) and encourages both new and renewal applications. Applications will be required to address priority research directions identified by the series of “Basic Research Needs” reports, the scientific grand challenges
identified in the report Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination, and the opportunities described in the report Challenges at the Frontiers of Matter and Energy: Transformative Opportunities for Discovery Science. All of these reports are described in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Funding will be competitively awarded to the successful Energy Frontier Research Center applications selected by Federal officials, based on a rigorous merit review process as detailed in Section V of this FOA.


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