Day: September 25, 2020

Subaru of America, National Parks Conservation Association, and National Park Foundation Team Up to Reduce Waste at National Parks, Eliminating 16 Million Pounds of Waste from Landfills

Read the news release.

Subaru of America, Inc., the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and National Park Foundation (NPF) announced that through an innovative partnership three of America’s most iconic national parks are at the forefront to reduce the amount of waste that parks send to landfills. As part of the multi-year Don’t Feed the Landfills Initiative led by NPCASubaru of America Inc., NPF, and park concessionaires, DenaliGrand Teton and Yosemite national parks have made incredible progress to shrink the environmental footprint in and around these parks. Since the launch of the initiative in 2015, the three pilot parks have made significant strides by keeping more than 16 million pounds of waste out of landfills. Last year alone, through increased recycling and composting efforts, the pilot parks cut their landfill waste by nearly half.

Plastics recycling builds the business case for blockchain

Read the full story at ZDNet.

The first blockchain recycling product capable of increasing recycling rates is being built so that recycling service providers and large-scale producers can make better buying decisions while improving the environment.

New Jersey Department of Agriculture partners with food banks to help prevent food waste

Read the full story at the Beachcomber.

 The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is partnering with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, The Food Bank of South Jersey, Mercer Street Friends and Norwescap to help prevent food waste, Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher announced.

The campaign will inform residents and businesses about what can be done to help prevent food waste. Billboards, social media ads and radio spots will provide suggestions for food waste reduction and direct people to the new website for more information.

Nespresso: ‘Every cup of our coffee will be carbon neutral by 2022’

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

Nestlé coffee giant Nespresso commits that every cup of Nespresso worldwide will be carbon neutral by 2022. In order to achieve this, it has initiatives in three key areas: reducing carbon emissions; planting trees in coffee farms; and investing in high-quality offsetting projects.

MSU awarded NSF grant for Science DMZ

Read the full story from Michigan State University.

From addressing climate change to developing drug treatments, data is key to finding solutions to many global problems. Thanks to a National Science Foundation grant of nearly half a million dollars, MSU researchers will soon be able to easily share huge volumes of data with peers at institutions around the world, through the creation of a Science DMZ. A demilitarized zone, or DMZ as it is known in cyberinfrastructure, is a portion of the network designed to optimize high-performance for research applications. MSU IT will fund construction and maintenance costs exceeding the NSF award amount and serve as co-principal investigators on the grant with the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research, or ICER. 

How the Internet Archive is Ensuring Permanent Access to Open Access Journal Articles

Read the full post from the Internet Archive.

Open Access journals, such as New Theology Review (ISSN: 0896-4297) and Open Journal of Hematology (ISSN: 2075-907X), made their research articles available for free online for years. With a quick click or a simple query, students anywhere in the world could access their articles, and diligent Wikipedia editors could verify facts against original articles on vitamin deficiency and blood donation.  

But some journals, such as these titles, are no longer available from the publisher’s websites, and are only available through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Since 2017, the Internet Archive joined others in concentrating on archiving all scholarly literature and making it permanently accessible.

Google and FAO launch new Big Data tool for all

Anyone anywhere can access multidimensional maps and statistics showing key climate and environmental trends wherever they are, thanks to a new tool developed by Google and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Earth Map is an innovative and free-to-use Web-based tool to provide efficient, rapid, inexpensive and analytically cogent insights, drawn from satellites as well as FAO’s considerable wealth of agriculturally relevant data, with a few clicks on a computer. Earth Map has also been designed to empower and provide integrative synergies with the federated FAO’s Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform, a more comprehensive tool to provide Members, their partners and donors with the means to identify and execute highly-targeted rural development initiatives with multiple goals ranging from climate adaptation and mitigation to socio-economic resilience.

Its development follows the successful Collect Earth platform jointly developed with Google under FAO’s OpenForis suite of tools, which has already proven useful for forest assessments; land cover assessments and project design and implementation.

“I am convinced that transforming our food systems to feed the world will be achieved with a digital agriculture” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “We need to make digital technologies accessible to everyone.”

