Pesticide exposure can dramatically impact bees’ social behaviors, study shows

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Using an innovative robotic platform to observe bees’ behavior, researchers showed that, following exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides — the most commonly-used class of pesticides in agriculture — bees spent less time nursing larvae and were less social that other bees. Additional tests showed that exposure impaired bees ability to warm the nest, and to build insulating wax caps around the colony.

To Keep Old Growth Out of New Shirts, Fashion Turns to Technology

Read the full story from Bloomberg Quint.

No one dies for fashion in greater numbers than, it turns out, the trees. More than 150 million are cleared every year, shipped around the world, then pulped and processed into viscose—a.k.a. rayon, the cheap, silk-ish fabric most mass-market brands can’t survive without.

For the growing number of apparel companies promising a more ecologically sound manufacturing process, this presents a problem. The viscose industry relies on wood from around the world, including some areas that have been designated as ecologically sensitive. But by the time the pulp becomes rayon (typically in China), it’s nearly impossible to know whether it originated in American tree farms or Indonesian old growth forests. Unless someone’s paying attention.

A blacklist of the world’s top 120 coal plant developers

Read the full story at

Even as risks mount for coal worldwide, nearly 1,400 new coal plants or units are planned or under development in 59 countries. If built, these plants would increase coal power capacity by 33%, adding more than 670,000MW to the global coal plant fleet.

Who exactly is developing these new coal plants? German environmental NGO Urgewald and partner NGOs have released a new database at that details the world’s top 120 coal plant developers. The list is meant for the finance industry, which controls how many of the planned, announced, or permitted new coal projects actually move forward – and which has taken a growing interest in the topic.

New Smithsonian Study Links Declines in Suburban Backyard Birds to Presence of Nonnative Plants

Read the full story from the National Zoo.

Insect-eating birds that depend on the availability of high-calorie, high-protein cuisine — namely caterpillars and spiders — during the breeding season to feed their young are finding the menu severely lacking in backyards landscaped with even a small proportion of nonnative plants, according to a new study from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. This reduction of food availability has led to a decline in the breeding success and population growth of the Carolina chickadee, the study found.

Method wants you to stop buying plastic soap bottles

Read the full story in Fast Company.

The soap company’s new glass bottle is only available at SFMOMA (for now), but it’s making the point that shifting to refillable packaging is the future.


UTSA creates web-based open source dashboard of North Pole

Read the full story from the University of Texas San Antonio.

It’s called ArcCI (or Arctic CyberInfrastructure) and promises to combine the thousands of images that have been taken along the years of the Arctic Ocean into one global database that will help scientists and the world see the physical changes occurring in the region including ice loss. The hope is that this web-based repository will allow researchers to spend more time analyzing information rather than just collecting and processing data.


Individual Waste Reduction Model (iWARM) Tool

The Individual Waste Reduction Model (iWARM) tool is based on the Waste Reduction Model (WARM), but is intended for the individual users rather than a business of organization. The iWARM tool is a downloadable Microsoft Exel file that can be used to find out how much energy is saved by recycling small quantities of common waste materials. The tools illustrates the impact of recycling by translating the amount of energy saved into the amount of time an appliance can be powered. The tool also displays the results in a graph and provides assumptions, calculations and conversions.

EPA used data from the iWARM model to create the Save Energy by Recycling web widget. This simplified, interactive widget allows you to choose a recyclable (aluminum can, glass bottle, plastic bottle, weekly magazine and a plastic grocery bag) and then choose an appliance (air conditioner, hair dryer, laptop computer and 60W equivalent compact fluorescent light bulb or CFL) to find out how long that appliance can be powered for by recycling the material chosen. Embed the widget on your web site to help people determine the environmental impact of recycling specific household items.

AMO Supports Eight Subtopic Areas for Small Business Research and Development Projects

The Energy Department recently announced 34 topic areas for new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research and development projects. Through the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019 Phase I, Release 2, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will provide up to $20 million for 12 topics, of which eight topic areas and approximately $3 million will be supported by EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO). SBIR and STTR programs create pathways for AMO to engage with the private sector to advance scientific discoveries and develop and commercialize manufacturing solutions.

AMO will fund four of the 12 subtopics – (1) manufacturing cybersecurity; (2) atomic precision for gaseous separations; (3) covetic processing of critical materials and strategic materials; and (4) electrochemical recycling electronic constituents of value – and will partner with EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, Geothermal Technologies Office, and Fuel Cell Technologies Office on four other topic areas.

Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. Congress created the SBIR and STTR programs to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies. DOE developed Technology Transfer Opportunity subtopics as a way for small businesses to partner with national laboratories on research and development needed to speed commercialization of national laboratory inventions. Additional information on the DOE SBIR and STTR programs is available here.

More information about the FY 2019 Phase I, Release 2 topics is available here.

EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports early-stage research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security.

SEDAC Energy Smart Tips: Wastewater Treatment Plants

Download the document.

Nationally, the energy used by water and wastewater facilities accounts for 35% of the typical U.S. municipal energy budget, with electricity usage accounting for 25-40% of operating budgets for these facilities (NYSERDA, 2008).

The good news is that there are lots of ways to substantially decrease energy usage in these facilities. SEDAC has analyzed dozens of wastewater treatment facilities, helping them select the most energy-efficient options, both for their pocketbook and for the environment.

While wastewater treatment plants can benefit from many of the same strategies that make other buildings more efficient (LED lighting, HVAC controls and maintenance), this brochure focuses on the unique strategies wastewater treatment plants can adopt to save energy and money.

Former Ikea boss Steve Howard: Big businesses must go all-in on sustainability

Read the full story at

Ikea’s former chief sustainability officer Steve Howard has urged today’s business leaders to be bold and set 100% targets to achieve a sustainable future in the face of rising global megatrends.