Day: May 27, 2021

Academic bullying is too often ignored. Here are some targets’ stories

Read the full story in Science.

“I frequently vomit before going to the lab.”

“I wanted to become a professor, but after the treatment and behavior of my PI [principal investigator] and department, I do not want to ever be involved with academia again.”

“It was ~ 1 year before I realized that being told by my PI that I had 45 seconds to go to the toilet was inappropriate and an invasion of my privacy.”

These are just a few of the 1904 anonymous responses that poured in when Sherry Moss and Morteza Mahmoudi invited scientists to describe their experiences with academic bullying. The vast majority—71%—of respondents who experienced bullying did not report the behavior to their institution, mostly for fear of retaliation. Of those who did report, only 8% found the process to be fair and unbiased, according to a preprint posted online this week.

The findings lay bare the inadequacy of the reporting process at many institutions, says Mahmoudi, an assistant professor at Michigan State University who experienced bullying earlier in his career and co-founded an antibullying nonprofit called the Academic Parity Movement. “All of the investigations happen inside the institutions—there’s no accountability.” He notes that institutions may want to protect top-performing academics, especially those who bring in a lot of money, and have a vested interest in preventing complaints from becoming public. One possible solution, he adds, would be to establish a national or global committee on academic behavior ethics, which could investigate allegations of abuse more impartially. 

Many of the survey responses were hard to read, say Mahmoudi and Moss, a professor at Wake Forest University—especially those that described serious mental health challenges. But sharing them is an important step toward changing culture. To that end, Science Careers compiled a sample of responses from the survey, with a focus on those who reported or confronted bullying behavior—sometimes resulting in positive outcomes, but more frequently not.

Reptile traffickers trawl scientific literature, target newly described species

Read the full story at Mongabay.

The descriptions and locations of new reptile species featured in scientific literature are frequently being used by traders to quickly hunt down, capture and sell these animals, allowing them to be monetized for handsome profits and threatening biodiversity.

New reptile species are highly valued by collectors due to their novelty, and often appear on trade websites and at trade fairs within months after their first description in scientific journals.

In the past 20 years, the Internet, combined with the ease and affordability of global travel, have made the problem of reptile trafficking rampant. Some taxonomists now call for restricted access to location information for the most in demand taxa such as geckos, turtles and pythons.

Once a new species has been given CITES protection (typically a lengthy process), traders often keep the reptiles in “legal” commercial circulation by making false claims of “captive breeding” in order to launder wild-caught animals.

Wasps are valuable for ecosystems, economy and human health (just like bees)

Read the full story from University College London.

Wasps deserve to be just as highly valued as other insects, like bees, due to their roles as predators, pollinators, and more, according to a new article.

Enhancing corporate reporting: Sustainability building blocks

IFAC’s new building blocks approach to reporting sustainability information enhances the previously issued roadmap, The Way Forward. With this new step, IFAC hopes to foster discussion on how this approach can deliver a global system for consistent, comparable, and assurable sustainability-related information that best meets the needs of investors and other stakeholders.

IFAC welcomes feedback on the building blocks approach and plans to engage with stakeholders at future IFAC events addressing the broader journey to an enhanced corporate reporting world.

Learn more about the global drive for sustainability standards and IFAC’s role.

These pets have high levels of forever chemicals in their blood. Has that made them sick?

Read the full story at North Carolina Health News.

N.C. State researchers tested for PFAS in 31 dogs and 35 horses living near the chemical plant. They found at least one measurable type of PFAS in every dog tested and all but one horse. Some of the levels were staggering.

Tesco to scrap 50m pieces of plastic from beers & ciders

Read the full story at Retail Gazette.

Tesco is set to become the first major retailer to scrap soft plastic rings and shrink wrap packaging from all beers and ciders across its UK stores.

Seeking inclusive strategies to help coastal communities adjust, plan for sea-level rise

Read the full story from North Carolina State University.

Recurring flood damage to homes and powerful storms that threaten infrastructure are realities facing many coastal North Carolina communities. However, for three predominately African-American, rural communities near the coast, NC State researchers documented additional injustices that threaten the communities’ ability to adapt to a changing climate.

In their study, the researchers reported on efforts to help these communities think about how to adapt to sea-level rise, flooding and other climate change impacts. They found that inequalities, economic limitations and injustices facing these communities can make residents feel vulnerable to climate impacts, and unheard in local planning and recovery efforts.

Their findings, published in the journal Land Use Policy, highlight the need for policymakers and researchers to work with affected coastal communities using strategies that are racially and economically inclusive.

Sustainable fashion: how to shop with an eco-aware stance

Read the full story at Wallpaper.

What is sustainable fashion, and how can you shop with an environmentally friendly focus? Here, we present our checklist on how to look and feel good on the inside and out

Regenerative agriculture, coming soon to a Timberland shoe near you

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Regenerative agriculture was once a backwater of experimental farming strategies. Now Timberland, and its parent company VF Corporation, have pushed it into the limelight by announcing the first regenerative rubber supply system in the apparel industry. The new initiative could help bring more clarity to the role of organic practices in regenerative agriculture, in addition to providing consumers with a new opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable supply chain.

Unilever defines Regenerative Agriculture Principles: ‘Without consensus it’s difficult to have alignment… it was important to start the work’

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

Unilever has gone live with new Regenerative Agriculture Principles (RAPs), a framework that outlines ‘five priority areas’ the company says are ‘in most urgent need of action and where we can generate the biggest impact’. FoodNavigator spoke to Giulia Stellari, Sustainable Sourcing Director at Unilever, to learn more.

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