Earth Map makes available multi-temporal and quasi real-time satellite imagery and geospatial data sets that drive Google Earth Engine and complements them with more planetary-scale analytical capabilities, allowing for detection, quantification and monitoring of changes and trends on the Earth’s surface. It does so in a way that does not require users to master sophisticate coding techniques, thereby mitigating bottlenecks in terms of technical capacities of developing states and ultimately paving the way for smallholders to contribute to as well as access critical knowledge to sustain their livelihoods.

“At a time when environmental and societal challenges are paramount, we strive for Google’s products to enable all countries with equal access to the latest technology in support of global climate action and sustainable development,” said Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth. “FAO knows what information is needed, we specialize in information accessibility, and both of us are committed to boosting the resilience of people and communities worldwide.”

The partnership

Google and FAO began their partnership in 2015, signing an agreement on the sidelines of the Paris Agreement. Initial efforts focused on forest and crop cover mapping techniques, and they are now rapidly extending to areas such as biodiversity conservation, pest control and water management.

Outputs from Earth Map are tailored to users’ needs, and serve as “dashboards” as well as maps, Moore notes. More than 50 countries have already benefited from the FAO-Google tools and FAO already leverages the technology to prepare and monitor projects and help Members apply for grants from entities such as the Green Climate Fund and the World Bank, including projects in Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines and Uzbekistan.

Buoyed by funding from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety’s International Climate Initiative, Earth Map offers among else data ranging from temperature to precipitation, population, vegetation, evapotranspiration, elevation and soil.

The real-time capacities and constant updating make them particularly useful for those engaged with Hand-in-Hand, FAO’s evidence-based, country-led and country-owned initiative to accelerate agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development.

The new tool also underscores how FAO is transforming its ownership role regarding data into a custodial sharing function to maximize beneficial use. “That’s what makes big data big, and why partnerships will have an increasingly central role in pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals,” said FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero.

Using Earth Map

The power of the tool was highlighted recently when, with a few clicks, programme leaders working on a Green Climate Fund project pitch in Kyrgyzstan were able to appreciate how actual precipitation patterns varied notably on a district-by-district basis from the broader average measures, thus enabling a more refined project design.

“The breakthrough here is that Earth Map brings the unparalleled power of Google Earth Engine to everyone’s fingertips in a matter of seconds, so that basic Internet access enables even those without a background in coding or remote sensing to analyze big data,” says Danilo Mollicone, lead technical officer of the FAO’s technical team that supports the new tool as well as Collect Earth.

FAO will train and assist users and, while the broad focus is on ease of use – including drop-down menus and aggregated charts- and narrowing the digital divide, the Organization can also help develop more bespoke and specialized Earth Map assessments when needed.

Designing Solutions to Fight Food Waste and Hunger

Read the full story at Waste360.

On average, nearly 40 million Americans experience hunger and 40% of food is thrown away.

Panelists at the Food Recovery Forum’s session, “Designing Solutions to Fight Food Waste and Hunger During COVID and Beyond” discussed what it will take to begin taking items destined for the landfill and feed those who face food insecurity. The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue.

“We Were Pariahs Of The Industry” A Thirty Year Journey To Better Business, And We Have Only Just Begun – Wayne Hemingway

Read the full story in Forbes.

When focussed on ‘doing the right thing’ ethically, environmentally and ecologically in business, organisations often have to weigh up the fact that this will often not lead to the most cost effective of routes.

In an era when customers are more price savvy and sensitive than ever, how can business leaders be persuaded to look more to the long term of community and the planet rather than the short term view of the financials?

Why agtech is critical for regenerative agriculture

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Early this month, McDonald’s made headlines when it teamed with Cargill, Target and The Nature Conservancy to put $8.5 million toward helping Nebraska farmers cultivate regenerative agriculture practices over the next five years.

The initiative, like others emerging in the past several years from Cargill, General Mills, Danone and other big companies in the food system, is aimed at promoting natural carbon sequestration practices — and it is piloting ways farmers can be rewarded for embracing them.

As much as I’m encouraged by these efforts, I’ve often wondered: What metrics are being used to evaluate them? What does success look like? What will it take to scale these pilots? And how on earth is this all being measured?

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