Solving for every step of concrete’s carbon packed production

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

A step-by-step analysis of everything we can do to decarbonize one of the most important materials for infrastructure.

Closing the loop on commercial textile waste

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Founded by Jessica Schreiber and Camille Tagle, FABSCRAP was created to meet New York City’s commercial textile recycling needs. With the expansion of fast-fashion companies and the demand for trendy clothing growing every day, a company such as FABSCRAP coming alongside corporations to responsibly handle textile waste is more needed than ever. 

Through their work, materials that traditionally would have gone to landfill are being properly recycled and made available for reuse. 

Their volunteer network has grown from just crafters to anyone with a passion to help the industry become more sustainable. FABSCRAP provides convenient pickup and recycling of textiles for businesses in New York City and Philadelphia. 

Schreiber and Tagle met with the Impact Report to discuss their careers in waste management and fashion, textile waste from mills to landfills, and to tell us about their new FABSCRAP Philadelphia location. 

Read more about their impact in their most recent report: FABSCRAP 2020 Annual Report.

SIU research team wins $1.33M NSF grant to train sustainability-focused geoscientists

An interdisciplinary research team at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is creating a scholarship program aimed at bringing a sustainability mindset together with science and engineering training to target low-income transfer students who will become the next generation of geoscientists. The team members, left to right, include Justin Schoof, Leslie Duram, Ruopu Li, Harvey Henson, and Wendell Williams. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

Source: Southern Illinois University

by Tim Crosby, Southern Illinois University

Sustainability is for everyone, and a Southern Illinois University Carbondale research team is creating a scholarship program aimed at bringing that mindset together with science and engineering training to target low-income transfer students who will become the next generation of geoscientists.

Led by Ruopu Li, associate professor in the School of Earth Systems and Sustainability, the team has secured a $1.33 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a project “Converging Earth Science and Sustainability Education and Experience to Prepare Next-Generation Geoscientists.” Li and the rest of the team will use the grant to fund Earth-Sustainability Scholarships of up to $10,000 each for at least 40 low-income transfer students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in geography and environmental resources, and geology. The students will also receive research-based support services, and may be eligible to develop their own grant-funded sustainability projects.

“It’s an exciting education research experiment that is expected to support four cohorts of sustainability-minded next-generation geoscientists,” Li said. “If successful, this project may be used as a model for earth science education in the U.S. and the rest of the world.”

The program runs for five years, from this coming January to December 2027.

Leadership for the future

Li said a sustainability-minded STEM workforce is vital for the nation as it attempts to strategically develop natural resources, promote economic growth and make informed decisions in a rapidly changing world.

“Our project will develop an educational pipeline to broaden the participation of low-income students by reducing financial pressure and improving learning opportunities and outcomes at SIU,” Li said. “We also hope it will establish an educational prototype that supports academically talented and low-income transfer students to become sustainability-focused earth science degree graduates.”

Geoscientists will need to apply their knowledge and techniques to solve pressing environmental issues by creating and evaluating various options and approaches, Li said.

“Nowadays, sustainability is often promoted as a strong organizing principle for modern education programs,” Li said. “But historically, there has been a disconnect between sustainability and earth science training in our postsecondary education. That prevents future generations from recognizing the important issues and opportunities with sustainable development and responsible use of natural resources.”

Support services for student success

Students in the program not only will receive significant financial aid, but they also will get strong, structured support services including cohort building, leadership development, multilevel mentoring networks, and research and experiential learning. Such an approach requires all students to pursue problem-based research projects under the supervision of a faculty mentor on sustainability capstone projects, for example.

The program also will allow the SIU team to create a mini-grant program for students, with up to 10 awards to cover costs for creative earth science projects in faculty mentors’ labs each year.

A psychological model geared for success

The team also includes co-principal investigators Harvey Henson, associate professor in the School of Education and the School of Earth Systems and Sustainability; Leslie Duram, professor in the School of Earth Systems and Sustainability, Justin Schoof, professor and director in the School of Earth Systems and Sustainability, and Wendell Williams, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management. The STEM Education Research Center assisted with the grant funding.

