U.S. EPA Region 1 offers webinar series on climate resilience for small business

U.S. EPA Region 1 is conducting a webinar series on climate change resilience for small businesses, especially those located in or near flood-prone areas that use hazardous chemicals.  This training takes a “source reduction first” approach to the training for these businesses. Participants will learn how to:

  • Assess pollution prevention/source reduction options
  • Use online maps to learn if they are in or near flood-prone areas
  • Comply with hazardous waste management regulations
  • Prepare a business continuity plan
  • Find out about how they can obtain energy audits and funding from the Massachusetts Small and Midsize Business Direct Install Program

Webinar 1: The Resilient Business: Strategies for Pollution Prevention & Financing Energy Efficiency

  • Session 1: Wednesday August 31, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. EDT – Register
  • Session 2: Wednesday, September 14, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT – Register

Webinar 2: The Resilient Business: Strategies for Pollution Prevention & Reducing Flood Risk

  • Session 1: Wed. Sept. 21, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDTRegister
  • Session 2: Wed. Sept. 28, 11:00 a.m-12:30 p.m. EDT Register

For more information about the webinar series, contact: Roy Crystal, 617-918-1745, Crystal.Roy@epa.gov.

Accessible, Aware, Accountable: How the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice is Responding to Your Concerns

Read the full post at Environmental Justice in Action.

To increase public awareness on these initiatives, the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG) is launching a webinar series to highlight the ways that federal agencies are collaborating to assist overburdened and under-resources communities across the nation.

Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources accepting applications for Great Lakes Energy Institute

Over the past century, three fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas and coal – have dominated U.S. energy production and consumption. In 2015, these fossil fuels made up 81.5% of total energy consumption in the country. While fossil fuels have held well above an 80% share for the last one hundred years, that 2015 number marks a new low. And it may be a sign of big changes to come.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is projecting that, by 2040, renewable energy generated by wind and solar will eclipse the contributions of biofuels and nuclear power and even rival coal in our national energy make up. Natural gas, meanwhile, will vie with petroleum for top billing.

IJNR’s Great Lakes Energy Institute will see how these changes are playing out on the ground. Journalists selected for the fellowship will enjoy a week-long field trip exploring everything from gas and oil pipelines and trains carrying crude through the Great Lakes region, to a potential new shale gas play in Michigan and Wisconsin’s largest solar array – built on the remains of a decommissioned coal operation.

Fellows will meet with scientists, business people, lawmakers, activists and local citizens as they take a deep dive into the stories that arise when economy, energy and our environment intersect.

The Great Lakes Energy Institute will begin and end in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


New MOOC from UNEP: Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking

The United Nations Environmental Programme has developed a new MOOC entitled “Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking.”

It begins on September 12, 2016 and runs for six weeks (seven for the advanced certificate). The cost is free. Here’s more from the course web site:

About this course

We live in a complex and dynamic world. Many problems we face today involve interdependent structures, multiple actors, and are at least partly the result of past actions. Such problems are extremely difficult to tackle and conventional solutions have very often led to unintended consequences.

A systems thinking approach focuses on systems as a whole: how the parts interrelate and how interconnections create emerging patterns. Systems thinking tools allow us to map and explore dynamic complexity. With a better understanding of systems, we can identify leverage points that lead to desired outcomes and avoid unintended consequences. Environmental problems are often described as “wicked problems” to highlight their complexity and the difficulties they entail. Finding answers to current crises such as fisheries collapse, climate change, biodiversity loss, infectious diseases, and inequitable access to resources will be amongst the greatest challenges of our time. The ecosystem approach applies systems thinking to gain a better understanding of how ecosystems function. It can help us identify potential solutions to a myriad of problems inspired in part by the complex dynamics of ecosystems themselves.


  • The first MOOC focusing on the ecosystem approach and systems thinking
  • Case studies from around the world
  • Expert faculty and distinguished visiting lecturers
  • Open to all without restrictions
  • Develop an extensive global network with other students and professionals from around the world
  • FREE of charge, including access to all course material on a 24-hour online platform

What will you gain in this course?

  • a well-developed knowledge of the basic features of ecosystems, the ecosystem approach and systems thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • an understanding of the distinction between reductionist and holistic thinking
  • the ability to apply critical systems thinking
  • enhanced knowledge of the inter-relationships between ecosystems and human systems:
    • critical ecosystem functions and services,
    • threats, drivers and direct and indirect impacts to human well-being and development, and
    • opportunities for the wider application of the ecosystem approach and systems thinking in other sectors
  • specific awareness of case studies selected from representative ecosystems and related global issues, demonstrating the benefits and challenges of integrated approaches for ecosystem management and beyond
  • the necessary basis for designing creative solutions to ecosystem management and governance problems

Course Options

Foundations: 40 hours of learning introducing the student to the basic concepts of the ecosystem and systems thinking approaches. This track consists of 10 modules geared towards university students, policymakers, managers and professionals who require an overview of the topic in order to integrate the concepts of the MOOC into their professions.

