Day: February 12, 2020

Climate change is coming for your Oreos

Read the full story in Crain’s Chicago Business.

The latest victims of climate change could be Oreos, as drenched fields across the U.S. make the wheat that’s a key ingredient a scarcer commodity.

Chemical Hitchhikers: Great Lakes microplastics may increase risk of PFAS contaminants in food web

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

Tiny bits of plastic have been making big news lately for turning up just about everywhere – in our drinking water, food and even in the air we breathe. They are called microplastics, and researchers are only beginning to glimpse their health effects.

Much of the contamination can be chalked up to the fact that we recycle only 9 percent of plastic wastes. The rest — water bottles, pens, shopping bags — can end up in our lakes and rivers, where they are exposed to sunlight and waves that break them down into smaller and smaller bits.

Now a new study in Muskegon Lake, linked to Lake Michigan just north of Grand Rapids, has found that a group of chemicals known as PFAS can stick to microplastic particles in the water. Since fish routinely ingest microplastics, this increases the likelihood that PFAS will make its way into the bodies of fish-eating creatures – including us.

How to improve the zero-waste shopping experience

Read the full story in Treehugger.

I recently went to Bulk Barn and stocked up on baking supplies using refillable glass jars. It was a most satisfying feeling, walking out of the store without any plastic packaging, and then putting those beautiful jars directly into my pantry. I need to do that more often, I thought.

The fact is that, just like everyone else, I get lazy. Despite knowing the facts about plastic pollution and having every intention to shake the single-use habit, even I get sucked into the convenience of prepackaged foods at the supermarket. When I’m short on time and it’s the end of a long day and I’ve got a bunch of hungry kids with me, it’s easier to toss a bag of lentils or a container of peanut butter into my grocery cart than it is to make an additional trip to a different store that accepts containers I may have forgotten to bring from home.

This got me thinking about how zero waste shopping could be made more accessible and less intimidating to people – because the only way it will become widely accepted is if it’s just as (or nearly as) convenient as the current shopping model. So here are some ideas, based on my own brainstorming, experiences, and research. Some are more realistic than others, but at least it’s a place to start.

‘Sea-level rise won’t affect my house’ – even flood maps don’t sway Florida coastal residents

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Advertisers understand that providing consumers with the facts will not sell products. To get people to stop and pay attention, successful advertising delivers information simply and with an emotional hook so that consumers notice and, hopefully, make a purchase.

Climate communication scientists use these same principles of messaging – visual, local and dramatic – to provide facts that will get the public’s attention. Such messaging is intended to help people understand risk as it relates to them, and perhaps, change their behavior as a result.

As social scientists studying the effectiveness of climate change communication strategies, we became curious about a particular message we found online. Some houses advertised for sale in South Florida were accompanied by banner ads with messages such as “Flooding hurts home value. Know more before you buy. Find out for free now.” The ads were sponsored by the First Street Foundation through their website The nonprofit foundation provides detailed aerial photos of present and future flooding as a consequence of rising sea level.

My colleague and I decided to survey residents of coastal South Florida to better understand how information affected their attitudes and opinions. Did these messages developed by a nonprofit organization change the perceptions of coastal residents who live in low-lying areas about the threat of coastal flooding as a result of sea level rise?

40% of food in America ends up in the trash. Is nanopackaging the answer?

Read the full story at Massive Science.

Consumer habits aren’t enough to curb the impacts of food waste — packaging companies have the opportunity to make a big difference

Climate change, development batter Mississippi Delta oysters

Read the full story at PBS News Hour.

Record flooding, human-made channels and environmental disasters have exacerbated the already harsh effects of climate change in Louisiana’s Mississippi Delta, impacting the region’s coastal wildlife and seafood supplies. Special correspondent Joshua Landis reports on how local oyster farmers are coping as part of our series, “Peril and Promise” in partnership with Nexis Media News.

Aerie’s new swimsuits are made from 1 million recycled plastic bottles

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Brands throughout the fashion industry are striving to become more eco-friendly, from Everlane’s decision to cut new plastic from its supply chain to Allbirds’ quest to develop more sustainable sneaker materials.

Today, Aerie—AEO Inc.’s lingerie and lifestyle brand—announces its own commitment to sustainability with a new swimwear line called Real Good Swim. The 10-piece collection, priced between $19 and $54, is made from a fabric called Repreve, which is made from 82% rPET (more commonly known as recycled plastic bottles).

The Milwaukee Brewers and SC Johnson Throw Plastic Waste a Curveball

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Fans of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers and users of SC Johnson’s Scrubbing Bubbles will have something new to cheer about this spring: a first-of-its kind program to recycle used plastic cups from the Brewers’ Miller Park into Scrubbing Bubbles’ bottles.

ISTC scientists visit the UK to collaborate on emerging contaminant research

Read the full post from ISTC.

Three ISTC staff members travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) during the first week of February to discuss emerging contaminant issues with their international collaborators.

New Book Food or War Outlines How to Avoid a Soylent Green Future

Read the full story in Scientific American.

Julian Cribb’s sobering new book gives dire climate change warnings but also reasons for hope.

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