Atmospheric dust levels are rising in the Great Plains

Read the full story from the University of Utah.

A study finds that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains at a rate of up to 5% per year. The trend of rising dust parallels expansion of cropland and even seasonal crop cycles. And if the Great Plains becomes drier, a possibility under climate change scenarios, then all the pieces are in place for a repeat of the Dust Bowl that devastated the Midwest in the 1930s.

Associated journal article: Andrew Lambert, A. Gannet Hallar, Maria Garcia, Courtenay Strong, Elisabeth Andrews, Jenny L. Hand. Dust Impacts of Rapid Agricultural Expansion on the Great PlainsGeophysical Research Letters, 2020; DOI: 10.1029/2020GL090347

Solar-powered system extracts drinkable water from ‘dry’ air

Read the full story from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Researchers have significantly boosted the output from a system that can extract drinkable water directly from the air even in dry regions, using heat from the sun or another source.

Associated journal article: Alina LaPotin, Yang Zhong, Lenan Zhang, Lin Zhao, Arny Leroy, Hyunho Kim, Sameer R. Rao, Evelyn N. Wang. Dual-Stage Atmospheric Water Harvesting Device for Scalable Solar-Driven Water ProductionJoule, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2020.09.008

Environmental impacts of pot fishing

Read the full story from the University of Plymouth.

The findings of new research go against previous thinking around the damage caused by pot fishing to the seabed.

Associated journal article: Sarah C. Gall, Lynda D. Rodwell, Sarah Clark, Tim Robbins, Martin J. Attrill, Luke A. Holmes, Emma V. Sheehan. The impact of potting for crustaceans on temperate rocky reef habitats: Implications for managementMarine Environmental Research, 2020; 162: 105134 DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.105134

These simple farming techniques can curb greenhouse gas emissions

Read the full story at Canada’s National Observer.

Saving our climate — and the future of food — could be as simple as planting fields of clover or putting cows to pasture on wheat fields in winter.

These steps could go a long way in reducing farmers’ need for artificial nitrogen fertilizers that are driving rising nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, a greenhouse gas roughly 300 times more potent than CO2. A study published last week in the scientific journal Nature revealed that, without major transformations to farming systems globally, these emissions will send global temperatures soaring far above the 1.5 C “safe” limit agreed to in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Micro irrigation: Conserving water, promoting safe food

Read the full story in the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Micro irrigation sounds interesting … and small? It is not literally, what it sounds like.

Micro irrigation is the delivery of water to crops in a system that can directly deliver water to the plants roots. While this type of irrigation is not suited for all operations, it can be a very efficient and safe way to deliver water to fresh produce.

Sustainable beehive made from mushroom-based materials

Read the full story at Springwise.

A beehive made partly from mycelium has won a national Dyson Award for its focus on sustainability.

Determinants of Different Types of Positive Environmental Behaviors: An Analysis of Public and Private Sphere Actions

Hansmann, R.; Binder, C.R. (2020). “Determinants of Different Types of Positive Environmental Behaviors: An Analysis of Public and Private Sphere Actions.” Sustainability, 12, 8547. [open access]

Abstract: A survey of 1206 participants investigated determinants of positive environmental behaviors (PEBs) in Switzerland. Based on a principle component analysis on data for 23 different PEBs, three behavior types were distinguished: (i) public sphere PEBs with politically mediated impacts; (ii) socially salient private “lighthouse” PEBs that convey a pro-environmental message; and (iii) less socially salient private PEBs. An environmental behavior model identified general environmental knowledge and attitudes as the strongest predictors of PEBs, followed by green self-identity, justifications, assumed consequences, prescriptive social norms, gender, age, and perceived behavioral control (PBC), respectively. To promote sustainability-oriented behaviors and achieve corresponding societal and economic changes, the identified psychological factors need to be promoted by education and communication strategies as well as complementary measures ranging from policy changes to technology development and systems design. Green self-identity turned out to be significantly more influential for private PEBs than for public sphere PEBs, whereas prescriptive social norms and environmental knowledge were more important for public sphere PEBs. These findings indicate that promoting different types of sustainability-oriented behaviors may require distinct strategies. Public sphere PEBs may be enhanced well by conveying social practices and norms, whereas the promotion of a pro-environmental green self-identity may increase private sphere PEBs effectively. View Full-Text

Going green, going clean: Lean‐green sustainability strategy and firm growth

Lartey, T. et al (2020). “Going green, going clean: Lean‐green sustainability strategy and firm growth.” Business Strategy and the Environment 29(1), 118-139.

