Gener8tor launching first Chicago accelerator focused on climate tech

Read the full story at ChicagoInno.

Gener8tor, a prominent Midwest startup accelerator, is opening its first-ever Chicago-based program, where it will focus on sustainability and climate-tech startups.

Gener8tor announced Tuesday the launch of its Sustainability Accelerator, a three-month program that will help scale startups that are tackling climate change.

EPA seeks applicants for 2021 Environmental Education Grants

Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that up to $3 million in funding for locally-focused environmental education grants is now available under the 2021 Environmental Education (EE) Local Grant Program. EPA will award grants in each of EPA’s 10 Regions, for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 each, for a total of 30-40 grants nationwide. Applications are due Dec. 6, 2021 and the Request for Application (RFA) notice is now posted on and on EPA’s website.

The 2021 EE Local Grant Program includes support for projects that reflect the intersection of environmental issues with climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, preventing future water quality and human health issues, in addition to other environmental topics. Funded projects will increase public awareness of those topics and help participants to develop the skills needed to make informed decisions. An RFA containing regional details will be issued by each of the 10 EPA Regions. Applicants should choose the RFA that is for the location of the project. 

“Tackling the climate crisis and delivering on our health and environmental protection mission requires engaged and informed local partners. When we equip communities with the right tools to raise awareness and advance environmental education, it benefits everybody. That’s why I encourage our local partners across the country to apply for the 2021 Environmental Education Local Grants Program.” 

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan

Through this grant program, EPA intends to provide financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques, that will serve to increase environmental literacy and encourage behavior that will benefit the environment in local communities, especially in underserved communities. EPA recognizes underserved communities as people or communities of color, Tribal and Indigenous populations that may be disproportionately impacted by environmental harms and risks, high-poverty areas, persistent poverty counties, and Title 1 schools for this grant program.

Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 and $3.5 million in grant funding per year under this program, supporting more than 3,800 grants and making the grant program one of the most utilized in the agency.

The full list of solicitation notices are available at and on EPA’s website. The Office of Environmental Education will also host two webinars in the coming weeks on how to write a competitive application and to address commonly asked questions. Background information on the EE Grants Program and resources for applicants is available here.

‘You Will See Who Gets the Lifeboats’: Injustice on the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis in the US

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The climate crisis is fundamentally a human rights crisis. Changes in climate will have different effects on different groups of people according to existing vulnerabilities. The socioeconomic impacts of global heating will be nonlinear and are likely to have knock-on effects as physical hazards reach tipping points beyond which physiological, human-made, and ecological systems break down. The climate crisis will therefore not only act upon global inequalities – it will also exacerbate them, creating a vicious cycle where low-income and marginalized communities will be rendered increasingly vulnerable by global heating.

In the US, vulnerability to global heating intersects with a matrix of systemic injustices: income
inequality, racism, immigration status, gender, rural underdevelopment, and a history of genocide of Native peoples. Studies have found that people of color across all regions and income levels in the US are systemically exposed to disproportionately higher levels of ambient air pollution. Domestic climate action to urgently reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of global heating must also address these issues of justice, or they will fail to protect the American communities on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Feds’ plan to save endangered rusty patched bumble bee misses mark, critics say

Read the full story from WTTW.

Four years after the rusty patched bumble bee was placed on the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its final recovery plan for the insect, a plan critics say manages to go too far and yet not far enough at the same time.

Concentration of microparticles in lakes reflect nearby human activity and land use

Read the full story in PLOS.

A new study suggests that microparticle concentrations in lakes are higher than previously reported, and that human activity and surrounding land use may be a strong predictor of microplastics and anthropogenic fiber pollution.

The sea’s next big plastic problem? Old paint

Read the full story in Wired.

Oil rigs, turbines and other megastructures are shedding tonnes of plastic-laden paint into the ocean. This company has a fix.

Good for groundwater – bad for crops? Plastic particles release pollutants in upper soil layers

Read the full story from the University of Vienna.

In agriculture, large quantities of nano- and microplastics end up in the soil through compost, sewage sludge and the use of mulching foils. The plastic particles always carry various pollutants with them. However, they do not transport them into the groundwater, as is often assumed. Environmental geoscientists led by Thilo Hofmann have now determined that the plastic particles release the pollutants in the upper soil layers: they do not generally contaminate the groundwater, but have a negative effect on soil microbes and crops. The study by the University of Vienna appears in Nature Communications Earth & Environment.

China to ramp up recycling, incineration in new plastic pollution push

Read the full story from Reuters.

China will boost its plastic recycling and incineration capabilities, promote “green” plastic products and take action against the overuse of plastic in packaging and agriculture, it said in a 2021-2025 “five-year plan” published on Wednesday.

State of the Union: 9 green initiatives you need to know about

Read the full story at ENDS Europe.

The European Commission will spend more on international climate and biodiversity finance, promote ‘green hydrogen’ investment in Africa, and propose an array of new legislative files tackling environmental problems. Here’s what you need to know.

COVID’s lessons for climate, sustainability and more from Our World in Data

Read the full story in Nature.

International agencies need the mandate, funds and expertise to connect information — otherwise pandemics, hunger and unsustainability will go unsolved.