Growing algae for food and biofuel could cut greenhouse emissions

Read the full story at EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

“Come round for dinner! I’ve got some lovely fresh algae.” Tempted? Perhaps not, but roll forward 50 years and micro-algae might well feature on the menu. Maybe not directly, but they could become a common base for cooking oils, and a major constituent of animal feeds. Cultivating algae for food and biofuel could make a serious dent in our greenhouse gas emissions, as well as helping to save freshwater resources and reduce deforestation.

Scientists: Strong evidence that human-caused climate change intensified 2015 heat waves

Read the full story from NOAA.

Human-caused climate change very likely increased the severity of heat waves that plagued India, Pakistan, Europe, East Africa, East Asia, and Australia in 2015 and helped make it the warmest year on record, according to new research published today in a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The fifth edition of Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective presents 25 peer-reviewed research papers that examine episodes of extreme weather of 2015 over five continents and two oceans. It features the research of 116 scientists from 18 countries analyzing both historical observations and changing trends along with model results to determine whether and how climate change may have influenced the event.

Final EPA/USGS Technical Report: Protecting Aquatic Life from Effects of Hydrologic Alteration Documents

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This report presents a literature review of natural flow and a description of the potential effects of flow alteration on aquatic life, as well as examples of water quality criteria that some states have developed to support natural flow and maintain healthy aquatic life. The report also describes a flexible technical and scientific framework that state water managers can consider if they are interested in developing narrative or numeric targets for flow that are protective of aquatic life.

This scientific and technical report is non-regulatory and does not affect or constrain state or tribal discretion.

Hydrologic alteration can include an increase or decrease in water volume, seasonal flow disruption, and dramatic variation in water temperature. Hydrologic alteration can affect aquatic species’ ability to spawn, gather nutrients from the stream system, access high-quality habitat, and more. Hydrologic alteration may be further exacerbated through climate change. Recent climate trends have included the change in frequency and duration of extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, which can have an impact on flow and affect aquatic life. Maintaining flow targets may help increase a stream’s resilience to climate change by reducing or avoiding intensification of existing stressors.

Climate Change, Public Health and Environmental Justice: Caring for Our Most Vulnerable Communities

Read the full post from EPA.

Some hear the word vulnerable and think “that’s not me.”

Many people don’t think of themselves as being vulnerable because the word can conjure images of people living in other parts of the world, in other economic situations, or with different life stories and experiences.

But the U.S. Climate and Health assessment, recently released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, found that every American is vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change at some point in their lives. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you care about, climate change affects you. Climate change affects everyone’s health because it threatens our access to clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food, and shelter.

Species diversity reduces chances of crop failure in algal biofuel systems

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

When growing algae in outdoor ponds as a next-generation biofuel, a naturally diverse mix of species will help reduce the chance of crop failure, according to a federally funded study by University of Michigan researchers.

Neonicotinoid pesticide affects foraging and social interaction in bumblebees

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In a plastic, lasercut box blacked out with paint and lit with red light, worker bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) go about their daily activities: interacting with fellow adults, extracting food from honey pots, feeding larvae, and occasionally venturing out to forage for nectar. While this nest is far from normal, the bees that live here have adapted to their new space remarkably well. Still, all is not well within the nest, and not because of its strange form. Some bees have abandoned their daily patterns and are spending more time alone, on the periphery. Others are spending less time caring for the utterly dependent larvae that will become the next generation of bumblebees.

Within the nest, the chaotic center of bumblebee life, social behavior and interactions are crucial for bee population health and the production of young. When social behavior and the care of young changes, population numbers become more susceptible to decline. James Crall, a postdoc with the Planetary Health Alliance at Harvard University, graduate student Callin Switzer and colleagues have linked these changes in social behavior with sublethal exposure to the neonicotinoid pesticide, imidacloprid.

Full research article: Callin M. Switzer et al. The neonicotinoid pesticide, imidacloprid, affects Bombus impatiens (bumblebee) sonication behavior when consumed at doses below the LD50, Ecotoxicology (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s10646-016-1669-z

Webinar: Leveraging Greener Cleaning at Venues to Engage Sports Fans and Promote Healthier Communities

Wed, Jan 18, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST
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In 2015, the Green Sports Alliance released its Greener Cleaning Playbook, a resource designed to help sports facilities reduce negative environmental and health impacts associated with cleaning sports venues. This Playbook serves as a guide for creating a successful greener cleaning program, and offers comprehensive guidance on how to select cleaning products and services that are safe for the environment as well as the people who use them.

During this webinar, attendees will get a how-to for launching their own greener cleaning program and learn strategies for improving upon their program, using the Greener Cleaning Playbook as a guide. Speakers will also discuss how the sports industry can leverage their greener cleaning program to enhance sustainability initiatives at venues that not only reduce environmental impact but engage sports fans in simple, sustainable behavior changes that promote human and environmental health.