Here are some of the latest steps states are taking to deal with PFAS water contamination

Read the full story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As Pennsylvania samples drinking water sources around the state for potential PFAS contamination, other states are also taking action to deal with the toxic substances.

Causes of multidecadal climate changes

Read the full story from the University of Maryland.

A new reconstruction of global average surface temperature change over the past 2,000 years has identified the main causes for decade-scale climate changes. The new temperature reconstruction also largely agrees with climate model simulations of the same time period. This suggests that current climate models accurately represent the contributions of various influences on global climate change — and are capable of correctly predicting future climate warming.

Affordable Clean Energy rule ‘worse than doing nothing’

Read the full story in Physics World.

You’d think that making coal-fired power stations more efficient would benefit the planet. But the policy currently proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency will likely drive up greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study in Environmental Research Letters (ERL).

How Hydroponic School Gardens Can Cultivate Food Justice, Year-Round

Read the full story from NPR.

After a full day of school a few weeks ago, 12-year-old Rose Quigley donned gloves and quickly picked bunches of fresh lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, mint and oregano. But she didn’t have to leave her school in Brooklyn, N.Y., or even go outdoors to do it.

Quigley is one of dozens of students at Brownsville Collaborative Middle School who in the past year built a high-tech, high-yield farm inside a third-floor classroom. They decided what to grow, then planted seeds and harvested dozens of pounds of produce weekly.

The vegetables never stop coming because the crops are grown hydroponically — indoors, on floor-to-ceiling shelves that hold seedlings and plants sprouting from fiber plugs stuck in trays, each fed by nutrient-enriched water and lit by LED lamps. The students provide weekly produce for their cafeteria’s salad bar and other dishes.

EPA Registers Long-Term Uses for Sulfoxaflor

Read the full story at JDSupra.

On July 12, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a Decision Memorandum that it has registered new uses and restored previously registered uses for sulfoxaflor.  EPA has approved the use of sulfoxaflor on alfalfa, corn, cacao, grains (millet, oats), pineapple, sorghum, teff, teosinte, tree plantations, and restored the uses on citrus cotton, cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, watermelons, some gourds), soybeans, and strawberries.  EPA states that substantial data show that when sulfoxaflor is used according to the label, it poses no significant risk to human health and poses a lower risk to non-target wildlife, including pollinators, than other registered alternative products.  EPA’s registration decision is available at www.regulations.gov in Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0889-0570.

With Little Training, Machine-Learning Algorithms Can Uncover Hidden Scientific Knowledge

Read the full story from Berkeley Lab.

Sure, computers can be used to play grandmaster-level chess, but can they make scientific discoveries? Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown that an algorithm with no training in materials science can scan the text of millions of papers and uncover new scientific knowledge.

Walking the walk: Helen Waquiu at work

Read the full story from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Helen Waquiu has been known to many at the MPCA as a specialist in air quality, but she will soon be stepping into new shoes as the agency’s first Director of Public Engagement and Tribal Liaison. The dual role, created by MPCA Commissioner Bishop with support from Governor Tim Walz, will focus on engaging Minnesotans around the state on environmental issues, policies, and regulations, as well as connecting with Minnesota’s eleven sovereign Tribal Nations. 

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on “Benign by Design: Innovations in Sustainable Chemistry”

Read the full story at JDSupra.

On July 25, 2019, the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing on “Benign by Design: Innovations in Sustainable Chemistry.” Subcommittee Chair Haley Stevens (D-MI) opened the hearing, stating that she looked forward to a discussion about the market drivers for sustainability in the chemical industry, the integration of sustainability in chemistry education, and the role of the federal government in supporting research and commercialization of these innovations. During the hearing, Subcommittee members and witnesses discussed the bipartisan Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act (H.R 2051), introduced by Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-IL). The bill is intended to improve coordination of federal activities, including research and development (R&D) of more sustainable chemicals, processes, and systems. The bill also supports improved education and training in sustainable chemistry and expands opportunities for the federal government to partner with industry to bring innovations to market.

Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Farmers are used to dealing with weather, but climate change is making it harder by altering temperature and rainfall patterns, as in this year’s unusually cool and wet spring in the central U.S. In a recently published study, I worked with other scientists to see whether climate change was measurably affecting crop productivity and global food security.

To analyze these questions, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment spent four years collecting information on crop productivity from around the world. We focused on the top 10 global crops that provide the bulk of consumable food calories: Maize (corn), rice, wheat, soybeans, oil palm, sugarcane, barley, rapeseed (canola), cassava and sorghum. Roughly 83 percent of consumable food calories come from just these 10 sources. Other than cassava and oil palm, all are important U.S. crops.

Picturing Extinction

Read the full story in The Revelator.

Photographer Marc Schlossman explores the collection of the Field Museum to showcase endangered and extinct species and tell their fascinating stories.