Webinar: Making Climate Change Communication Stick with Framing

Monday, May 2nd at 6:30 pm CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/123672342419364097

Have you ever wondered what would be the best way to talk about climate change? Have you felt unsure if your message is clear and connects to your students or audiences? If so, then this webinar is for you! Effectively communicating complex issues involves sound science and an element of artistry. The FrameWorks Institute interviewed over 18,000 Americans and conducted multiple experiments on the topic of communicating climate chanage to identify the “frames” or messaging strategies, which are most likely to help the public understand that:

  • fossil fuels are the primary cause of climate change
  • our ocean is part of the climate change story
  • we need alternative energy solutions at the community-based level
  • these are all issues that we can and should tackle

Find out how you can use these simple, clear, and effective messages to communicate climate change in your classroom and beyond.

EPA Honors Winners of 2015 Campus RainWorks Challenge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the winners of its fourth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a design competition created to engage college and university students in reinventing our nation’s water infrastructure and developing green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution and build resilience to climate change. Student teams proposed innovative green infrastructure designs help aid in the development of more sustainable communities.

Stormwater is one of the nation’s most widespread challenges to water quality. Large volumes of stormwater pollute our nation’s streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and the environment and contribute to downstream flooding. The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation.

“Our Campus RainWorks Challenge winners inspire the next generation of green infrastructure designers and planners,” said Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “All the submissions included innovative approaches to stormwater management. I want to congratulate the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Maryland for their winning submissions.” Mr. Beauvais announced the winners of the Challenge at an event at the University of Texas at Arlington on Thursday, April 21.

EPA invited student teams to compete in two design categories — the Master Plan category, which examines how green infrastructure could be integrated into a broad area of a school’s campus, and the Demonstration Project category, which examines how green infrastructure could be integrated into a particular site on the team’s campus. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students, working with a faculty advisor, developed innovative green infrastructure designs in one of the categories, showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.

The 2015 challenge winners are:

University of Texas at Arlington (1st Place, Master Plan category) – The team’s design concept, titled, “Eco-Flow: A Water-Sensitive Placemaking Response to Climate Change,” transforms the campus through green infrastructure placed in relation to the natural water flow of Trading House Creek. The creek flows from northwest to south connecting the campus. The plan proposes to increase biodiversity, restore soil quality and watershed hydrology, and implement photovoltaic cells to supply alternative energy. The plan has the potential to reduce stormwater runoff 25 inches annually, generate more than 1 million kilowatt hours each year, increase campus tree coverage 89 percent, and mitigate 5,000 tons of CO2.

University of Maryland, College Park (1st Place, Demonstration Project category) – The design is centered on reimagining a major, five-acre parking lot to retrofit it for improved stormwater management. The design features reduce 40 percent of impervious surface; add over 17,000 square feet of new vegetation space, 56 new trees for shaded parking spaces, and 8,640 square feet of pedestrian space; and, reduce 12.3 metric tons of CO2 annually. The team’s design has good potential for implementing on other campuses.

Stevens Institute of Technology (2nd Place, Master Plan category) – The team proposed the first stormwater management plan for the Stevens’ campus, “The Living Laboratory.” The design includes 29 green infrastructure techniques, which have been applied to problem areas to reduce runoff, contaminant discharge and potable water usage. The Living Laboratory provides a practical example for urban campus green infrastructure and introduces classroom and community educational opportunities. The team worked with Stevens Facilities and Events Management to ensure the proposed design is aligned with future growth of campus, can be maintained, is aesthetically pleasing and economically responsible.

University of California, Berkeley (2nd Place, Demonstration Project category) – The team chose a creek site on campus that was the university’s first botanical garden with many artificial landscape features that cause drainage problems. While it is home to a legacy of exotic plants, the site lacks habitat conducive to supporting native species and reducing runoff. The team proposes a design that will store 37,000 cubic feet of stormwater runoff, increase pervious surface are by 33 percent and increase native plant species. The design has potential to reduce flooding and restore the ecological diversity of the area.

EPA also recognized teams from the University of Texas at Arlington (Master Plan category) and Northeastern University (Demonstration Project category) as honorable mentions for their entries.

EPA will announce the fifth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge in the summer of 2016.

Green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Utilizing these tools decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters, and ponds. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space.

More information: https://www.epa.gov/green-infrastructure/2015-campus-rainworks-challenge

How Sustainable Practices at Three U.S. Universities are Reducing Waste

Read the full story at Waste360.

Many U.S. colleges have pledged to work toward carbon neutral campuses and are making changes in how they build new buildings, where and how they generate power and what they are sending to landfills.

