Day: June 9, 2020

Frozen cells and empty cages: researchers struggle to revive stalled experiments after the lockdown

Read the full story in Nature.

Coronavirus-related closures have forced researchers to downsize Drosophila colonies, kill laboratory animals and freeze delicate stem-cell lines or patient-derived samples. Getting those experiments up and running again will take time. Social-distancing guidelines will inevitably constrain the pace of research by limiting how many people can work at once, and strained supply chains and short-staffed shipping departments are likely to slow the flow of required materials.

For now, many researchers are easing back in simple ways: regrowing cell lines or animal colonies, or finishing off experiments that were nearly complete when they shut down. “I’ve been surprised at the number of things we take for granted in terms of lab maintenance,” says microbiologist Ami Bhatt at Stanford University in California. “It’s daunting to think of bringing all that back up.”

As COVID-19 slows home improvements, energy efficiency efforts are going virtual

Read the full story at Yale Climate Connections.

With house calls off-limits in parts of the U.S., efficiency experts find new ways to help households conserve energy.

How America Became Addicted To Food Delivery And Takeout

Read the full story at HuffPost.

More than a century of American innovation has bestowed upon society a vast array of single-use products engineered for the convenience of both restaurant and customer — and ruinous to wildlife and global ecosystems. Even as COVID-19 has us clinging to our dine-at-home dinners — carried out curbside or delivered at a social distance and left, contactless, on the doorstep — it’s abundantly clear that if we keep up our carryout habit without figuring out a more sustainable model, we’ll end up burying the planet in trash. Is this what we asked for? And can we change our order?

Global CSS Institute database of global carbon capture and storage projects

The Global CSS Facilities Database includes large-scale integrated CSS facilities capture, transport, and store CO2 at a scale of at least 800,000 tonnes annually for a coal-based power plant or at least 400,00 tonnes annually for other emissions-intensive industrial facilities (including natural gas-based power generation. Other facilities and initiatives identified in the database are recognized for their advancement of CSS technology and deployment.

Bird-watching soars amid COVID-19 as Americans head outdoors

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

With coronavirus restrictions dragging on, interest in bird-watching has soared as bored Americans notice a fascinating world just outside their windows. Downloads of popular bird identification apps have spiked, and preliminary numbers show sales of bird feeders, nesting boxes and birdseed have jumped even as demand for other nonessential goods plummets.

Cities are shutting down bikeshares during curfews, stranding their own residents

Read the full story at Grist.

Over the past several days, hundreds of thousands of Americans have hit the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was asphyxiated by a police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis. The protests started in the city where Floyd was killed and spread rapidly to all 50 U.S. states and at least three U.S territories.

In response, mayors and governors have instituted rare nighttime curfews in an effort to deter clashes between police and protestors — which videos show are often instigated by police — and waves of looting and property damage. But the curfews aren’t keeping protesters off the streets: People in major cities have been out long past nightfall protesting the national crisis of police brutality. And essential workers are largely exempt from the curfews, leading to confusion among people who work night shifts.

No matter the reason they’re out during curfew, people trying to get home are finding that their options are limited. Some cities, like Los Angeles and Chicago, have shut down public transportation systems in response to the protests, stranding people who are out after curfew. In some areas, like parts of Manhattan, even driving has been prohibited. And bikeshare programs, which have been a key source of safe transportation for essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic, have been directed to hit the pause button by city officials during the curfews.

I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet.

Read the full commentary in the Washington Post.

The sheer magnitude of transforming our energy, transportation, buildings and food systems within a decade, while striving to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions shortly thereafter, is already overwhelming. And black Americans are disproportionately more likely than whites to be concerned about — and affected by — the climate crisis. But the many manifestations of structural racism, mass incarceration and state violence mean environmental issues are only a few lines on a long tally of threats. How can we expect black Americans to focus on climate when we are so at risk on our streetsin our communities, and even within our own homes? How can people of color effectively lead their communities on climate solutions when faced with pervasive and life-shortening racism?

Virginia’s Alternative Take on Migratory Birds

Read the full story at JDSupra.

The Commonwealth of Virginia is pursuing migratory bird protection in response to the Trump administration’s proposed relaxation of Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”) enforcement. Virginia recently rolled out discussion drafts of regulations that would require certain developers to obtain permits to authorize unintentional disturbance of protected birds in Virginia. Virginia’s permitting initiative fills a void left by the Trump Administration’s proposal to exclude incidental take of migratory birds from federal regulation.

US Composting Council Applies For Stand-Alone Industry Code

Read the full story in Biocycle.

The US Composting Council (USCC), the organization representing the commercial composting industry, has applied to the U.S. Census Bureau for a NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code for “Compost Manufacturing.” The current classification under which composting falls is 325311 Nitrogenous Fertilizer Manufacturing. “[This] is not an accurate designation for Compost Manufacturing,” stated the USCC’s application submittal letter. “The existing code does not account for all the feedstocks used in the compost manufacturing process. It relates exclusively to the manufacturing of nitrogenous fertilizer materials and mixing ingredients into fertilizers.

Millions of Good Jobs: A Plan for Economic Renewal

Download the document.

Tens of millions of people are out of work as unemployment approaches Great Depression levels. To tackle this economic crisis, we cannot follow the Trump fantasy – simply reopen the economy and hope things return to “normal.” “Normal” was fundamentally unjust, unhealthy, and unstable. Instead, we need to put millions of people back to work building a healthier, more equitable, clean energy economy that leaves no one behind.

A new economic analysis reveals the path forward – with a bold economic renewal plan, Congress could provide family-sustaining jobs for over 9 million people every year for the next 10 years while building an economy that fosters cleaner air and water, higher wages, healthier communities, greater equity, and a more stable climate.

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