Day: January 11, 2018

Nearly 100 Climate Action Plans for National Parks Removed From Website

Read the full story at EcoWatch.

Climate change is a major challenge to America’s beloved National Parks—from hotter, drier conditions that can spark intense wildfires that can permanently alter Yosemite’s landscapes, to sea level rise triggered by warming temperatures that threaten the Everglades.

In fact, nearly 100 parks have been preparing for and adapting to the damaging effects of climate change for years under the National Park Service’s “Climate Friendly Parks Program” (CFP). However, you’ll no longer be able to easily find these well-documented efforts to reduce emissions and move to more sustainable operations—that’s because their work has been completely scrubbed from the Climate Friendly Parks Program website, a watchdog group has found.

Nearly 100 documents describing national parks’ climate action plans have been removed from the website, according to a new report from the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), which has been closely tracking the Trump administration’s removal of climate change information from federal websites.

In ToxicDocs.org, a Treasure Trove of Industry Secrets

Read the full story at Undark.

The historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner took notice when, in 2004, a colleague wrote a 41-page report lambasting their work. The two New York professors (Markowitz at the City University of New York and Rosner at Columbia University) had spent decades working together at the intersection of history and public health, and much of their research focused on the consequences of corporate wrongdoing, so attacks weren’t uncommon — or even surprising.

This one, though, was particularly scathing.

Philip Scranton, a historian at Rutgers University, had taken aim at their book “Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution” — and at Markowitz in particular. Scranton accused him of everything from “overgeneralization and failure to corroborate” to “selectively appropriat[ing] information,” among a list of other alleged misdeeds.

Rosner and Markowitz’s peers quickly came to their defense, calling Scranton a “hired gun” for the chemical industry. (Scranton had in fact been hired by a group of companies to review two chapters in the book, along with a report Markowitz had prepared for a court case involving job-related chemical exposure.) But Rosner and Markowitz knew there would be more rounds to the stressful, time consuming, and seemingly never-ending fight.

“We didn’t know how to respond,” said Rosner.

One of Rosner’s undergraduate students, Merlin Chowkwanyun, gave them the answer. Why not, he asked, just post all of their source documents — secret company memos, the minutes of internal meetings, industry letters, and more — online and let people decide for themselves? Rosner and Markowitz agreed. Together with Chowkwanyun, they started by creating a website and uploading the maligned chapters of “Deceit and Denial,” with each footnote linked to the original supporting documents in their entirety.

“It was an incredibly liberating moment,” Rosner recalls, adding that Chowkwanyun had “taught two old guys the possibilities of what can be done with the web.”

Since then, Chowkwanyun has expanded that early effort into what is now called ToxicDocs.org, a searchable public archive of the many documents that Rosner and Markowitz have gathered in their research over the years, as well as an ever-expanding host of others. The site officially launched last Friday with an initial 20 million pages of material focused on six toxic substances: asbestos, benzene, lead, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), polyvinyl chloride, and silica, and millions more pages are coming. “There is no other toxic substances database like this,” said Chowkwanyun, who now teaches at Columbia.

Agricultural fungicide attracts honey bees, study finds

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

When given the choice, honey bee foragers prefer to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.

Understanding Green Tribology

Read the full story from AZO Cleantech.

The study of tribology combines both the studies of science and technology to understand how surfaces interact in a relative motion and how these interactions can cause a variety of subsequent effects to the materials involved. These surface interactions can often result in friction, wear and corrosion to the materials, all of which can cost companies and governments large amounts of money each year to repair. As the rise of new technologies and experimental techniques have lead to more specific characterizations within the field of tribology, green tribology has also recently been introduced as an emerging aspect of this important field.

After Devastating Cyclone, Fiji Farmers Plant For A Changed Climate

Read the full story from NPR.

Scientists say warmer ocean temperatures in the South Pacific are creating more intense storms and flooding. Low-lying islands like Fiji’s face some of the most severe effects of climate change. As the country begins to feel these effects, farmers there are re-thinking how they plant.

Why airports are embracing renewable energy

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

The largest airports in the world have the land areas and populations of small cities. They operate around the clock and move tens of millions of passengers each year. They are constantly looking for ways to source the power needed to keep their energy-hungry operations on track.

For an increasing number of hubs, this means at least partially switching to renewable energy.

Supreme Court rejects case over EPA coal jobs reports

Read the full story in The Hill.

The Supreme Court Monday declined to hear a coal mining company’s appeal arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must regularly report on the impact to coal jobs from its regulations.

Murray Energy Corp.’s case was one of dozens the court declined to hear without any explanation.

Climate change is turning 99 percent of these baby sea turtles female

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Green sea turtles do not develop into males or females due to sex chromosomes, like humans and most other mammals do. Instead, the temperature outside a turtle egg influences the sex of the growing embryo. And this unusual biological quirk, scientists say, endangers their future in a warmer world.

Already, some sea turtle populations are so skewed by heat that the young reptiles are almost entirely female, according to a new report in the journal Current Biology.

Government Scientists Say A Controversial Pesticide Is Killing Endangered Salmon

Read the full story from NPR.

The federal government’s top fisheries experts say that three widely used pesticides — including the controversial insecticide chlorpyrifos — are jeopardizing the survival of many species of salmon, as well as orcas that feed on those salmon.

Environmental Sustainability Resource Center launches Sustainable Business Training Webinar Series

The Environmental Sustainability Resource Center invites you to register for the upcoming Sustainable Business Training Series, a four-part series of webinars designed to educate commercial and industrial facilities on the business case for environmental sustainability, identify building blocks for a successful program and provide examples and resources to help turn actions into outcomes.

The FREE webinars will take place from noon-1 pm Central on the first Tuesday of each month from February through May 2018. Registration is now open for the first webinar.

Webinar 1: Practical Approaches to Source Reduction                                             
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 noon-1 pm CST
Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/9097146290799903235

Topics

  • Waste minimization
  • The “Cost of Doing Nothing”
  • Chemical substitution, reuse and waste exchanges
  • Evaluation tools and resources
  • Success story presentation
  • Technical assistance

Featured Presenter

Nicole Krenner, Corporate Sustainability Officer with 3M Corporation, will share information about the company’s sustainability program and initiatives.

Environmental Sustainability Resource Center (ESRC) Presenters

  • Lissa McCracken, Executive Director
  • Cheryl Eakle, Senior Engineer
  • Mark Toda, Senior Engineer

Benefits of Participating in the Webinars

  1. Identify low-cost/no-cost opportunities to stimulate business success through sustainability.
  2. Enhance environmental performance.
  3. Build an organizational culture that embraces and succeeds through sustainability.
  4. Observe real-world examples of implementation.
  5. Obtain tools and resources to assist sustainability efforts.
  6. Learn about technical assistance available.

Remaining Webinar Series Schedule

Webinar 2: Basics of Energy Management
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 noon-1 pm CST
No-cost/low-cost solutions to energy management.

Webinar 3: Influence of the Corporate Culture
Tuesday, April 3, 2018 noon-1 pm CST
Management influences to affect change in employee perception of and participation in sustainability initiatives.

Webinar 4: Developing an Action Plan & Success Stories
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 noon-1 pm CST
Utilizing an Action Plan to stay on target and achieve success.

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