Superior soap molecule from renewable sources wins top Dow SISCA prize

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

A team that created a soap molecule made from renewable materials has won the $10,000 first prize in the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award competition held Dec. 6 at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in St. Paul.

New Higg Module Empowers Apparel, Footwear, Textile Producers to Design Impacts Out of Products

Read the full story from Sustainable Brands.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) today launches the Higg Index Design and Development Module (DDM). Along with the release last month of its updated Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) – a cradle-to-gate scoring tool that measures and communicates the environmental performance of thousands of materials used in creating apparel, footwear and home textile products – the DDM is the latest tool in the Higg arsenal aimed at empowering product designers and developers to make sustainable choices at the earliest stage of apparel, footwear and textile prototype design.

Taxing coffee cups is not the answer: here’s why

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Copying the 5p bag tax model with coffee cups is unlikely to work. Instead the onus should be on designing new cups and improved recycling.

Modern life is rubbish: we don’t need all this packaging

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Companies and individuals have a duty to recycle everything possible and to create and use more sustainable packaging.

How Smart Design Can Solve the E-Waste Challenge

Read the full story in Triple Pundit.

Global concern about the mountains of e-waste generated every year has been rising for quite some time – and with good reason: In 2014, the United Nations estimated that humans produced 41.8 million metric tons of electronic waste. That’s 92 billion pounds – and even though IT products made up just 7 percent of that waste, that still represents almost 6.5 billion pounds of waste our industry generated in a single year.

There are no easy solutions to the many enmeshed challenges of e-waste, but by designing for reuse, repair, refurbishing and recycling, we can make real progress.

Informational Webinar: How to Apply for an EPA P3 Grant

Tuesday 12/06/2016 1:00PM to 2:00PM CST
Register at https://www.epa.gov/P3/informational-webinar-how-apply-epa-p3-grant

Join this informational webinar to learn more about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2017 – 2018 P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) request for applications (RFA). Learn about EPA’s P3 program, topics in this year’s upcoming funding opportunity, and how to apply. EPA P3 program experts will be available to answer questions during a question & answer (Q&A) session following the presentation.

American Society of Landscape Architects releases Resilient Design Guide

Read the guide.

Working with nature — instead of in opposition to it — helps communities become more resilient and come back stronger after disruptive natural events. Long-term resilience is about continuously bouncing back and regenerating. It’s about learning how to cope with the ever-changing “new normal.”

As events become more frequent and intense due to climate change, communities must adapt and redevelop to reduce risks and improve ecological and human health. It’s also time to stop putting communities and infrastructure in high-risk places. And we need to reduce sprawl, which further exacerbates the risks.

Resilient landscape planning and design offers a way forward for communities. We can now use multi-layered systems of protection, with diverse, scalable elements, any one of which can fail safely in the event of a catastrophe.

Many communities have attempted to find a single solution to disasters through heavy-handed infrastructure projects: walls to keep out water, power plants to cool cities. But working with nature to create multi-layered defenses provides several co-benefits.

For example, constructed coastal buffers, made of reefs and sand, can also provide wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities; urban forests made up of diverse species clean the air while reducing the urban heat island effect; and green infrastructure designed to control flooding also provides needed community space and creates jobs.

The goal of resilient landscape planning and design is to retrofit our communities to recover more quickly from extreme events, now and in the future. In an era when disasters can cause traditional, built systems to fail, adaptive, multi-layered systems can maintain their vital functions and are often the more cost-effective and practical solutions.

In an age of rising waters and temperatures and diminishing budgets, the best defenses are adaptive, like nature.

This guide is organized around disruptive events that communities now experience: drought, extreme heat, fire, flooding, landslides, and, importantly, biodiversity loss, which subverts our ability to work with nature.

The guide includes numerous case studies and resources demonstrating multi-benefit systems as well as the small-scale solutions that fit within those. The guide also explains landscape architects’ role in the planning and design teams helping to make communities more resilient.