Green Upgrade: How California Is Pioneering ‘Energy Justice’

Read the full story at e360.

California has the world’s fourth largest greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, which raises billions of dollars for the state. An innovative project is directing some of that revenue to bringing renewable power and energy efficiency to some of the state’s most disadvantaged communities.

The Search for Flying Dragons on the Prairie

Read the full post from the INHS Population and Community Ecology (PACE) Lab.

The Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana), a dark bodied dragonfly with bright green eyes, is a federally endangered species that lives in spring fed marshes and sedge meadows. The biggest threat to the species is habitat loss and currently the only known populations are in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

National Academies develops environmental health initiative

Read the full story in Environmental Factor.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held a third public meeting July 11 for the Environmental Health Matters Initiative (EHMI). The initiative seeks to strengthen environmental health strategies across the three academies, to better address the complex factors involved in health effects of exposures. This particular meeting was aimed at refining the scope of the initiative.

Transportation Reimagined: A Roadmap for Clean and Modern Transportation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Region

Download the document.

Seven states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic plus Washington, D.C. have pledged to work together to rebuild their transportation system for the 21st century. Given the looming threat of climate change, it is clear that this system must be stronger, cleaner, and more equitable. This report offers a blueprint for such a system. In it, NRDC recommends walkable, bikeable streets and expanded, accessible public transit. We also recommend expanding electric cars, buses, trains, and even garbage trucks—with the charging infrastructure to keep them going. Lastly, we implore decisionmakers to prioritize vulnerable and historically marginalized communities, including the elderly, low-income communities, and communities of color.

Modernizing the region’s transportation system will require strong commitments and investments from regional, state, and local leaders. Businesses, government agencies, community organizations, and residents must be included in the discussion. But while the scale of our transportation challenges is large, the benefits of clean and modern transportation are enormous and well worth the effort. We encourage policymakers, residents, and businesses to think boldly. If done right, the region’s transportation modernization can become a beacon to the rest of the country and the world.

EPA reports static recycling rate, framing changes for Trump era

Read the full story in WasteDive.

The EPA reported a slight increase in the national recycling rate — up to 34.7% from 34.6% — based on 2015 data in the latest Advancing Sustainable Materials Management report. The agency estimates that out of the 262 million tons of MSW generated, 52.5% went to landfills, 25.8% was recycled, 12.8% was combusted via WTE facilities and 8.9% was composted.

Based on percentage of generation, lead-acid batteries, corrugated boxes, steel cans and newspapers had the highest recycling rates. The report also noted a small uptick in yard waste and food composting (not including backyard operations) and a decrease in the weight of consumer electronics recycled.

Multiple prior iterations of this report cited the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and “toxic chemicals” as well as the fact that recycling “conserves resources for future generations” as benefits. Those mentions were all missing from the 2015 report. A new section on job creation and tax revenue was included.

Honolulu airport is about to get thousands of new solar panels

Read the full story from CNBC.

It’s a state known for its sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and warm weather. Now, authorities in Hawaii are looking to harness some of the sunshine that makes it such a popular holiday destination.

In a statement Tuesday, Hawaii’s Department of Transportation said it would install 4,260 new solar modules at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). The panels will be located on the seventh floor of the airport’s Terminal 1 parking garage.

The Freshest Ideas Are in Small Grocery Stores

Read the full story in the New York Times.

As big supermarkets struggle, a new crop of local groceries are innovating to serve niche audiences and advance social causes.

Internal Drivers and Performance Consequences of Small Firm Green Business Strategy: The Moderating Role of External Forces

Leonidou, L.C., Christodoulides, P., Kyrgidou, L.P. et al. “Internal Drivers and Performance Consequences of Small Firm Green Business Strategy: The Moderating Role of External Forces.” Journal of Business Ethics 140: 585.

Abstract: Growing detrimental effects on the bio-physical environment have been responsible for a large number of small firms to adopt a more strategic stance toward exploiting green-related opportunities. This article aims to shed light on how internal company factors help to formulate a green business strategy among small manufacturing firms, and how this, in turn, influences their competitive advantage and performance. Based on data received from 153 small Cypriot manufacturers, we propose and test a conceptual model anchored on the Resource-based View of the firm. The findings underscore the critical role of both organizational resources and capabilities in pursuing a green business strategy. The adoption of this strategy was more evident in the case of firms operating in more harmful, as opposed to less harmful, industries. The implementation of a green business strategy was found to generate a positional competitive advantage, with this association becoming stronger under conditions of high regulatory intensity, high market dynamism, high public concern, and high competitive intensity. It was also revealed that this competitive advantage is conducive to gaining heightened market and financial performance. Our study makes a fivefold contribution: it injects a theoretical perspective into a relatively atheoretic field, underlines the role of organizational resources/capabilities as drivers of eco-friendly initiatives, highlights the often neglected strategic aspects of small firms’ ecological business activities, stresses the contingent role of external forces in moderating the positive impact of small firm green business strategy on competitive advantage, and focuses on the performance implications of the small firm’s engagement in environmental operations.

Toward A Place‐Based Understanding of Business Sustainability: The Role of Green Competitors and Green Locales in Firms’ Voluntary Environmental Engagement

Jennifer DeBoer, Rajat Panwar, Jorge Rivera (2017). “Toward A Place‐Based Understanding of Business Sustainability: The Role of Green Competitors and Green Locales in Firms’ Voluntary Environmental Engagement.” Business Strategy & the Environment 26(7), 940-955.

Abstract: Management research has extensively considered who, what, when, why, which and how aspects pertaining to firms’ voluntary environmental practices, yet the where aspect, which would consider the role of a firm’s location on its environmental practices, has received remarkably less attention. We explore three research questions relating social and physical attributes of a firm’s location with its engagement in a voluntary environmental program (VEP). Drawing on a sample of hotels participating in a Costa Rican VEP, we find that the number of VEP certified competitors (i.e. green competitors) and firm proximity to a sacrosanct environment (i.e. a green locale) are positively related to a firm’s level of VEP engagement. We also find an interaction effect such that the relationship between the number of VEP certified competitors and the level of VEP engagement is positively moderated by firm proximity to a green locale. We argue that firms’ voluntary environmental engagement can be enhanced by developing green clusters amid green corridors

Manure slipping through (soil) cracks

Read the full story from the American Society of Agronomy.

Add just enough fertilizer, and crops thrive. Add too much, and you may end up with contaminated surface and groundwater.

Excess nutrients from farms can be transported to groundwater reservoirs by water starting at the surface and flowing through soil. But the flow of water through soil is a “highly dynamic process,” says Genevieve Ali, a researcher at the University of Manitoba. “It can vary from year to year, season to season, or even rainstorm to rainstorm.”

It can also fluctuate depending on soil type and even if organic additions, like manure, are applied.

Ali is lead author of a new study that shows water infiltrates deeper into cracking clay (vertisolic soils) when liquid hog manure is applied.