Day: October 30, 2018

Webinar: Supporting DoD Installation Sustainability Through Informed Stormwater Management

November 1, 2018, 12:00 PM ET (9:00 AM PT)
Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_07ReRfIpTFyLiIHoCU3m5A

“Demonstration and Validation of a Linked Watershed-Riverine Modeling System for DoD Installations” by  Dr. Billy Johnson

The objective of this project was to demonstrate and validate a linked watershed and riverine modeling system. The system helps land managers assess outcomes resulting from military activities and support installation sustainability through informed watershed management of water, water quality, contaminants, and land-use impacts. Three watersheds were used: (1) House Creek Watershed (Fort Hood, TX), (2) Calleguas Creek Watershed (NAVFAC Ventura County, CA), and (3) Patuxent Watershed (Fort Meade, MD). The Hydrologic Simulation Program Fortran (HSPF) and the River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) were used to simulate watershed processes and riverine processes, respectively. HSPF simulates for extended periods of time the hydrologic and associated water quality processes on pervious and impervious land surfaces and in streams and well-mixed impoundments. HEC-RAS system computes one dimensional hydrodynamics, sediment, and water quality. Benefits can be derived from the ability of the linked modeling system to determine contaminant loads entering and leaving DoD installations. In certain locations, this can be used to identify to what extent the installation is responsible for impaired waters. In cases where mitigation needs to take place, the system will help land managers better assess which scenarios will provide the most environmental benefits for the least financial cost.

“Identifying the Most Cost Effective Modeling Approach Using the Stormwater Management Optimization Toolbox (SMOT)” by  Ms. Heidi Howard

The Stormwater Management Optimization Toolbox (SMOT) was demonstrated and validated for its capacity to provide one-stop assistance for installations to comply with stormwater regulatory requirements, most specifically Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) Section 438. DoD installations may be subject to National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program, as well as EISA 438. Demonstrating compliance with these regulations often involves modeling analyses of various best management practices (BMPs) and/or low impact development (LID) strategies, including an assessment of the construction costs and long-term operation and maintenance (O&M) needs to maintain the intendent functionality of the BMPs and LID. SMOT is intended to rapidly identify the most cost-effective stormwater management approach for DoD installations to ensure that applicable regulatory requirements are met. SMOT consists of three major components: (1) a Model Selection Tool for choosing the most cost-effective modeling approach, (2) a Detailed Modeling Platform to execute the modeling analysis, and (3) a BMP Sizing Tool for sizing, tracking and reporting of BMPs to be implemented at an installation. This webinar will discuss the demonstration, validation, and how SMOT can be used as an installation-wide tool by installation planners or engineers with minimal technical assistance.

Charlotte, N.C., Launches New Economic Model

Read the full story at Waste360.

The city of Charlotte, N.C., announced its plan to launch Circular Charlotte, a new, regenerative economic model designed to produce zero waste and to generate hundreds of jobs and significant revenue.

The city worked with Metabolic and Envision Charlotte to create the study “Circular Charlotte: Toward a Zero Waste and Inclusive City.” The study analyzed Charlotte’s waste stream and found Charlotte’s 900,000 tons of annual waste represent a potential residual value of roughly $111 million per year. By adopting a comprehensive waste diversion strategy, Charlotte found it could create hundreds of jobs by harnessing material instead of dumping it into ever-growing landfills.

How much is your utility charging solar customers?

Use the tool from the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Across the sunny South, people are increasingly turning to homegrown, affordable rooftop solar power to meet their energy needs. Although some utilities are designing thoughtful programs and policies that encourage rooftop solar investments, others are finding ways to undermine, and, in some cases, completely put the brakes on solar’s emergence as a feasible, cost-effective choice for customers.

Find out if your utility is a maker or braker when it comes to giving you access to clean, affordable solar energy.

What a massive database of retracted papers reveals about science publishing’s ‘death penalty’

Read the full story in Science.

Nearly a decade ago, headlines highlighted a disturbing trend in science: The number of articles retracted by journals had increased 10-fold during the previous 10 years. Fraud accounted for some 60% of those retractions; one offender, anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt, had racked up almost 90 retractions after investigators concluded he had fabricated data and committed other ethical violations. Boldt may have even harmed patients by encouraging the adoption of an unproven surgical treatment. Science, it seemed, faced a mushrooming crisis.

The alarming news came with some caveats. Although statistics were sketchy, retractions appeared to be relatively rare, involving only about two of every 10,000 papers. Sometimes the reason for the withdrawal was honest error, not deliberate fraud. And whether suspect papers were becoming more common—or journals were just getting better at recognizing and reporting them—wasn’t clear.

Still, the surge in retractions led many observers to call on publishers, editors, and other gatekeepers to make greater efforts to stamp out bad science. The attention also helped catalyze an effort by two longtime health journalists—Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, who founded the blog Retraction Watch, based in New York City—to get more insight into just how many scientific papers were being withdrawn, and why. They began to assemble a list of retractions.

That list, formally released to the public this week as a searchable database, is now the largest and most comprehensive of its kind. It includes more than 18,000 retracted papers and conference abstracts dating back to the 1970s (and even one paper from 1756 involving Benjamin Franklin). It is not a perfect window into the world of retractions. Not all publishers, for instance, publicize or clearly label papers they have retracted, or explain why they did so. And determining which author is responsible for a paper’s fatal flaws can be difficult.

