Day: April 21, 2021

Women’s empowerment is key to reducing climate change

Read the full story at Earthday.org.

Empowering women and girls in developing countries ranked second among 76 solutions for curbing global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, according to a new report by the climate research organization Project Drawdown. Drawdown estimates that girls’ education and family planning would reduce carbon by 85 gigatons by 2050. The report comes just before International Women’s Day on March 8.

Of hemp’s many uses, one of the most promising could be in construction

Read the full story at Ensia.

“Hempcrete,” made from the woody core of hemp, is showing promise as an environmentally friendly building material.

US universities call for clearer rules on science espionage amid China crackdown

Read the full story in Nature.

As the National Institutes of Health begins implementing Trump-era guidelines, researchers voice concerns over transparency and racial profiling.

For Girls, Learning Science Outside Linked to Better Grades, Knowledge

Read the full story from North Carolina State University.

In a new study, North Carolina State University researchers found that an outdoor science program was linked to higher average science grades and an increase in a measure of science knowledge for a group of fifth grade girls in North Carolina.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Science Education, indicates outdoor education could be a promising tool to help close gender gaps in science.

Starbucks tests out reusable cup rental service at select Seattle stores

Read the full story from Nation’s Restaurant News.

The sustainable Borrow a Cup Program is being tested at five stores through May 31 in partnership with Go Box

BMW Group coming Neue Klasse to set standards in digitization, electrification and sustainability

Read the full story at Green Car Congress.

The BMW Group is preparing for a major realignment of its product range from 2025 onwards, based on the Neue Klasse (New Class). The Neue Klasse will be characterized by three key aspects: a completely redefined IT and software architecture; a new generation of high-performance electric drivetrains and batteries; and a radically new approach to sustainability across the entire vehicle life cycle.

Block by block, he aims to fight injustice and save the planet

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Solar panels and clean heat shouldn’t be limited to the wealthy, says Donnel Baird, who’s bringing green power to low-income neighborhoods.

Faster Air Exchange in Buildings Not Always Beneficial for Coronavirus Levels

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Vigorous and rapid air exchanges might not always be a good thing when it comes to addressing levels of coronavirus particles in a multiroom building, according to a new modeling study.

The study suggests that, in a multiroom building, rapid air exchanges can spread the virus rapidly from the source room into other rooms at high concentrations. Particle levels spike in adjacent rooms within 30 minutes and can remain elevated for up to approximately 90 minutes.

The findings, published online in final form April 15 in the journal Building and Environment, come from a team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The team includes building and HVAC experts as well as experts in aerosol particles and viral materials.

Webinar: Preventing and reducing occurrences of sexual harassment and assault among field-based research disciplines

Apr 27, 2021, 4:00 pm
More information 

Speaker: Carol E. Colaninno: Research assistant professor, Center for STEM Research, Education, & Outreach, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Research suggests that sexual harassment and assault frequently occur during field research and students, trainees, and early career professionals are more subjected to harassing behaviors compared to mid-career and senior scientists. In many field-based research disciplines, students, trainees, and early career professional are put in situations where harassment traditionally has been unchecked. Field sites can be remote and students may be required to live on site with fellow students, teaching assistants, and field directors in relative isolation. In 2020 our research team, with funding from the National Science Foundation, began conducting investigations to document practices that field directors implement to reduce and prevent harassment; to understand how directors and students perceive these practices; and to reimagine mechanisms that help improve field site research, learning, and living conditions to more fully benefit the well-being of students, trainee, and early career professionals. Although only in the initial phase of our research, we have identified several practices that may be modified to reduce and prevent conditions that have the potential to lead to sexual harassment and assault. I discuss and review these initial findings and detail our future research plans. 

Concerns About the Process Used for the SAFE Vehicles Rule Demonstrate the Need for a Policy on EPA’s Role in Joint Rulemakings

Download the document.

Although the EPA and NHTSA jointly issued the SAFE Vehicles Rule, the agencies’ technical personnel did not collaborate during final rule development, undercutting the joint character of the rulemaking. Furthermore, the EPA did not follow its established process for developing regulatory actions, did not complete major Action Development Process milestones, or did not document who decided to skip these milestones and why. In addition, NHTSA performed all major technical assessments for the rule, while the role of EPA technical personnel was limited to providing advisory input to NHTSA for some aspects of the analysis. The EPA did not conduct a separate analysis related to executive orders on the impacts of modified standards on vulnerable populations.

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided that the SAFE Vehicles Rule would be based solely on NHTSA modeling and analysis and that NHTSA would draft the majority of the preamble text. One senior EPA official cited NHTSA’s statutory deadline for establishing its standards as the impetus for its lead role in developing the rulemaking. This approach bypassed aspects of the EPA’s normal rulemaking process. It also diverged from the more collaborative precedent set by the agencies’ prior joint rulemakings, as well as circumvented Office of Air and Radiation technical personnel feedback prior to the final rule being circulated for interagency review. Furthermore, technical personnel were confused about the proper contents of the docket, and congressional and tribal stakeholders raised transparency concerns after the final rule was published. While joint rulemaking is infrequent, the process should be improved by clearly defining the EPA’s responsibilities when working with a partner agency.

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