Day: June 4, 2020

Black People Bird: Our Strength and Stories

Read the full story at Audubon Louisiana.

A Black birder (@JasonWardNY), striving for representation in and around STEM fields, took it upon himself to virtually connect friends and like-minded colleagues into a conversation centered around science, nature, and social issues. The members of this group, all Black nature enthusiasts, initiated #BlackBirdersWeek to bring attention to the inherent racism still present in modern American outdoor spaces.

Some of us have just begun our birding journeys while others are seasoned pros, but we have all come together to promote a common goal – to change the narrative of Black people exploring the outdoors. Utilizing outdoor spaces is a normal part of life for some but unknown to most, it can take a significantly different form for those of us who are Black. We constantly have to practice our “speeches” for interactions with police officers and the public, think about the potential outcomes as a result of the gear we carry, and yes, even prepare for the racist interactions we face on a regular basis. The health benefits and the simple joy of disconnecting from technology by exploring nature are some of the easiest and best pastimes the world has to offer, but for Black people, it’s not quite that simple.

Picture this. You’re walking through your usual hiking trail, one you’ve hiked a hundred times, and one day you notice a couple of glances from other hikers. Nothing blatant, and no one says anything, so you move on and continue your hike. About ten minutes later, you get the feeling like someone is following you. What do you do? What goes through your mind? Does any of that change when you realize it’s a police officer?

This is what our nightmares are made of. We are alone, in a place without witnesses, carrying equipment that could be construed as being used for criminal activity, and about to have an encounter with law enforcement. If this situation did not immediately bring you feelings of severe apprehension and fear, that is a privilege.

As Black people who also enjoy the outdoors, we constantly ask ourselves how we can make our presence more acceptable. We monitor our outfits, equipment, study sites, and the times we visit outdoor locations, all in an effort to appear less “threatening.”

Trump to sign order to waive environmental reviews for key projects

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

President Trump will sign an executive order Thursday instructing agencies to waive long-standing environmental laws to speed up federal approval for new mines, highways, pipelines and other projects given the current “economic emergency,” according to four people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity in advance of the formal announcement.

Can Technology Help Reduce Food Waste in Supply Chain?

Read the full story from MH&L.

Sensors can be placed directly on cargo and provide remote readings to ensure fewer spoils in transit given that one-third of food produced for human consumption is wasted.

The future of finance is sustainable — and profitable

Read the full story from Accenture.

The finance ecosystem—clients and employees, shareholders and stakeholders—is striving for purpose and sustainability. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are at the forefront of financial decisions, supported by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and increased awareness of the climate emergency.

Sustainable finance is sometimes referred to as green finance, but it’s not just about reducing emissions or preventing environmental damage.

  • Environmental concerns include air and water pollution, deforestation and biodiversity. More generally, they relate to how a company performs as a steward of nature.
  • Social factors reveal how well a company manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers and the communities with which it engages. Social issues vary from diversity in the workplace to human rights and labor standards across the supply chain.

Plunging cost of wind and solar marks turning point in energy transition: IRENA

Read the full story from Reuters.

Plunging costs of renewables mark a turning point in a global transition to low-carbon energy, with new solar or wind farms increasingly cheaper to build than running existing coal plants, according to a report published on Tuesday.

Winning Food Waste Reduction Strategy

Read the full story in Biocycle.

What does it take for one of the largest hotels in San Diego, California, to reduce food waste?

The Seven Seas Of Plastic And What Governments Are Doing About It

Read the full story from Duke University.

Governments at every level have taken steps over the last decade to reduce the flow of plastic pollution into the world’s oceans, according to a Duke University policy analysis published today. The analysis finds, however, that the vast majority of new policies have focused specifically on plastic shopping bags. More study needs to be done to determine they have worked.

Scientists turn to drones to cleanup plastic-polluted rivers

Read the full story from DroneDJ.

The Mekong River flows through six countries in Asia, contributing to much of the plastic in the oceans. Drones are being used to take photos of the plastic found in the river, giving them a geo-tag to provide scientists with data on plastic hotspots.

Much of the plastic that originates from the Mekong River ends up drifting onto Australian shores and causes danger to the wildlife in the area. The scientists are now turning to technology, specifically drones to help fix the issue and reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.

EPA Issues Consumer Advisory on Products Claiming to Kill Coronavirus

Read the full story at JD Supra.

Yesterday, EPA issued another in a series of recent advisories aiming to clarify for consumers and companies what they need to know about disinfectant products claiming to kill the coronavirus. EPA is actively investigating the numerous tips and complaints it continues to receive concerning products marketed with possibly false and misleading coronavirus/COVID-19 related claims.

A Critical Review of Extraction and Identification Methods of Microplastics in Wastewater and Drinking Water

Dounia Elkhatib and Vinka Oyanedel-Craver (2020). “A Critical Review of Extraction and Identification Methods of Microplastics in Wastewater and Drinking Water.” Environmental Science & Technology, online ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b06672

Abstract: This critical review analyzes methodologies used to collect, quantify, and characterize microplastics in both wastewater and drinking water. Researchers used different techniques at all stages, from collection to characterization, for quantifying microplastics in urban water systems. This represents a barrier to comprehensively assess the current loads of microplastic and to compare the results obtained by such assessments. The compiled studies address microplastic contamination using four types of sample collection techniques, four methods for processing samples, and four techniques for characterizing microplastics. This results in significant discrepancies in each of the following: (1) reported concentrations in both wastewater effluents and drinking water, (2) microplastic characteristics (i.e., size, color, shape, and composition), and (3) quality control and assurance procedures. Finally, this review qualitatively evaluated the reports by the completeness of their data based on a ranking system using five criteria: sample collection, sample processing, quality control, identification technique, and results. The results of this ranking system clarify disparities between the studies.

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