Throwaway society: Rejecting a life consumed by plastic

Read the full story in The Japan Times.

Japan produces an estimated 9 million tons of plastic waste each year, with disposable packaging and food containers accounting for more than 40 percent. But how exactly does plastic consumption impact us on a personal level?

Noah’s Rainbow – Raising children in an age of climate crisis

Read the full story at BusinessGreen.

On crying at the climate crisis, the start of a decade of consequences, and the stark difference between ghosts and ancestors

FY 2020 and FY 2021 Pollution Prevention Grant Program Request for Applications

The Pollution Prevention Grant Program is announcing the availability of funds to provide technical assistance (e.g., information, training, tools) to businesses in order to encourage the development and implementation of source reduction practices (also known as “pollution prevention” or “P2”). Source reduction practices can help businesses save money by reducing resource use, expenditures, waste and liability costs, while at the same time reducing their environmental footprint and helping to protect human health and the environment. Applications are due Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 11:59 pm, (EDT).

EPA anticipates awarding approximately $9.38 million in total federal pollution prevention grant funding over a two-year funding cycle ($4.69 million in FY 2020 funds and approximately $4.69 million in FY 2021 funds). P2 awards are expected to be performed in each EPA region and will be funded in the form of grants or cooperative agreements. Please note that notwithstanding the potential amounts stated above, these amounts are estimates only and the amount of grant funding awarded will be dependent on Congressional appropriations, funding availability, the quality of proposals received, satisfactory performance and other applicable considerations.

‘The Good Place’: It’s hard to be good when the world’s on fire

Read the full story at Grist.

This story contains spoilers for The Good Place.

When aliens show up in fiction, the story usually reflects more about the state of life on Earth than anything else. During the Cold War, space invaders from Mars always seemed like stand-ins for Soviets and Commies. In more recent times, the blue-skinned aliens of 2009’s Avatar live in harmony with nature, serving as a foil to the humans pillaging the planet.

In much the same way, The Good Place, an NBC sitcom set in the afterlife, poses serious questions about life on Earth rather than a speculative life after death. Written by Michael Schur, the comedy writer behind The Office and Parks and Rec, the show considers the moral problems that befuddle the living from the vantage point of the dead.

As Asian carp inch closer to the Great Lakes, experts tackle possible solutions

Read the full story in the Daily Northwestern.

Various invasive Asian carp species lie as close as nine miles of the Great Lakes, according to the Alliance for the Great Lakes. Experts have now begun the last-defense fight against the fish, from installing electric barriers to calling for congressional action.

Another major hotel chain is getting rid of travel-sized toiletries

Read the full story from CNN Business.

Accor Hotels is the latest global hotel chain to eliminate travel-sized toiletries from its rooms.

For this village in India, sustainability is rooted in tradition

Read the full story in National Geographic.

“They want to drink from bamboo because it’s the original plastic.” A grassroots industry is emerging from a generations-old practice.

E.P.A. Is Letting Cities Dump More Raw Sewage Into Rivers for Years to Come

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems, according to interviews with local officials, water utilities and their lobbyists.

Cities have long complained about the cost of meeting federal requirements to upgrade aging sewer systems, many of which release untreated waste directly into waterways during heavy rains — a problem that climate change worsens as rainstorms intensify. These complaints have gained new traction with the Trump administration, which has been more willing to renegotiate the agreements that dictate how, and how quickly, cities must overhaul their sewers.

The actions are the latest example of the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back nearly 95 environmental rules that it has said are too costly for industry or taxpayers. That list grew on Thursday, when the administration stripped clean-water protections from wetlands, streams and other waterways.

Plotting a new course: Developer says plans for Stone Creek will ‘broaden the appeal’ of subdivision

Read the full story in the News-Gazette.

Steve Apfelbaum heard the complaints from the neighbors of the former Decatur Lake Golf Course in Brodhead, Wis., when it closed down last year, suffering the same fate as 18 other struggling courses.

After buying the land with a few partners, Apfelbaum had big plans. His group would create an ecological reserve, as Apfelbaum’s company, Applied Ecological Services, has done to golf courses and open spaces across the country. They’d plant local plants and grasses to form landscape made up of prairie and savanna.

In the meantime, last year, they planted fields of sunflowers as a transitional crop to prepare the soil for its new use.

Landowners were initially skeptical.

Webinar: Implication of PFAS Precursors at AFFF-Impacted Sites

Feb 27, 2020 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Repeated fire-fighter training at US military sites over decades had led to concentrations of perlfuorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) at or above the current US EPA health advisory level (70 ng/L).  However, PFOS and PFOA are but two of a number of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found at sites contaminated by aqueous film forming foams (AFFFs).  Precursor, which are PFAS that can degrade to dead-end, persistent PFASs including PFOS and PFOA are also found at these sites and have implications for the selection of PFAS analytical methods, site characterization, and remediation.

Dr. Jennifer Field is from Abingdon, Il and she received her Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the Colorado School of Mines and was a post-doctoral fellow at Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) in Dübendorf Switzerland.  At present, she is a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at Oregon State University.  Her research focuses on understanding the occurrence, fate, and transformation of emerging contaminants in natural and engineered systems.  Her research group conducts laboratory and field studies to quantify the behavior of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) at military sites impacted by repeated historical applications of AFFF.  Her group creates analytical methodology aimed at closing the mass balance on PFASs at AFFF-contaminated sites. The ‘greener’ analytical methodology is being used to guide site characterization, conceptual site model development, and to validate remedial efforts.  She is considered a pioneer in the area of PFASs after having studied PFASs for over 20 years.