Webinar: Road Salts and Freshwater Salinization Syndrome: An Emerging Water Quality Threat

Jun 30, 2021 1-2:15 pm CDT
Register here.

Streams throughout the U.S. and world-wide have increased in salinity due to multiple processes, including road salt and human-accelerated weathering of impervious surfaces, reductions in acid rain, and other anthropogenic legacies. This freshwater salinization, in turn, mobilizes chemical cocktails via ion exchange and other biogeochemical processes.

This webinar will examine fate and transport of salts and chemical cocktails, describe environmental impacts, and discuss the use of real-time sensor data to characterize trends of nutrients and metals using long-term data from urban streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition, approaches to managing this growing environmental and health problem will be discussed.

Mapping the US Energy Economy to Inform Transition Planning

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Over the next several decades, the United States and the world will need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change. This imperative implies an unprecedented transition in the energy system away from greenhouse-gas-emitting fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and toward clean energy sources, such as wind, solar, and nuclear, along with emerging technologies, such as large-scale energy storage and carbon capture, use, and storage. This transition will be challenging for a variety of technical, political, and socioeconomic reasons.

This report seeks to inform transition planning by identifying the regions of the United States that will experience substantial economic changes due to a shift away from fossil fuels. These communities will require considerable attention and funding from federal policymakers to support employment, economic development, public finances, and more as the production and consumption of fossil fuels decline.

Publishers grapple with an invisible foe as huge organised fraud hits scientific journals

Read the full story in Chemistry World.

‘As with many hidden criminal syndicates, you don’t always know what’s happening,’ says Retraction Watch’s Ivan Oransky about paper mills. They are the biggest organised fraud perpetrated on scientific journals ever, eroding scientists’ trust in the publishing system – and in each other.

While plagiarism and fraud isn’t new – individual researchers have been caught photoshopping electron microscopy images or inventing elemental analysis data – paper mills serve up professional fakery for their customers on an industrial scale. Buyers can apparently purchase a paper, or authorship of one, on any topic based on phony results to submit to a journal. This makes them not only harder to detect and crack down on, but also exponentially increases the damage they could do.

The grid needs to smarten up to reach clean energy goals

Read the full story at The Verge.

…electricity grids still have a long way to go to get “smart.” They’ve managed to fail spectacularly under the stressors of climate change and more extreme weather.

After years of underinvestment, there’s renewed hope that long-awaited smart grids might actually come to fruition. President Joe Biden can’t reach his goal of getting the power sector to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2035 without a smarter grid. And grids can’t get smarter without the kind of urgency that Biden has injected into overhauling America’s infrastructure.

ISGS project will seek valuable elements, minerals from coal and coal waste

Read the full story from the Prairie Research Institute.

The Office of Fossil Energy within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected to award nearly $1.5 million to the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) for a project that will evaluate the availability of valuable rare earth elements and critical minerals in coal and coal waste streams in Illinois and nearby states. 

Automating textile waste will change the game for clothing recycling

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Textile and fashion industry have a huge circular potential that has yet to be developed. One of the main issues holding back the application of the circular economy in this sector is sorting through textile waste, which requires a high degree of precision and is still performed manually. Being able to automate the process and launch it on an industrial scale therefore will be the key to a real revolution in the world of textiles.

This is the goal of German company Stadler and Norwegian company Tomra, both specialized in collecting and recycling systems, which have opened the world’s first fully automated textile sorting plant in Malmö, Sweden.

Roads pose significant threat to bee movement and flower pollination

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

Roads can be barriers to wildlife of all sorts, and scientists have studied road impacts on animals ranging from Florida panthers and grizzly bears to box turtles, mice, rattlesnakes and salamanders.

But much less is known about the impact of roads on pollinating insects such as bees and to what extent these structures disrupt insect pollination, which is essential to reproduction in many plant species.

In a paper published online May 10 in the Journal of Applied Ecology, University of Michigan researchers describe how they used fluorescent pigment as an analog for pollen. They applied the luminous pigment to the flowers of roadside plants to study how roads affected the movement of pollen between plants at 47 sites in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Illinois Climate Assessment Summary Webinar – May 17, 2021

Illinois is undergoing a rapid change in weather patterns that already has started to transform the state. A major scientific assessment by The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with experts at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University, foretells long-term, serious effects on cities and rural communities alike from climate change that include periods of extreme heat, increased precipitation and more intense storms, particularly if immediate actions aren’t taken to lessen the threat. 

On May 17, 2021, assessment lead authors summarized the report findings in a public webinar. The full report is available through the Illinois Data Bank.

For more information, contact Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at twford@illinois.edu. 

Unilever making new recyclable toothpaste tubes available to other brands

Read the full story at Consumer Goods Technology.

Unilever will convert its entire global toothpaste portfolio to recyclable tubes by 2025 and is making the packaging innovation available to other companies.

Recyclablu turns upcycled medical waste into PPE

Read the full story in Forbes.

A little over a year ago, as the Covid-19 pandemic first swept the world, healthcare facilities faced a critical shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE). Aditi Sharma, who is finishing a dermatology residency at the University of California (UC) Irvine, vowed to help solve the problem. Along with Dr. Melissa Chang, she began creating face masks out of medical waste that otherwise would have ended up as landfill.