California legislature passes high-profile bill to regulate recyclability labels

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

The California legislature passed a major labeling bill (SB 343) on September 9. The bill, which would prohibit use of the “chasing arrows” symbol or any other recyclability claim on packaging unless it was approved through a detailed state-led process, could have national implications in the packaging policy debate. It now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom for final approval and must be signed into law by Oct. 10.

The technology to reach net zero carbon emissions isn’t ready for prime time, but …

Read the full story in Scientific American.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry recently stated that in order to reach net zero emission goals by 2045, we’ll “need technologies we don’t yet have.” Well, he’s half right. It’s true that battling climate change requires innovative, technologically driven ideas that can be tested, replicated and scaled, at warp speed. But inventing wholly new technology isn’t necessarily the answer, nor is the idea we can deploy today’s technology all the way to 100 percent clean energy.

That’s because the foundations for transformational new technologies already exist in research labs today. However, that technology needs facilities that support rapid testing and scaling. It needs a method that allows research and technology development to coexist without fear of failure; a proven process that can quickly and efficiently bring lab innovations to market.

Making small farms more sustainable — and profitable

Read the full story from Harvard Business Review.

Smallholder farms provide a large proportion of food supply in developing economies, but 40% of these farmers live on less than U.S.$2/day.  With a rapidly growing global population it is imperative to improve the productivity and security of farmers making up this sector.  This article presents the results of Better Life Farming, an ecosystem that connects smallholder farmers in India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh to the capabilities, products, and services of corporations and NGOs.

How the infrastructure bill will enable more sustainable farming

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Earlier this year, my colleague Jim Giles wrote about the importance of viewing soil as infrastructure. So when the Senate passed its $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act last week, I was curious to see if this monumental bill shared Jim’s view. 

Unfortunately not is the short answer. The bill is using an old-school definition of infrastructure that doesn’t include agriculture. 

Nonetheless, a few components of the bipartisan bill, by far the largest infrastructure package in decades, support sustainable agriculture. The expansion of rural broadband is the most notable improvement for American farmers. Although more indirectly, investments in transportation, water and wildfire risk reduction will also benefit them. So what do these investments look like? 

Historic drought slashes hydropower generation in California, other Western states

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Drought conditions in California and other western states are leading to big cuts in the amount of electricity generated by hydropower plants in the region, according to a report by Moody’s Investors Service.

The plunge in hydropower production has helped fuel a big increase in power prices in the Golden State, which hit their highest levels in five years over the summer, soaring 150% from May to July, according to Moody’s.

The decline in hydropower, and the scramble to replace it with other sources, is putting financial pressure on local hydropower utilities in California and other western states. By contrast, big out-of-state energy companies that sell into the California grid, and which rely on other sources from renewables to natural gas and nuclear, are profiting as demand for their power surges, Moody’s reports.

K-State: Cover crops reduce erosion, fertilizer management cuts phosphorus losses from farm fields

Read the full story at Courier Traveler.

Kansas State University researchers are finding mounting evidence to indicate the importance of pairing cover crops with improved fertilizer management for controlling phosphorus runoff from farm fields.

Misfit Markets expands to 43 states

Read the full story from Waste360.

Misfits Market has officially arrived in four new states—Arizona, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oklahoma—and they’re delivering to every zip code, from urban centers, to suburbs, to rural areas. All residents of these states now have access to organic produce, high-quality meats, seafood, and plant-based proteins, and other sustainably sourced grocery items at affordable prices.

To boost flood resilience, states and localities should partner with each other—and outside experts

Read the full story from Pew.

Lessons of Superstorm Sandy show how to account for future climate threats in building design and land use decisions.

A midwestern town moved uphill to survive the elements. Can others do the same?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The relatively well-off bedroom community of Valmeyer, Illinois, could afford to relocate – but moving isn’t as easy for less affluent towns.

Sea scallops farmed in Maine aren’t just sustainable. They’re helping their habitat.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

There are only a handful of these farms in the United States, most run by fishing families in Maine. But their number is growing.