Why bad design can actually be good

Read the full story in Fast Company.

When a design doesn’t work, it often draws more attention to itself than when it works perfectly. A wobbly shopping cart, a flimsy potato peeler, a puzzling highway sign: These are common nuisances. The stakes increase when “bad design” results in a confusing election ballot that disrupts the democratic process or when an ineffective design critically impacts lives in large segments of society.

But can “bad design” be a force for good design? Does it drive design professionals to push back against design ineptitude?

Don’t give up: An entrepreneur’s journey to success in building affordable eco-friendly buildings

Read the full story at GeekWire.

This week, Sustainable Living Innovations broke ground in Seattle on what’s expected to be the world’s first net zero energy high-rise apartment building, called 303 Battery. The structure features floor-to-ceiling glass walls, widespread use of solar panels and captures rainfall and gray water for reuse.

Cutting boards made from recycled plastic bottle caps

Read the full story at Springwise.

Matt and Jonny, the UK-based siblings and content creators of Brothers Make, have designed an upcycled cutting board made from used plastic bottle tops.  

A major breakthrough for the clean steel industry

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

A pioneering green steelmaking plant in Sweden has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using fossil fuel-free hydrogen gas rather than coking coal for production processes, marking a “critical milestone” on the road to decarbonizing the steel industry, according to the companies behind the high profile project.

HYBRIT — a joint venture company between Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall, iron ore miner LKAB and steelmaker SSAB — has produced its first 100 metric tons of sponge iron using hydrogen at the pilot plant, having started test operations at the Luleå site in September.

Over 200 million years ago, nature called. It was full of beetles.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Fossilized feces from a dinosaur ancestor preserved an insect species not previously known to science in exquisite detail.

Webinar: Agriculture Impacts in the Illinois Climate Assessment

Aug 3, 2021 10-11 am
Register here.

The climate in Illinois is changing rapidly. Illinois is already warmer and wetter than it was a century ago, and climate change will continue to drive rapid changes across the state. A new report from The Nature Conservancy – the first-ever comprehensive climate assessment for Illinois – details these changes, projects how temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather are expected to change, and explores how the state’s agriculture sector is likely to be affected by climate change.  

In this webinar, leading climate experts and Illinois scientists will discuss the results of the new report. Learn how predicted changes could affect Illinois agriculture & producers, including impacts to hydrology and public health.

Sharing key takeaways from the assessment will be:  Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford; Jim Angel, former Illinois State Climatologist and co-author of the climate report; and Elena Grossman, Research Specialist, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health.


FRESCOS is a tool for calculating the carbon sequestration of forestry and agroforestry projects. The tool is open access and free to use for anyone looking to improve their understanding of the emission removals of their projects. The tool allows for the calculation of annual net carbon impact as well as longer term scenario analysis up to 100 years.

There’s growing demand for greener goods, but it’s not an easy sell

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

More people than ever before are speaking out on behalf of the planet — not just with their voices and votes, but with their wallets as well. The individual consumer decisions that each of us makes, from the car we drive to the food we eat, may be mere drops in the bucket when it comes to solving the biggest ecological challenges, but together they add up to a groundswell of support for change — one that leaders from all sectors of society would be wise to embrace. 

It doesn’t have to be so complicated: How to engage consumers in sustainability

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

In a March survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans said they’re willing to pay more for sustainable products, but most (74 percent) don’t know how to identify them. So, how can brands communicate with consumers about sustainability and help them understand how their purchases and behaviors impact the planet? 

There’s no getting around it: This space is complex, and creating products that truly carry less impact on the environment requires a host of considerations. But communicating with consumers doesn’t have to be complicated, and rising public awareness of sustainability is an open invitation for brands to turn consumer passion into engagement, loyalty and trust. 

Diversifying and Decolonizing the Syllabi in Life and Environmental Sciences

Access the reading list

The objective of this project is to develop a list of college-level resources (articles, podcasts, videos, etc) that can be used as teaching tools in undergraduate classrooms. These resources may cover topics of racial justice, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental racism, and other related topics. We also seek to recognize both historical and current contributions of BIPOC to science through increased representation in syllabi. We also will provide resources to support instructors who seek to include any of these ideas topics in their classrooms. 

We have compiled a google spreadsheet with resources and recommend incorporating these resources to highlight BIPOC contributions and voices. Topics covered include: conservation biology; environmental social sciences; genetics; human health; invasive species; landscape ecology; restoration ecology; taxonomy; traditional ecological knowledge; and urban ecology.