Powderhorn Lake Connectivity Project

Powderhorn Lake is part of one of the few remaining examples of the dune and swale topography – sandy ridges interspersed with water pockets – that once characterized the Calumet Region along the south shore of Lake Michigan. The area is home to 100 bird species, 250 plant species and 2,500 insect species. In addition to reconnecting water flow to Lake Michigan, this project will allow fish passage between the lakes, install water control structures to help prevent future community flooding, and increase hemi-marsh habitat. This work aligns with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative objective of protecting and restoring communities of native aquatic and terrestrial species important to the Great Lakes.

An Introduction to Green Chemistry

This lesson introduces students to Green Chemistry, the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and/or the generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry is a pro-active approach to pollution prevention that teaches chemists how to develop products and materials in a manner that does not use hazardous substances, thus avoiding much waste, hazards and associated costs.

The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and how they relate to a chemical process. These principles provide a framework for scientists, engineers and chemistry students to use when designing new materials, products, processes, and systems. The Principles focus on sustainable design criteria and have proven to be the source of innovative solutions to a wide range of problems.

Through this lesson, students will also use weight and measurement to understand the concept of a recipe as it is applied to a chemical process and think critically about that process and how it might be improved. Students will be asked to use a wasteful, inefficient procedure to make glue and be challenged to improve the procedure-during which they will unknowingly use the 12 Principles.

Before starting this lesson, students should have been introduced to the periodic table and properties of matter. The estimated time for this lesson is 50-60 minutes.

For more information: https://blossoms.mit.edu/videos/lessons/introduction_green_chemistry

How a breakthrough in geothermal could change our energy grid

Read the video transcript at Grist.

Newberry Volcano — the largest volcano in the Pacific Northwest — is the site of an experiment that’s aiming for a breakthrough in geothermal energy. 

NOAA’s Salvaging Solutions to Abandoned and Derelict Vessels webinar series now available

Thousands of abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) litter coastal waterways all over the country, obstructing navigational channels, causing harm to the environment, and diminishing commercial and recreational activities. For many communities, assessing, removing, and disposing of these vessels is complex and requires significant financial resources.

Over the past year, experts from across the country shared their experiences, solutions, and lessons learned through NOAA’s Salvaging Solutions to Abandoned and Derelict Vessels monthly webinar series.

You can now watch the webinars on NOAA’s Marine Debris Program website.

Environmental Health Impacts of Synthetic Turf and Safer Alternatives

Research on the production, use, and disposal of artificial turf has brought to light concerns over environmental contamination, human health hazards, and adverse effects on wildlife. Researchers have studied a variety of contaminants found in artificial turf and different types of infill used to soften its surfaces. Concerns have been raised about polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), 6PPD-quinone, and microplastics, among others. Studies have also examined heat related illnesses, skin infections, and other human health concerns. During this webinar Rachel Massey, ScD, Lindsey Pollard, MS, Zhenyu TianPhD, and Sarah Evans, PhD, discussed their work looking at environmental health impacts of artificial turf and safer alternatives.

Dr. Rachel Massey and Lindsey Pollard discussed the research they have conducted at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) on health and environmental implications of artificial turf and safer alternatives. They described their research on materials used as artificial turf infill, including waste tire materials. They  also touched upon emerging information on chemicals in artificial turf grass blades, as well as other health and environmental concerns associated with artificial turf, such as microplastic pollution and high surface temperatures. They briefly discussed their research on natural grass athletic fields as a safer alternative.

Dr. Zhenyu Tian briefly summarized the identification of 6PPD-quinone as a lethal toxicant for coho salmon, and will further introduce the comprehensive screening of organic contaminants in urban stormwater and tire wear particle leachate. He discussed knowledge gaps and ongoing research about crumb rubber infill materials.

To conclude, Dr. Sarah Evans spoke from a pediatric environmental health perspective, touching on routes of exposure and concerns specific to children, with an emphasis on what families and communities can do to use safer alternatives.

Expanding the base for climate action and social justice: A conversation with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (20th Peter M. Wege Lecture)

Direct Air Capture Facility Development in the United States

As the United States explores the potential for large-scale carbon dioxide removal and utilization, some of the most important developments are taking place in America’s heartland. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (ISTC) is leading a team to develop the designs and feasibility assessment for the first commercial-scale direct air capture and storage system for carbon removal in the United States. This webinar featured Kevin C OBrien, Director of the ISTC and the project’s principal investigator. Dr. OBrien discussed developments related to this project, as well as projects in Illinois that may help to advance the development of carbon removal and use.

Panelist: Kevin C OBrien, Director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center & Director, Illinois State Water Survey University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Moderator: Wil Burns, Environmental Policy and Culture Program at Northwestern

Southern Illinois Sustainable Business Webinar series: Increasing Profit Margins by Reducing Energy and Water Use

Implementing basic energy efficiency measures can reduce your energy use by 30% and yield significant cost savings. Conserving water can also reduce utility bills and add money back into your bottom line. In this session, we’ll cover the basics of energy efficiency and water conservation, as well as low to no cost strategies that you can launch now to reduce your utility costs. We will also share key resources, incentives and support services that can help you integrate energy and water saving measures.

Southern IL Sustainable Business Webinar: What is Sustainable Business and Why Does It Matter?

Interview with a geoscientist—Dr. Sherilyn Williams-Stroud, structural geologist

Dr. Sherilyn Williams-Stroud is a structural geologist and a Research Scientist at the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and started her own consulting company Confractus, Inc. She has previously worked in government at the United States Geological Survey and in the oil and gas industry. Her current research and interests are in carbon dioxide sequestration and induced seismicity.