Day: June 22, 2020

Why America Needs Environmental Justice

Read the full story from CBS News.

In recent weeks, our nation has been forced to come to grips with the variety of ways in which inequality harms minority communities, from the death of George Floyd at the hands of police to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19. A recent Harvard study concluded that air pollution — which is typically worse in areas with larger minority populations — is linked to higher coronavirus death rates, along with a slew of other health problems.

This is just one form of environmental injustice, which Peggy Shepard has dedicated the better part of her life to combating. Shepard is the co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a New York City nonprofit organization that’s been working to improve the environment of local communities since 1988. The mission of WE ACT is to “build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.”

UN, Google Arts & Culture Announce ‘Heartbeat Of The Earth’ – An Artistic Take On Climate Data

Read the full story at Scoop.

On World Environment Day (June 5), UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Google Arts & Culture Lab residency program announce “Heartbeat of the Earth”, a series of experimental artworks inspired by climate data.

Five artists—Cristina Tarquini, Fabian Oefner, Laurie Frick, Timo Aho & Pekka Niittyvirta—used key findings from the UN’s landmark 2018 IPCC report and data from scientific institutions, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Meteorological Organization, to create four interactive art pieces about our climate. They’ve addressed the topics of declining ocean life, food consumption, melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

Batteries, Bankruptcies and the Future of Renewable Energy

Read the full story at JD Supra.

Renewable energy sources have been rapidly deployed across the nation for more than a decade. In addition to government mandates in California and other states promoting renewable energy, federal and state tax incentives and technological advances have spurred their growth, as have the reduced cost and improved efficiency of wind turbines and photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems. Such renewable energy sources have demonstrated great potential for meeting long-term electric power demand, but most regions remain dependent on fossil fuel generation to balance the grid when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.

Purdue researchers look to shrimp for inspiration on floating wind turbine anchors

Read the full story at Centered.

The team is using 3D printers and cement paste to design more resilient and less ecologically disruptive anchors.

Illinois RIver Watershed Partnership Annual Report 2019

Download the document.

In the Fall of 2019 and in preparation for IRWPʼs 2020 Strategic Planning session, the
Board of Directors surveyed our stakeholders, funders, and partners for what we were
doing right, where we needed improvement, and how we could expand the impact of our
mission into the future. Both internally and externally, one piece of feedback was clear:
boots on the ground. From school-aged children to elderly, rural farmers, some folks are
simply curious about water quality issues and some folks are in an urgent need for information about stream dynamics and watershed issues. With that feedback in mind, the organization chose to slim-down our mission statement and strategically shift, remove, and add programming with that message in mind.

Scientists are trying to save coral reefs. Here’s what’s working.

Read the full story in National Geographic.

Without these interventions, scientists say the Earth’s coral reefs as we know them could disappear before the next century.

This incredibly rare white grizzly has emerged in Banff. Why experts hope you never see it

Read the full story in the Calgary Star.

With the click of a phone camera, the bear’s life changed, probably forever.

Most of the details about the bear are murky: It’s about three years old, and it left its mother last spring. No one knows whether it’s male or female.

But the one thing we know for sure stands out: The fact that this grizzly bear’s fur is white.

White grizzlies are almost unheard of. Polar bears roam the Arctic, and the West Coast has Kermode, or spirit, bears — though they’re a variant of black bear, and their numbers are estimated to be in the low hundreds. But in the Rockies, grizzlies are sometimes darker, sometimes lighter, but always brown or black.

Buzz about the unusual animal has been building ever since late April, when it was spotted in Banff National Park as a family drove by. The photos made the local news. In the weeks since, the bear has made international headlines and locals have given it a name. Park officials say they’ve already encountered tourists pulling over on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway, hoping for a glimpse…

The message from park officials and bear researchers alike is crystal clear: Do not seek out the bear, and if, by chance, you happen to see it, give it space. Worries remain about getting that rule to stick in Banff, where tourists can crowd animals and dozens of stopped cars frequently line roadways when a bear is visible.

