Category: Data visualization/Infographics

UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute launches new tool to track air pollution at every U.S. school

Read the full story from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) today unveiled a new interactive, web-based tool for tracking industrial toxic air pollution at every school in the United States. The tool, Air Toxics at School, reports toxicity-weighted concentrations of pollutants to show individual chronic human health risk from industrial toxic air pollutants at the schools’ locations.

NOAA Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign

The National Integrated Heat Health Information Center (NIHHIC), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an integrated system that:

  • builds understanding of the problem of extreme heat,
  • defines demand for climate services that enhance societal resilience,
  • develops science-based products and services from a sustained climate science research program, and
  • improves capacity, communication, and societal understanding of the problem in order to reduce morbidity and mortality due to extreme heat. 

One of NIHHIC’s projects is urban heat island mapping. These maps and their underlying data are available on the NIHHIC website.

Online map showcases construction-related careers in booming green sector

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

A group of energy-efficiency organizations has launched an online tool designed to help U.S. workers research career paths in the booming field of green building.

The interactive Green Buildings Career Map highlights career opportunities in building energy efficiency, with 55 jobs across four industry sectors, as well as over 300 potential advancement routes. It was developed with input from industry subject matter experts to help interested candidates learn about quality jobs related to energy efficiency in buildings.

The initiative, supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office, was designed to foster a robust and inclusive pipeline of qualified workers to meet employer demand, said Larry Sherwood, CEO of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, one of its developers. “This is crucially important to sustaining the rapid growth of this important industry and ensuring the benefits of employment in this sector are accessible to more people,” he said in a release.

This clever app turns your spreadsheets into slick interactive web tools

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Grid gives new life to Excel and Google Sheets, without making you give up the apps you know. It even has the support of one of the spreadsheet’s inventors.

Lead in Private Wells

View the full story map.

To prevent public health crises that result from widespread lead contamination in drinking water, community water supplies are required to closely monitor their drinking water quality. 

Lead (Pb) exposure is associated with many health effects, like neurodevelopmental impairment, distractibility, impulsivity, shortened attention span, and reduced IQ. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that no level of Pb exposure is safe, so Pb exposure in children should be prevented. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lead and copper rule sets an action level of 15 micrograms per liter (μg/L), or parts per billion, for lead at customer taps for public water supplies. (If more than 10% of customer taps sampled exceed this value, additional actions to control corrosion must be undertaken.)

However, the state of Illinois does not regulate domestic wells for water quality. Studies in several other states suggested that water-borne lead might be a concern in homes with domestic wells, so researchers at the Illinois State Water, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northern Illinois University, designed a study to learn if this was also true in Illinois.

Mapping project illuminates links between poor environment, historical racism

Read the full story at Coast Reporter.

A new tool that measures the environmental quality of any urban street in Canada — and maps it out in colour — illustrates vividly the many neighbourhoods in the country that have poor environment scores, neighbourhoods that are often home to racialized communities.

Interactive map breaks down Texas renewable energy development by congressional district

Read the full story at Solar Power World.

Wind power, solar power and energy storage projects are providing new economic opportunities for rural Texas counties, bringing needed diversification, economic development, job creation and multi-generational revenue through a growing property tax base and payments to landowners.

That’s the key takeaway of CleanPowerPays.org, a new interactive website launched this week by the Advanced Power Alliance (APA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

New interactive mapping tool can pinpoint pollution hotspots in effort to improve health equity

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with the University of Washington, announces new interactive mapping tools to help utilities improve environmental health equity as they transition to cleaner energy generation. These tools identify communities in Washington that are disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel pollution and vulnerable to climate change impacts so that these inequities can be addressed.

The new tools provide utilities with localized data on the environmental, health and climate risks communities face, supporting decisions that advance environmental justice in the state’s shift away from fossil fuels.     

DOH analysis shows that 54 out of 64 electrical utilities in Washington contain communities highly impacted by fossil fuel pollution and other risk factors. Utilities will use these data to address inequities as they transition to cleaner energy sources.

Communities are “highly impacted” if they rank a nine or a ten on the Environmental Health Disparities map. This map captures exposure to pollution, fossil fuels, and other environmental hazards as well as social vulnerability factors such as income and race. Added to the map are new climate projections which show distribution of risks from climate change, which will help guide utilities’ efforts.

The Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2019, focuses on making energy cleaner and healthier. One component of that process requires DOH to identify communities that are unfairly burdened by environmental risk factors and climate change impacts. Utilities, under the guidance of the Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), will use this information to ensure the benefits of transitioning to green energy are more equitably distributed across communities.  

“Having accurate, community-level data about environmental risks is critical to inform decisions by policymakers on funding priorities, environmental policy and strategies to help communities disproportionately impacted by pollution,” said Dr. Jeremy Hess, director of the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE). “This work is part of CHanGE’s mission to promote the health benefits of climate action and support key decisions in climate change mitigation and adaptation. We are committed to working with our partners to build on these tools going forward,” Hess said.

“This is one step toward helping our communities whose health is most impacted by environmental concerns, by focusing resources to help them with the transition to clean energy in Washington,” says Environmental Public Health Senior Epidemiologist Jennifer Sabel.

DOH will host a webinar for utilities and the interested public illustrating how to use the tools on Tuesday, March 16 from 1-2:30 PM. Click here to register.

CETA commits Washington to an electricity supply free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The climate projection data is the result of a collaboration between DOH, CHanGE, the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and the UW Climate Impacts Group.

A Data Visualization Tool Identifying Opportunities to Recapture Plastic in the US & Canada

View the map and read the analysis.

Demand for recycled content is growing rapidly, with more than 250 brands and retailers in the U.S. committing to increase their use of recycled content in products and packaging. While 90% of plastic waste ends up in a landfill, incinerator, or worse, in our oceans and the environment, the current supply of recycled plastics meets just 6% of demand for the most common plastics in the US and Canada because of technical or market barriers. This highlights the significant gap between where we are and where we need to be.

Using plastic packaging as a starting point, this tool guides investors, brands, entrepreneurs and policymakers to make data-driven decisions that drive toward a circular future. The map brings to light the diversity of plastic waste, breaking down the volumes of plastics by type and the flows by country, state and province. In doing so, it highlights the critical opportunities to recapture valuable plastics and re-incorporate them into manufacturing supply chains. Enhancing the transparency of supply chains and better understanding the current flow of materials are essential first steps to improve plastics recovery.

Global Forest Review (GFR)

Many of the world’s forests are being damaged and degraded or are disappearing altogether. Their capacity to provide tangible goods, such as fiber, food, and medicines, as well as essential ecological services, including habitat for biodiversity, carbon storage, and moderation of freshwater flows, is under greater threat than ever before.

The Global Forest Review (GFR) provides insights generated from the best available geospatial data and analysis to support the global community working to protect and restore forests worldwide.

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