EPA and ASTM incorporate PFAS due diligence into environmental site assessments

Read the full story at JD Supra.

Recent actions by EPA and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) make PFAS a real issue for conducting commercial real estate due diligence. These new measures are notable in that they give stakeholders a choice between compliance with two different ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) standards—the old and the new.

Logistics gets on a sustainable track

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

Moving goods from Point A to Point B has long been a polluting process, thanks to the dirty petroleum-based “bunker fuel” used to power most oceangoing vessels, the energy- and carbon-intensive world of aviation and other legacy fuels and technologies. And, alongside both, the trucks and trains that move things on terra firma. All are considerable sources of carbon pollution, not to mention other problematic emissions into the air and water. And all have been under pressure to change.

At long last, those changes may be en route. A truckload of technologies, partnerships and global agreements are putting solutions, some of them decades old, on a fast, or at least faster, track. Combine that with corporate and government purchasing commitments that stoke demand for greener logistics options, along with stepped-up regulatory pressure to decarbonize the transportation sector, and you have the makings of a disruptive shift.

A new “Fitbit” for fish spills secret life of fish

Lab-on-a-Fish uses multiple sensors to wirelessly track location, heartbeat, tail movement, and even temperature of the surrounding environment.
(Graphic by Michael Perkins | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

A new fitness tracker that’s very much like a ‘Fitbit for fish’ is revealing new information about fish health and behavior. The first-of-its-kind device uses multiple sensors to wirelessly track what a fish experiences in real-time.

“The Lab-on-a-Fish offers something needed in conservation and aquaculture—a cost-effective way to monitor fish health and behavior,” said Daniel Deng, a Lab Fellow and mechanical engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) whose sensor development team collaborated with the battery team lead by Jie Xiao, a Laboratory fellow and chemist.

The device, a type of biosensor, can simultaneously collect data about a fish, including its location, heartbeat, tail movement, and burned calories, as well as the temperature, pressure, and magnetic field of its surrounding environment. This information can help scientists and managers understand the impact of climate change and infrastructure development on ecosystem health and, in turn, inform future management and conservation strategies.

Precision environmental health advanced by exposure research

Read the full story at Environmental Factor.

One NIEHS grant recipient is taking air pollution research to a new level and expanding knowledge about how climate change-related weather events such as wildfires can affect maternal and infant health.

New study examines social media’s role in reducing food waste

Read the full story at Food & Beverage Industry News.

Social media campaigns can play a role in people’s food waste behaviours but work best when combined with other intervention tools, according to a new Fight Food Waste CRC report

Early Childhood STEM Education for Sustainable Development

Campbell, C., & Speldewinde, C. (2022). “Early Childhood STEM Education for Sustainable Development.” Sustainability 14(6), 3524. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063524

Abstract: Early childhood education is crucial for the development of young children’s understanding of the natural world. Children have a role in sustaining a viable environmental and social future. This research interrogated key ideas concerning STEM education for sustainable development, drawing on seminal research and a range of government policy documents to formulate a futures-oriented approach to supporting children to build understandings in early childhood sustainability. Through the use of ethnography, a research methodology that uses both participation and observation of research participants, it became apparent that young children’s play-based learning enabled agentic responses in aligning with early understanding of STEM and sustainability. Using accepted descriptors of international Sustainable Development Goals within an early childhood research study, the research highlights how the development of interactive, learner-centred STEM teaching not only enables investigative, action-adapted learning, but also fosters independent learners who are responsive to their natural environment. The implication of this research is that further development of children’s environmental agency is suggested by the authors. The introduction of a whole-of-kindergarten approach that focuses on the systemic development of quality STEM education is posited as an avenue for educators to build young children’s understandings of sustainable development.

Our View: It’s time to recognize, research, and remove environmental causes of mental illness

Read the full story at Environmental Health News.

No one should suffer mental illness due to pollution. We need to better understand and address this danger to our brains.

Study finds twice as many cellulose fibers as microplastics in the Atlantic Ocean

Read the full story at Green Car Congress.

A study by three French institutes—Ifremer, the University of Bordeaux and the IRD (a public research institution)—has found that the surface water of the Atlantic Ocean is twice as polluted by cellulose fibers as it is by microplastics. This study, based on measurements taken from an offshore race boat, also shows that the North Atlantic is more affected by plastic pollution than the South Atlantic and questions the dynamics of the subtropical gyre (area with a high concentration of microplastics) since the pollution levels measured there are lower than expected.

Leveraging Life Cycle Assessment to Better Promote the Circular Economy: A First Step Using the Concept of Opportunity Cost

Aleisa, E., & Heijungs, R. (2022). “Leveraging Life Cycle Assessment to Better Promote the Circular Economy: A First Step Using the Concept of Opportunity Cost.” Sustainability 14(6), 3451. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063451

Abstract: In economics, opportunity cost is defined as the benefit foregone by choosing another course of action. Considering opportunity costs enables the improved handling of trade-offs to better support strategic decision-making. We introduce the concept of opportunity cost into life cycle assessment (LCA). In our framework, opportunity cost extends the system expansion paradigm to support better alignment with a circular economy (CE). Opportunity cost thinking is considered to be most useful for the efficient allocation of scarce economic capital for the creation of economic value. In the environmental domain, we use such thinking to account for the implications of ‘wasting waste’. In this paper, we consider a case of treated wastewater sludge being used as a source of nutrients as a vehicle to study the points at which LCA can support a CE. Our conclusions, however, have wider repercussions because there are many more situations in which product systems are analytically demarcated from the web of connections in which they are embedded. 

AI combined with hyperspectral sensing could facilitate large-scale monitoring of soil carbon

Read the full story at AZO Robotics.

Classically, scientists gather soil samples in the field and transport them back to the lab, where they examine the material to establish its constituents. But that is time-intensive, laborious, expensive and only offers insights on particular locations.

In a new study, University of Illinois scientists demonstrate new machine-learning techniques based on laboratory soil hyperspectral data that could deliver equally accurate approximations of soil organic carbon. Their study offers the groundwork to use airborne and satellite hyperspectral sensing to track surface soil organic carbon spanning large areas.