Applications now open for the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is now accepting applications for the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards.  This award, which began in 1987, is the nation’s longest standing state environmental award program. Each year, it honors organizations and businesses that have made a commitment to the environment through implementation of outstanding and innovative sustainability practices.

The deadline for submitting applications is close of business May 20, 2016.  Applications will only be accepted electronically.  Application information, evaluation criteria, sample applications and more can be found on ISTC’s website.

This program is open to all public and private Illinois organizations.

Pavel Kabat: Bringing science to the SDGs

Read the full story at Ensia.

Scientists can be very good at creating new knowledge in a specific topic area, then dropping it with a thud into policy-makers’ laps, trusting they will figure out how to use it to solve problems. Not so fast, says Pavel Kabat, director general of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, a 43-year-old international organization that brings researchers together across 23 nations to guide public policy. Kabat argues that science needs to stay as a partner at the policy-making table, crossing disciplines and sectors and synthesizing knowledge to create efficient, sustainable solutions.

Ecology & Society accepting papers for special issue on Reconciling Art and Science for Sustainability

Ecology and Society’s Reconciling Art and Science for Sustainability special feature edited by Frances Westley, Marten Scheffer, and Carl Folke will remain open to submissions until July 2016. This feature invites papers on the topic of how art and science may be integrated for transformative understanding, increased motivation, and new insights into how to build social ecological resilience.

JSTOR and the U. of Washington DataLab Explore New Tools for Interdisciplinary Researchers

Read the full story from JSTOR.

For scholars working in interdisciplinary fields, one of the key challenges often faced is understanding and navigating literature outside of their core area of expertise.
The JSTOR Labs team recently partnered with Dr. Jevin West’s team at the University of Washington DataLab to test and develop tools to help researchers introduce themselves to key topics and publications from other fields. The results of their work have been incorporated into JSTOR Sustainability—a new site, currently in beta, that contains a broad range of scholarly articles and research reports dealing with environmental stresses and their impact on human society.
Dr. West’s lab created the Eigenfactor, which uses citation networks to evaluate the impact of scholarly publications, and recently introduced Eigenfactor Recommends, which helps identify the classic and foundational papers within a field as well as the latest innovations.

Climate Through A Different Lens: Poverty, Inequality, Sustainability

Read the full post from Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

The COP discussions have revolved around targets for decarbonization to mitigate climate change. I think this needs to be a discussion about how the development of a renewable energy platform can lead to sustainable and inclusive economic growth of all sectors of society in the world. Uplifting the poor, while a moral imperative, may not actually translate beyond political slogans. Perhaps, this is why the debates are not framed in this light. The 20th century showed us that the rich get richer as the poor are uplifted. Let the 21st be about how to improve conditions for all living beings on the planet.

Illinois to lead NSF Midwest Big Data Hub

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

In the future, big data could help unlock the mysteries of fields ranging from the natural sciences to medicine, and Illinois has a new opportunity to take a leading role.

To accelerate advancements in the rapidly emerging field of big data analysis, the National Science Foundation has given $5 million to establish four regional Big Data Hubs. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will lead the Midwest Big Data Hub, a consortium of public and private partners. Catalyzed by an initial award from the National Science Foundation called SEEDCorn, which stands for “Sustainable Enabling Environment for Data Collaboration,” its goal is to provide a “big data brain trust” that will allow researchers to better collect, mine, and analyze data, leading to greater efficiency and, ultimately, a higher quality of life…

Joining Illinois in the Midwest Big Data Hub are the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Iowa State University, Indiana University, the University of North Dakota and dozens of other partners from academia, industry, government, and non-governmental organizations. The Midwest BD Hub will focus its efforts on three sectors:

  1. Society (smart cities and communities; network science; business analytics)
  2. Natural & Built World (water, food, and energy; digital agriculture; transportation; and advanced manufacturing)
  3. Healthcare and Biomedical Research

Food Shift Launching Systemic Approach to Food Recovery with Alameda Kitchen

Read the full post at Sustainable Brands.

It’s difficult to swallow the contradictory statistic that 50 million Americans are food insecure while 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. is wasted, according to the NRDC. Food recovery entrepreneur and advocate, Dana Frasz — founder of Oakland, Calif.-based food-recovery non-profit Food Shift— suggests that the sustainable food movement could use a new recipe. Those working on hunger should not just look at providing food, but how they can create jobs.