Take a look at what three universities are doing to reduce waste and build sustainable practices in and around campus.

Science.gov Is Hosting New Interagency Microsites Listing STEM Education and Training Opportunities for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Read the full story from Science.gov.

Two new federal interagency websites designed to connect undergraduate and graduate students with education and training opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields have been launched on Science.gov, the portal to U.S. government science information.

The two microsites, STEMUndergrads.science.gov and STEMGradStudents.science.gov, were created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science in collaboration with participating agencies in the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on STEM Education and the Science.gov Alliance, which governs Science.gov.

Festival to feature music on instruments made from found materials

Read the full story at Inside Illinois.

Ken Butler, a New York City-based artist and musician, is the featured performer at the Sonified Sustainability Festival on the University of Illinois campus. Butler makes hybrid musical instruments from all sorts of everyday objects. His creations have been exhibited in galleries and museums, and he also plays music on some of the instruments he makes.

The festival will also feature a waste sculpture that incorporates approximately 2,304 plastic bottles, which represents the number of bottles consumed in the US every 1.45 seconds. According to Ban The Bottle, the US consumes ~50 billion plastic bottles/year. The waste sculpture was constructed by students, overseen by my colleague Joy Scrogum, as part of a grant from the University of Illinois’ Student Sustainability Committee to the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

Brown’s FLIP Library Lends Textbooks to Low-Income Students

Read the full story in Library Journal.

Since the spring of 2015, Brown University’s John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library has been home to a new lending service—the First Generation Low Income Partnership (FLIP) Library. The FLIP Library makes textbooks available, free of charge, to students who may otherwise find it challenging to cover the high cost of texts required for their coursework.

DOE Announces Major Expansion of Crowdsourcing Initiative for Building Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced a major expansion of its distinctive online crowdsourcing community for building technologies. Seeking to draw on the creativity and technical expertise of the American public, citizens can now submit their ideas to six open calls for innovation, with the chance to partner with a DOE national laboratory and a leading private sector partner.

The crowdsourcing community, called JUMP (#jump4innovation), was first launched by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2015. Today, it has expanded to be co-hosted by five DOE national laboratories and some of the top private companies in the buildings sector. JUMP stands for Join in the discussion, Unveil innovation, Motivate transformation and Promote technology-to-market. The goal is to broaden the pool of people from whom DOE seeks ideas and to move these ideas to the marketplace faster.

The participating national labs are Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and ORNL. Together the labs offer a crowdsourcing platform for innovators, particularly small entrepreneurs, to present ideas for new technologies for energy-efficient buildings to private and public sector leaders in research and development.

“It is exciting to see unique, diverse and new to DOE individuals, start-ups, and entrepreneurs join in the JUMP community,” said Karma Sawyer, technology analysis and commercialization manager with DOE’s Building Technologies Office.

“Together we are tackling the technology and market challenges critical to advancing energy efficient buildings. We have more than 500 registered users on our JUMP crowdsourcing platform and we look forward to connecting an even larger community for innovation in the upcoming regional events with our national lab and industry partners.”

Each lab is seeking industry partners and innovators to join JUMP. Industry partners gain access to national laboratory expertise while helping shape technologies and services for the next generation of energy-efficient buildings.

“By leveraging their individual research team and industry connections, each lab is developing calls for innovation relevant to the most pressing industry challenges, to accelerate technology to market,” said Melissa Voss Lapsa, ORNL’s group leader for Whole-Building and Community Integration.

“Our industry partners are gathering and reviewing ideas and getting even closer to solving their challenges.”

Industry partners are A.O. Smith, Building Robotics, Clean Energy Trust, CLEAResult, Callida Energy, Emerson Climate Technologies, General Electric, Honeywell, IntelliChoice Energy, and United Technologies Research Center. Working with the labs, industry partners are offering challenges focused on building technologies, including appliances, building envelope, building analytics and information systems, lighting, heating and cooling systems, and sensors and controls.

JUMP includes opportunities for innovators to comment and vote on ideas. This community discussion helps DOE and its partners gauge the market’s interest in the topic and potential solutions. A judging panel evaluates top ideas based on their potential for significant energy savings, novelty, and technical, market, and economic feasibility. Innovators get connected to industry partners and may qualify for cash prizes, in-kind technical support, and recognition.

Innovators are encouraged to view the JUMP technology challenges and submit their ideas. Industry stakeholders interested in crowdsourcing a pressing technology challenge are invited to contact the JUMP Team to get involved.

This initiative is being funded by DOE’s Building Technologies Office.