Eager to head back to the lakefront? A rising Lake Michigan — near the historic high water mark — awaits.

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Nicole Gradford, bare feet in the sand at the 63rd Street Beach, gazed at the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan as waves rolled toward the shore, kissing the land and crashing into the stone embankment shielding the Lakefront Trail. The water, she noticed, has been creeping higher for months. The beach is smaller. A shoreline path south of the beach house near Jackson Park and South Lake Shore Drive is often flooded and impassable.

“With all of the rain we’ve had and the water levels so high, it’s taken its toll,” said Gradford, who frequently walks from her nearby home to the lakefront for reflection and relaxation.

Scientific data confirms what Gradford and other Chicagoans have been experiencing firsthand since before the coronavirus restrictions officially shut down the lakefront this spring: Water levels are about as high as they have been in a lifetime.

The lake is nearly 3 feet higher than usual for early summer and approaching the historical high, set in October 1986, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the official records for all of the Great Lakes.

Environmental Impact Assessment of crystalline solar photovoltaic panels’ End-of-Life phase: Open and Closed-Loop Material Flow scenarios

Lisperguer, et al (2020). “Environmental Impact Assessment of crystalline solar photovoltaic panels’ End-of-Life phase: Open and Closed-Loop Material Flow scenarios.” Sustainable Production and Consumption 23, 157-173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spc.2020.05.008

Abstract

The full life cycle of today’s crystalline photovoltaic (PV) panel is dominated by a linear, open material flow paradigm. The Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy (C2C) applied in a Closed-Loop-Material-Cycle (CLMC) scenario seems promising to move towards a Circular Economy (CE). Environmental impacts associated with the End-of-life (EoL) phase of PV panels, particularly a CLMC scenario, have not yet been evaluated. To this end, this article uses the Life Cycle Assessment methodology to compare a linear Open-Loop-Material-System (OLMS) scenario with a novel CLMC system. Based on our results, the environmental impacts of a PV CLMC scenario are then compared with a Cadmium telluride (CdTe) panel CLMC scenario.

In terms of environmental impacts, the recovery of PV materials in a CLMC scenario results in substantial improvements over an OLMS scenario. Closing the material flow has reduced the Climate Change impact factor (kg CO2 eq) by 74%, compared with the OLMS scenario. However, EoL PV recycling technology still remains behind in environmental and energy intensity terms when compared to the EoL CdTe panel recycling technology within a CLMC scenario. Furthermore, during the recycling processes, our results showed that the highest specific energy uptake was 3264 TJ for PV, while for CdTe it was 2748 TJ. On the other hand, the use of toxic chemicals to recover Si and Cd are shown to significantly contribute to the environmental impacts of both EoL PV and CdTe CLMC scenarios.

Results show that the CLMC based on C2C principles has a favorable impact by reducing the environmental burden at the EoL. Nevertheless, it is imperative to reduce environmental burdens from the current thermochemical processes used to recycle silicon and to start considering the key role of C2C principles for PV panel design and recycling processes, aiming at the introduction of a CLMC system based on new standards and consistent regulations in order to reduce the environmental impacts of current PV panels, if a sustainable PV technology is desired.

Reusable containers safe during Covid-19 pandemic, say experts

Read the full story in The Guardian.

More than 100 scientists will publish a signed statement on Monday to reassure the public that reusable containers are safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amid fears that the environmental battle to reduce single-use plastic waste is losing ground over fears of virus contamination, the 119 scientists from 18 countries say reuseable containers do not increase the chance of virus transmission.

Some cafes have stopped accepting reusable cups during the pandemic, raising fears that the push for sustainable and reusable packaging is being set back. Campaigners have also recently accused the plastic industry of exploiting the crisis to lobby against bans on single-use plastics.

The statement by the scientists, who include epidemiologists, virologists, biologists, chemists and doctors, says that based on the best available science and guidance from public health professionals, reusable systems can be used safely by employing basic hygiene.

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