Webinar: COVID-19, Climate Change, and Health

May 19, 2020, noon CDT
Register here.

Join us for a talk centered on lessons we can learn on the interplay between climate and human health in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdowns.

The vast amounts of data being collected around the world on meteorology, air quality and human health have allowed scientists to observe the effects humans have on our climate as well as the effects of climate on human health. As the global COVID-19 pandemic changes human behavior researchers are looking into how these changes impact the climate. Lessons learned through this research could help improve air quality in the future, potentially leading to improved health in populations affected by poor air quality.

Presenters will be covering current observations and reviewing the challenges involved in approaching this research.

Everyday products are full of harmful chemicals. Can green chemistry lead the way to safer alternatives?

Read the full story at Ensia.

Organization and consumer demand for products that don’t harm people or pollute the environment are moving forward-thinking brands toward safer ingredients.

Trump Administration to Weaken Limits on Mercury and Other Toxic Pollutants

Read the full story at e360.

The Trump administration is expected to weaken regulations on mercury pollution from oil- and coal-fired power plants this week, several news outlets reported. The new rule will change how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculates the costs and benefits of reducing releases of mercury and other toxic metals, undermining the legal justifications for limiting the pollutants.

Water access must be part of our COVID recovery

Read the full story at Crain’s Detroit.

Wash your hands, save lives — it’s a central message during the COVID-19 crisis. But what if you don’t have basic running water, as we assume everyone does? Incredibly, too many Americans don’t.

In Michigan, the pandemic has shed light on long-running water problems in all parts of the state.

Wisconsin’s relaxed environmental rules lead to calls for transparency

Read the full story in the Wisconsin State Journal.

On March 13, nearly two years after first ordering the Wisconsin Air National Guard to clean up hazardous chemicals at the Madison airport, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a new set of deadlines.

Less than a month later, with a statewide health emergency hindering virtually all activity, the DNR granted the guard yet another extension to address the pollution working its way into Starkweather Creek, Lake Monona and the groundwater that feeds Madison’s public wells.

In Marinette, Tyco Fire Products last month stopped testing hundreds of private wells potentially contaminated with the same fluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS.

Those are two examples of how the COVID-19 pandemic response has hindered environmental monitoring and cleanup. But a lack of transparency measures make it impossible to know the full impact of state and federal emergency policies.

Webinar: Using Design Thinking to Employ Smart Systems to Decarbonize Our Future

Thu, Jun 4, 2020 12:15 PM – 1:45 PM CDT
Register here.

Design thinking can help customers build or customize smart system tools to decarbonize their operations and supply chains. Design thinking uses customer input and transdisciplinary collaboration to erase the boundaries of internal silos and step around archaic bureaucratic processes to reimagine solutions.

In this first webinar in a new LightWorks at Arizona State University series on “How “Smart” Systems Can Power Our Decarbonized Future” we pose the question to design leaders Karel Vredenburg, Director of Design at IBM; Adam Cutler, Distinguished Designer at IBM Design; Susanne Jones, Executive Partner for iX Customer Engagement and Design at IBM; and Cheryl Heller, Director of Design Integration with Arizona State University. How can design be used to transform the culture and operations of an organization to embrace AI, blockchain and other smart tools and thrive in the New Carbon Economy? Learn the principals of design thinking, its incredible power to free your creative thinking and hear how companies can use it to transform their carbon footprint and impact on the planet.

Toronto Brewery Pilots Reusable Crate Delivery Program

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

Toronto-based Henderson Brewing Company started piloting a reusable milk crate home delivery program. The brewery’s effort to reduce packaging comes at a time when the covid-19 pandemic is increasing demand for food and beverage deliveries.

COVID-19 shutdowns are clearing the air, but pollution will return as economies reopen

Read the full story at The Conversation.

With many economies locked down to slow the spread of coronavirus, people from Beijing to Los Angeles have noticed bluer skies and less smog. Photos from Punjab and Nairobi reveal mountains that had been shrouded in haze for years. Satellites show cleaner air extending across broad swaths of AsiaEurope and North America.

These stunning images reflect how the air is changing as the world confronts COVID-19. People are staying home, driving less and taking fewer flights and cruises. This crisis provides a unique experiment to see how the atmosphere responds as nations cut their emissions.

The air is getting cleaner, although these blue skies may be temporary. But it isn’t getting cooler. The buildup of greenhouse gas pollution continues, and global temperatures are still rising.

Why this difference? As an atmospheric scientist, I see it as an illustration of the contrasting challenges posed by air pollution and climate change.

When cleaning products are registered as pesticides

Read the full post at GreenLaw.

Faced with the daunting challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, individuals and institutions are scrambling to acquire the tools and supplies necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and to take care of those in need. In order to support response efforts, federal, state, and local government agencies have been making changes to their standard operating procedures. Some agencies have been helping by suspending rules which might slow down the creation or distribution of critical resources. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has suspended certain freight transportation regulations for trucks moving essential supplies. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it easier to produce alcohol for hand sanitizer products. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has streamlined the process for approving disinfectants that can be used to safeguard against the spread of the coronavirus.

Given the time-sensitive nature of the coronavirus response, and the important role disinfectants play in that response, it is worth exploring why the EPA is involved in approving the use of cleaning products in the first place. This post will do just that.

Bug experts dismiss worry about US ‘murder hornets’ as hype

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Insect experts say people should calm down about the big bug with the nickname “murder hornet” — unless you are a beekeeper or a honeybee.