Abstract: Despite the widespread recognition of the paybacks of “going green” and “going clean,” limited research has focused on the impact of lean‐green strategy on firm growth. In this study, we contribute to strategy and environmental sustainability literatures by investigating the possibility that the influence on lean‐green strategy and firm growth is driven by different levels of industry competition, managerial power, and family ties. Using panel data from 732 firms in four major industrialized economies (the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom), we found that lean‐green strategy positively relates to firm growth and this relationship is amplified at higher levels of competition, managerial power, and family ties. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are also discussed.

The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Fans’ Engagement: Evidence and Implications for a Professional Soccer Club

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Abstract: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly prevalent in the sport industry. Indeed, sport organizations have been launching various CSR initiatives because, presumably, they create value for their stakeholders. Nevertheless, little research has been done to attempt to better comprehend the benefits of CSR on sport organizations’ stakeholders, particularly concerning fan engagement. The research question on which this study is based is: what is the effect of CSR on fan engagement behavior among a sample of fans of a professional soccer club? To address this query and understand the CSR/fan engagement relationship, the following research hypotheses are examined: 1) when a soccer club adopts CSR, it creates a significant difference in the overall fan engagement behavior in terms of intention or any of its attributes (sport consumption, experience sharing, fan involvement, and match attendance); 2) there is a relationship between CSR and non-transactional fan engagement behavior intention or any of its non-transactional attributes (sport consumption, experience sharing and fan involvement); and 3) there is an association between CSR and the probability of the highest transactional fan engagement intention (match attendance).

The first statistical method used in this study is the Mann-Whitney test used in order to uncover the significant differences by comparing the probability of the dependent variable distributional change when exposed to an independent variable in two different samples. The independent variable is the CSR which is the summation of its three bottom-line variables (social, economic and environmental). The dependent variable embodies a non-transactional fan engagement index or any of its attributes (sport consumption, experience sharing and fan involvement), and transactional connection represented by match attendance. The second statistical method used is linear regression which examines the relationship between non-transactional fan engagement or its attributes and CSR. Finally, the third method applied is ordinal regression in relation to the ordinal variable (transactional fan engagement) to support the association between CSR and the probability of being a season ticket holder.

The target population of this study is the fans of a professional soccer club in Major League Soccer (MLS): The Montreal Impact. A random independent sample (control group N1=920) of ticket buyers receiving a control survey is compared to another independent sample (study group N2=920) of ticket buyers receiving the same survey with the exception of including a section containing CSR questions.

The result of this study resolved that significant differences neither materialized on the overall nor on the non-transactional and transactional fan engagement. Nevertheless, the regression analysis attested the existence of positive association between CSR and non-transactional fan engagement, all its attributes (sport consumption, experience sharing and fan involvement) and transactional engagement. Essentially, on one hand, the absence of significant difference variation into non-transactional fan engagement is better explained by the fact that fan engagement is multifactorial construct that cannot be explained by one motivator such as CSR. In fact, fan engagement is individually and collectively perceived by fans and taken into account during the engagement decision-making process. Likewise, the non-significant change into the transactional characteristic is more rationalized through the causations nexus as well as economic and personal restraints. On the other hand, the regression’s positive association proves that when sport consumers are CSR stakeholders concurrently, they converge toward a synergy concerning the decision-making process permitting an enhancement of their engagement. Undeniably, fan engagement appears to be a process which is partially rationalized and reshaped by CSR which formats the social setting in which fans support and cooperate with their team.

Carnivores living near people feast on human food, threatening ecosystems

Read the full story from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ecologists have found that carnivores living near people can get more than half of their diets from human food sources, a major lifestyle disruption that could put North America’s carnivore-dominated ecosystems at risk.

Associated journal article: Philip J. Manlick, Jonathan N. Pauli. Human disturbance increases trophic niche overlap in terrestrial carnivore communitiesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020; 202012774 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2012774117