Advanced Certificate: 10 additional hours consisting of a final assignment for those who want to acquire more in-depth knowledge, insights and skills relating to the applicability of the ecosystem approach in their respective areas of specialization, in the larger framework of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Students can obtain a certificate of participation after the completion of the Foundations component of the course, and may elect to take their studies further to obtain an Advanced Certificate.

Webinar: EPA Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program

Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 2-3:30 p.m. CDT
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-tribal-science-webinar-series-tickets-25652683868

The U.S. EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) Seminar Series presents the Tribal Science Webinar Series, co-hosted by the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) and the Office of Science Policy. The webinar series provides a forum for discussion of the complex environmental issues facing many tribal and indigenous communities, and features a wide variety of expert guest speakers from government, academic institutions and other organizations. This month’s webinar focuses on the 2016-2017 EPA Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program, which partners EPA scientists with Tribal Colleges and Universities professors to address environmental problems. The Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program has given more than 150 students the opportunity to work directly with professors and scientists.


Workshop: Pollution Prevention and Lean Principles for Food Manufacturers

logoJuly 27, 2016, 8 am-5 pm
Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, Lake Huron Room
77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604

Cost: $125 (Lunch on your own)

Register at http://go.illinois.edu/P2andLeanWorkshop

Questions? Contact Laura Barnes

This workshop will help you improve the efficiency of your organization by identifying ways to limit pollutants and apply lean principles within an environmental management system.

Lean operating principles help your company improve the bottom line, reduce your regulatory burdens, and increase the overall efficiency of your organization.

Food manufacturers achieve significant savings when they put pollution prevention into practice.

  • Cargill, a major US meat manufacturer, reduced 7,800,000 pounds of methane gas and reduced natural gas by 20-35% by investing in an automated biogas capture system, which saved them $750,000 dollars.
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) used a P2 approach to save over $69,000 in reducing air emissions while generating over $250,000 per year by re-using boiler ash as a raw material used for cement, concrete blocks, and other products.
  • Anheuser-Busch installed a multi-stage residuals evaporator which reduced the amount of BOD loadings to the sewer by nearly 23,000 pounds annually saving them $1,500,000.

Although this workshop is targeted at food manufacturers, attendees from other industrial sectors are welcome.

Who should attend?

  • Facility managers
  • Environmental & safety managers & directors
  • Environmental health & safety (EHS) personnel
  • Environmental specialists, planners, and coordinators
  • Environmental engineers
  • Environmental project & program managers
  • Anyone responsible for environmental activities in your organization

Workshop Facilitator

Thomas Vinson, Zero Waste Network

Thomas Vinson has worked for over two decades in the environmental field where he has become known for finding the connection between good business practices, and environmental quality management.

Thomas works closely with a national network of pollution prevention and lean specialists and the EPA to find ways that businesses can save money by reducing waste. Over the past two years, he has worked on projects that have helped companies identify ways to save over 1.5 million dollars, while reducing nearly 7 million tons of waste, three million gallons of water use, and over a million kWh of electricity use.

Webinar: Remote Methods for Water Conservation

July 14, 2016, 11 am CDT
Register at https://cc.readytalk.com/r/sll2q8wn0ig&eom

“Overview of Water Policy, Regulations and Current Challenges Facing Military Installations in Regions with Scarce Water Resources” by Ms. Kathryn Ostapuk

Viable and sustainable water resources are becoming scarcer, and competition for these resources is growing every day. Long term sustainability will take ingenuity, not just on the part of the Department of Defense (DoD), but in the communities where our installations are located. Engaging in new legislative initiatives and regulatory frameworks is one way to ensure that our installations are an integral part of the solution. As an example, California is home to 30 major military installations and has been enduring a sustained severe drought that has significantly depleted groundwater reserves. DoD has supported several initiatives in California such as the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) as well as regulatory programs that support new standards for water conservation, recycled water, brine discharge and storm water reuse. All of these programs will preserve water resources for our DoD installations into the future.

“Innovative Acoustic Sensor Technologies for Leak Detection in Challenging Pipe Types” by Mr. Gary Anguiano

Reducing water loss at Department of Defense (DoD) installations is important to preserve potable water needed for essential functions and to limit the drawdown of local water supplies. Systemic failures (ruptures, pinholes and cracks) on older pipe systems caused by corrosion, subsidence, excessive pressure and faulty construction result in significant water losses at many DoD facilities. Often, these breaches (leaks) go unnoticed for months before they are identified, resulting in significant water losses. Accurate leak detection technologies are urgently needed to both detect and pinpoint leaks so that timely and efficient repairs can be made. Implementation of improved leak detection technologies supports Federal and DoD sustainability goals, specifically Executive Order 13693 which requires installations to take more proactive measures to reduce water loss. This project assessed the accuracy of both temporary and permanent leak detection technologies with enhanced cross-correlation features to detect and pinpoint leaks on challenging polyvinyl chloride pipe, as well as metallic pipe. The project quantified the leak detection and location performance of the acoustic sensor technologies on a buried pipeline test bed with 11 simulated leaks of defined leak size and location. Results from the test bed show that the majority of known leaks were detected and located within an accuracy of 4 feet, and that leaks as small as 1 gallon per minute were detectable.