Day: October 8, 2019

How Penn State Is Cutting Greenhouse Emissions In Half — And Saving Money

Read the full story from NPR.

In the struggle to end global warming, one community in central Pennsylvania is having remarkable success. It’s growing, with tens of thousands of people, yet its greenhouse emissions have been dropping dramatically.

Perhaps most amazing: Those reductions have paid for themselves.

This is not your typical town — it’s Penn State University. But in many ways, it’s just like any other town or small city.

Photographing nature while black: One man’s quest to make green spaces less white

Read the full story in Grist.

If you’re under the impression that the great outdoors is a bastion of racial harmony, Dudley Edmondson would like to disabuse you of that notion. Edmondson, a longtime wildlife photographer and filmmaker who lives in Duluth, Minnesota, says he gets some, uh, interesting reactions to his outdoor pursuits because he’s black.

Could these plastic-eating enzymes be the miracle solution to our plastic problem?

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Scientists are closing in on synthesizing a way to naturally break plastic down to its component parts. But huge questions remain—like what happens if plastic we still need starts to be consumed.

‘Once they’re gone, they’re gone’: the fight to save the giant sequoia

Read the full story in The Guardian.

A conservation group plans to buy the largest privately owned sequoia grove as the climate crisis threatens the species’ future

EPA Launches ‘See a Bloom, Give It Room’ High School Video Challenge

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 7 and 8 announced the launch of the ”See a Bloom, Give It Room” High School Video Challenge. The competition, supported by EPA’s Office of Research and Development, is calling for videos from high school students (grades 9-12) that promote public awareness of harmful algal blooms through creative filmmaking.

Students are asked to create public safety videos (under two minutes in length) that explain how to spot harmful algal blooms and how people and their pets should be safe around them.

“Through this challenge, we’re asking high schoolers across our region to be creative, have fun, and be part of the solution,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Harmful algal blooms can be dangerous to people and pets participating in recreational activities in the water. Winning video entries from this challenge will help EPA and our state, local and tribal partners inform communities about the risks of harmful algal blooms and how to spot and steer clear of them.”

“Harmful algae have emerged as a persistent and challenging human health concern in recreational waters across our region,” said EPA Region 8 Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We’re asking young and aspiring videographers to help us find creative ways to make people aware of the risks and prevent exposure.”

The contest is open to high school students or teams in EPA Regions 7 and 8: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. This includes students in public, private and tribal high schools, and homeschool programs.

A winner from each state, along with two regional tribal winners, will be selected by judging panels to each receive a $2,000 cash prize. Two grand prize winners will also be selected to receive $4,000 each.

Winning videos will also be highlighted at the EPA Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Conference in February; featured on EPA web and social media channels; and used by the Agency and its state environmental partners in HAB safety outreach efforts.

Information about the challenge, helpful HAB video resources, and instructions on how to submit videos can be found on EPA’s website.

Submissions are due by 11 p.m. (ET) on Jan. 3, 2020.

How to make conservation initiatives more contagious

Read the full story from Imperial College London.

New research shows conservation initiatives often spread like diseases, helping scientists and policymakers design programmes more likely to be taken up.

Lumber Salvaged from Baltimore’s Row Houses and City Trees Creates Jobs and Cuts Wood Waste

Read the full post from the World Resources Institute.

Baltimore, like many post-industrial cities, confronts novel challenges. Once the sixth largest city in the U.S., Baltimore’s population has contracted by more than a third, resulting from a complex suite of factors including job loss, economic decline, and discriminatory policies or housing and lending practices. It’s estimated that at least 16,000 buildings in Baltimore are boarded up; most are slated for demolition. But where others see blight, the Baltimore Wood Project sees opportunity.

The Baltimore Office of Sustainability’s Waste to Wealth Initiative worked with partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, to pilot a project designed to salvage wood from both buildings and urban trees. The Baltimore Wood Project aimed to reduce landfill waste, create jobs, refill municipal coffers and engage the local community while encouraging environmental sustainability, and to demonstrate the concept’s viability to other cities.

Fearing the ‘Insect Apocalypse’? Renowned Entomologist Says ‘Get Rid of Your Lawn’

Read the full story at WTTW.

The polar bear has become the poster child for climate change. Just picture one of the furry white giants struggling to hang on to a melting ice cap and it’s clear why a fast-warming planet is a bad thing.

But increasing temperatures and rising sea levels impact many forms of life that rarely come up in discussions about the changing environment. That is why May Berenbaum would like us to also be talking about ice crawlers, a family of tiny, wingless insects that live on top of mountains and on the edges of glaciers.

Dolphins are swimming, mating and even giving birth in the Potomac

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Five decades ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the polluted Potomac River a “national disgrace.” Although it is now much cleaner, officials in Washington are still not convinced the water is safe for humans to swim in.

But many miles downriver, where the Potomac widens to lakelike proportions as it flows toward the Chesapeake Bay, it teems with a different species of swimmers whose presence may signal healthier waters: dolphins.

During the past four years, researchers who study the common bottlenose dolphins swimming this part of the Potomac have hardly been able to keep up with their numbers. Dolphins are easily identified by their distinct fins or marks on their bodies, and in 2015, scientists identified about 200 individuals in one section of river off Virginia’s Northern Neck. Now they have counted well over 1,000 dolphins, which sometimes congregate in groups of more than 200.

Massachusetts releases draft of state’s solid waste master plan for 2020-30

Read the full story at Waste Today.

The plan proposes to reduce the current annual total of 5.7 million tons of solid waste disposal by 1.7 million tons or 30 percent by 2030 and reduce trash disposal by 90 percent by 2050.

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