St. Louis Park Middle School students will help build solar devices for children in Kenya

Read the full story in the Sun Sailor.

St. Louis Park Middle School will be one of 11 educational institutions that leads students in building solar suitcases for their peers in Kenya.

The local students, along with students in other participating schools and after-school programs, will take on the project during the upcoming school year.

They will learn about solar power and engineering while building 12-volt DC We Share Solar Suitcases, according to a program statement. The devices will be used to provide electricity for more than 40,000 students studying at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya, the statement adds. Wells Fargo is funding the project in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

Penn State plots new course for on-campus green infrastructure

Read the full story in Stormwater Report.

It’s easy to make small, incremental changes.

In the world of stormwater, that might mean installing a rain garden or green roof. And while the little changes can help, it’s the big plans that make the most significant differences.

That’s what Hong Wu, assistant professor of landscape architecture at Pennsylvania State University (PSU; State College) had in mind when she proposed a comprehensive water quality improvement plan for the university. Her vision is to make PSU a national leader in green stormwater infrastructure.

Tweet success? Scientific communication correlates with increased citations in Ecology and Conservation

Lamb CT, Gilbert SL, Ford AT. 2018. Tweet success? Scientific communication correlates with increased citations in Ecology and Conservation. PeerJ 6:e4564

Abstract: Science communication is seen as critical for the disciplines of ecology and conservation, where research products are often used to shape policy and decision making. Scientists are increasing their online media communication, via social media and news. Such media engagement has been thought to influence or predict traditional metrics of scholarship, such as citation rates.

Here, we measure the association between citation rates and the Altmetric Attention Score—an indicator of the amount and reach of the attention an article has received—along with other forms of bibliometric performance (year published, journal impact factor, and article type).

We found that Attention Score was positively correlated with citation rates. However, in recent years, we detected increasing media exposure did not relate to the equivalent citations as in earlier years; signalling a diminishing return on investment. Citations correlated with journal impact factors up to ∼13, but then plateaued, demonstrating that maximizing citations does not require publishing in the highest-impact journals.

We conclude that ecology and conservation researchers can increase exposure of their research through social media engagement and, simultaneously, enhance their performance under traditional measures of scholarly activity.

Groups Aim to Make Recycling at Convenience Stores Convenient

Read the full story in Waste360.

A new guide from NACS and CMI offers tips for improving current practices and a checklist to help retailers reduce contamination in their recycling bins.

An assessment of sustainability in Jefferson County public schools (Kentucky)

Download the document.

Schools play a vital role in preparing the next generation of citizens to be active, engaged, creative thinkers and problem-solvers. Schools are also large institutions in their communities, employing many people and spending large sums of money. What happens in schools has an impact on their surrounding communities. Human behaviors are having a significant impact on our planet and changes in our society are affecting the sense of safety and security of our citizens. These are aspects of sustainability that schools need to begin addressing. This research looks at sustainability practices in a large urban school district to document current practices and to offer recommendations for the future. The research was conducted using semi-structured interviews of administrators and archival data. We found that the school district is consistently working to improve sustainability practices in operations but does little to engage students and teachers in educating for sustainability.

Fracking prompts global spike in atmospheric methane, study suggests

Read the full story from the European Geosciences Union.

As methane concentrations increase in the Earth’s atmosphere, chemical fingerprints point to a probable source: shale oil and gas, according to new research.

How media around the world frame climate change news

Read the full story from the University of Kansas.

Researchers analyzed thousands of climate change articles from 45 countries and territories around the world to determine how they frame the issue, and differences were revealed mostly by the wealth of the nation.

Air pollution can accelerate lung disease as much as a pack a day of cigarettes

Read the full story from the University of Washington.

Air pollution — especially ozone air pollution which is increasing with climate change — accelerates the progression of emphysema of the lung, according to a new study.

Low-income, black neighborhoods still hit hard by air pollution

Read the full story from Ohio State University.

Disease-causing air pollution remains high in pockets of America — particularly those where many low-income and African-American people live, a disparity highlighted in recent research.

Researchers convert used car batteries into units that could power farms in the developing world

Read the full story from the University of Warwick.

As part of a Circular Economy for electric vehicle battery systems, as the number of such vehicles increases rapidly, the need to find the best way to reuse and recycle vehicle batteries becomes just as intense. Now researchers at WMG, University of Warwick, have found a way not just to recycle those used batteries, but repurpose them as small energy storage systems (ESS) for off grid locations in developing countries or isolated communities. The repurposed units, each containing approximately 2kWh of energy capacity, will be able to power a small shop, a farm holding, or multiple residential homes.