Still, the data trove has enabled Science, working with Retraction Watch, to gain unusual insight into one of scientific publishing’s most consequential but shrouded practices. Our analysis of about 10,500 retracted journal articles shows the number of retractions has continued to grow, but it also challenges some worrying perceptions that continue today. The rise of retractions seems to reflect not so much an epidemic of fraud as a community trying to police itself.

 

Yes, eating meat affects the environment, but cows are not killing the climate

Read the full story in The Conversation.

As the scale and impacts of climate change become increasingly alarming, meat is a popular target for action. Advocates urge the public to eat less meat to save the environment. Some activists have called for taxing meat to reduce consumption of it.

A key claim underlying these arguments holds that globally, meat production generates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector. However, this claim is demonstrably wrong, as I will show. And its persistence has led to false assumptions about the linkage between meat and climate change.

My research focuses on ways in which animal agriculture affects air quality and climate change. In my view, there are many reasons for either choosing animal protein or opting for a vegetarian selection. However, foregoing meat and meat products is not the environmental panacea many would have us believe. And if taken to an extreme, it also could have harmful nutritional consequences.

Pollution and children’s health

Philip J. Landrigan, Richard Fuller, Samantha Fisher, William A. Suk, Peter Sly, Thomas C. Chiles, Stephan Bose-O’Reilly (2019). “Pollution and children’s health.” Science of The Total Environment 650(2), 2389-2394. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.09.375

Highlights

  • Pollution was responsible in 2016 for 940,000 deaths in children, two-thirds under age 5.
  • 92% of pollution-related deaths in children occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Most are due to respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases caused by polluted air and water.
  • Pollution is linked also to multiple NCDs in children. These diseases are on the rise.
  • Pollution prevention is a major opportunity to prevent disease and improve children’s health.

Abstract

Findings

The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health found that pollution – air, water, soil, and chemical pollution – was responsible in 2016 for 940,000 deaths in children worldwide, two-thirds of them in children under the age of 5. Pollution is inequitably distributed, and the overwhelming majority of pollution-related deaths in children occurred in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most were due to respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases caused by polluted air and water.

Pollution is linked also to multiple non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in children including low birth weight, asthma, cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders, and these diseases are on the rise. The full impact of pollution, especially chemical pollution on the global burden of pediatric disease is not yet known, but almost certainly is undercounted because patterns of chemical exposure are not well charted and the potential toxicity of many chemical pollutants has not been characterized. The list of pediatric NCDs attributed to pollution will likely expand as the health effects of newer chemical pollutants are better defined and additional associations between pollution and disease are discovered.

Conclusion

Pollution prevention presents a major, largely unexploited opportunity to improve children’s health and prevent NCDs, especially in LMICs. Failure to incorporate pollution prevention into NCD control programs is a major missed opportunity for disease prevention.

Graphical abstract

pollution and children's health graphical abstract

 

This fleet of underwater robots will help citizen scientists make the case for ocean conservation

Read the full story in Fast Company.

OpenROV’s cheap robots help people explore their local waterways, and National Geographic is helping get them to more people so they can map their discoveries.

Protecting wetlands helps communities reduce damage from hurricanes and storms

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

2017 was the worst year on record for hurricane damage in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean from Harvey (PDF)Irma (PDF) and Maria (PDF). We had hoped for a reprieve this year, but less than a month after Hurricane Florence devastated communities across the Carolinas, Hurricane Michael has struck Florida.

Coastlines are being developed rapidly and intensely in the United States and worldwide. The population of central and south Florida, for example, has grown by 6 million since 1990. Many of these cities and towns face the brunt of damage from hurricanes. In addition, rapid coastal development is destroying natural ecosystems such as marshes, mangroves, oyster reefs and coral reefs — resources that help protect us from catastrophes.

In a unique partnership funded by Lloyd’s of London, we worked with colleagues in academia, environmental organizations and the insurance industry to calculate the financial benefits that coastal wetlands provide by reducing storm surge damages from hurricanes. Our study, published in 2017, found that this function is enormously valuable to local communities. It offers new evidence that protecting natural ecosystems is an effective way to reduce risks from coastal storms and flooding.

Coastal wetlands and flood damage reduction: A collaboration between academia, conservation and the risk industry.

Zero-waste stores pop up in the US, targeting shoppers tired of all the waste

Read the full story at CNBC.

Some market entrepreneurs see a solution in the biggest store change imaginable: designing waste out of grocery stores altogether by creating what are known as zero-waste grocery stores. Over the last decade, some retailers also started rethinking their waste footprint and designed stores that encourage customers to bring their own containers. The Refill Shoppe in Ventura California is one such store. The self-described “eco-conscious” shop sells bath, body and household liquids in bulk. In the food category some retailers, including The Filling Station In New York, have dedicated their entire store to selling just a few items in bulk. The Filling Station sells olive oil, vinegar, salt and beer that customers purchase using refillable containers.

While this refill model, which emphasizes reducing packaging waste, has worked for specialty shops, larger grocery stores are trying to figure out how to successfully apply this model to a zero-waste design. At the grocery retail level, a commitment to zero waste means aggressively reducing food and/or packaging waste.

Why do we demolish buildings instead of deconstructing them for reuse?

Read the full story from Ensia.

Dismantling buildings piece by piece to preserve the reusable parts within keeps materials out of landfills and creates more jobs than demolition.

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