The researchers will govern the entire approach using the psychological theory of planned behavior, or TPB. Under this theory, which seeks to link beliefs to behaviors, researchers adopt the view that three core components – positive attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control – largely shape an individual’s intentions and actions in pursuing goals. The researchers will use services and activities associated with TPB’s core components to drive students toward graduation.

Overall, the grant will promote research and teaching excellence as it seeks to bring together social science, Earth science and sustainability as an exemplar for a next-generation science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

SIU poised for success

The project directly supports the university’s strategic plan, Imagine 2030, and its pillars for sustainability and research and innovation. Li said it also provides an important collaborative opportunity for faculty.

Schoof said the interdisciplinary nature of the grant will bring added strength to the project.

“It will bridge faculty from the Geography and Environmental Resources and Geology programs in the School of Earth Systems and Sustainability to work together for better Earth science education, while also increasing overall student enrollment,” he said.

Maybe PFAS aren’t as sturdy as previously thought

Read the full story at Chemical & Engineering News.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have quickly become ubiquitous in the environment. Used for decades in everything from firefighting foams to nonstick skillets, these potentially toxic compounds are now being found in soils, groundwater and even rain and snow.

And they’re expected to stay in the environment for years—perhaps centuries—as the compounds’ sturdy fluoride-carbon bonds make it nearly impossible for them to degrade naturally. But now, scientists have developed a way to permanently break down two classes of these “forever chemicals” using relatively low temperatures and a few common reagents (Science 2022, DOI: 10.1126/science.abm8868). Brittany Trang, who co-led the study, presented the work on Wednesday at the ACS Fall 2022 meeting in the Division of Environmental Chemistry. William Dichtel, a chemist at Northwestern University, also introduced the work at a presidential event symposium on Tuesday.

Dented, dated, discontinued? At the salvage grocery, it’s called a deal

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Salvage food stores have long been a lure for the frugal and the intrepid. But inflation, environmentalism and some clever rebranding are expanding the fan base.

Soy by-product: Okara could be upcycled into plant-based cheese by Singapore partnership

Read the full story at Dairy Reporter.

A Singapore food partnership is aiming to upcycle the soy by-product okara into plant-based cheese products using proprietary technology.

Oakland, California, planning e-bike library to cut congestion and carbon

Read the full story at Smart Cities Dive.

The city is using a state grant to offer bicycle lending — along with instruction on how to ride a bike and maintenance — in low-income neighborhoods.

Don’t walk on by: how to confront bias and bigotry aimed at others

Read the full story in Nature.

Bystander-intervention programs use humor and other tools to call out bullying and harassment in science.

These maps show how many ‘dangerous’ heat days your neighborhood may have by midcentury

Read the full story at Fast Company.

See also Rise in extreme heat will hit minority communities hardest at E&E News, which includes additional analysis that combines First Street’s data with Census Bureau records to analyze racial and ethnic disparities in exposure to extreme heat.

Right now, there are only a few pockets of the U.S. where it’s possible that the heat index might rise above 125 degrees Fahrenheit—a particularly dangerous threshold for human health. But by the middle of the century, a much larger area is at risk, sprawling from the Gulf Coast across a swath of the middle of the country, and reaching as far north as southern Wisconsin.

A new report [by First Street] maps out where it could happen, along with the increased risk of more ordinary (but still risky) extreme heat, heat waves, and temperatures that surge outside local norms. In a new tool, you can type in any American address, and see both the risks from heat in your neighborhood now and by midcentury. It’s part of Risk Factor, a broader climate risk tool that also shows the risk from flooding or wildfires for any American address.

Two years in the making, these jeans are the antidote to fast fashion

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Fashion brands grow by selling you clothes that will go out of style. Asket sells you pieces that will last at least five years, so you don’t need to come back for more.