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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, January 5, 2017
Republicans can cancel some Obama environment rules. But they'll have to choose carefully.
Two bills under consideration in Congress, each expected to go to a swift vote, could help expedite the process of undoing recent regulations -- or even make it more difficult to pass them in the first place. Source: Washington Post, 1/4/17

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
It's time to stop overspending our freshwater budget
If freshwater is to remain a renewable resource, we must balance supply and demand on farms, in cities, in industry and in power production. Source: Ensia, 12/14/16

How does workplace safety and health align with sustainability?
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels reveals surprising connections, as well as where employee engagement comes into play. Source: GreenBiz, 1/4/17

Engineering rice to waste less fertilizer
Cutting rice's ability to pack phosphorus into its seeds wouldn't hurt the crop's nutritional value, but it could cut our need for fertilizer, along with its economic and environmental consequences. So a team of Japanese researchers decided to find out how phosphorus ends up in rice grains in the first place. Source: Ars Technica, 12/21/16

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
The dirty secret about your clothes
A new crop of small businesses are investing in organic farming, natural dyes and a transparent supply chain that encourages shoppers to think about the effect of their purchases -- and they're selling their products online and in a small but growing number of U.S. stores, from small trendy boutiques to Target. Source: Washington Post, 12/30/16

Minneapolis' citizen-centric approach to climate action
Amid growing climate impacts, the City of Lakes is fighting back with a citizen-backed action strategy. Source: GreenBiz, 1/3/17

Call for Abstracts for Emerging Contaminants in the Aquatic Environment Conference
Abstracts are welcome on all aspects of emerging contaminants in the aquatic environment. Topics may include: research, policy, management, outreach, and education about their detection, fate, transport, remediation, and prevention. Abstracts are due by January 31, 2017. Source: Illinois Indiana Sea Grant Program,

To detox manufacturing, businesses find a secret ingredient
In the most recent P2 Impact column, Pam Eliason of TURI describes how five companies used peer mentoring and networking to share ideas and strategies for improving chemical management. Source: GreenBiz, 12/19/16

Study Links A Warming Climate To Changes In Great Lakes Food Web
A warming climate is transforming the base of the food web in the Great Lakes, according to a new study published recently in the scientific journal "Limnology and Oceanography." Researchers say rising lake temperatures could spell changes for the rest of the food chain. Source: Wisconsin Public Radio, 12/6/16

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Superior soap molecule from renewable sources wins top Dow SISCA prize
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. Source: University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, 12/13/16

Trimming the pork: IonE research guides first major meat industry GHG reductions
Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, announced its commitment yesterday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain 25 percent by 2025. The move is the first of its kind among large meat producers.

The NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise (NiSE), a strategic initiative of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, partnered with Smithfield and the Environmental Defense Fund to develop the science behind the commitment. Source: University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, 12/6/16

4 million Americans could be drinking toxic water and would never know
About 4 million Americans who get their water from tiny utilities could be exposed to water contaminated by lead because the nation's drinking-water enforcement system doesn't make small utilities play by the same safety rules as big ones. Source: Detroit Free Press, 12/13/16

Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Water Challenges Are Actually Opportunities
On the EPA Blog, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urges readers to consider the future of water, which she believes is one of the top public health and economic challenges now facing our country. Source: U.S. EPA, 12/9/16

Food waste represents biggest recycling opportunity, study finds
Food waste represents the biggest opportunity for Hennepin County to reduce trash and increase recycling, according to a study released last month. Source: Southwest Journal via Environmental News Bits, 12/12/16

Can a Pokemon Go-Like App Solve Indiana's Recycling Problem?
Bethany Hohman thinks the state of Indiana has a recycling problem, and she may be right. During a recent presentation in front of other entrepreneurs, she stated that on average, only 11% of total waste is recycled, despite the state's goal of 50% and a national average of 34%.

To address the problem, she and her team turned to a rather unusual source for inspiration: Pokemon Go. Given the recent astronomical success of the Pokemon Go app, Hohman and her team wondered if they could build a similar app that would solve the recycling problem. Source: Forbes, 12/12/16

Trump, carbon neutrality and the next phase of business sustainability
The Trump administration appears to be moving in one direction on the issue of climate change with the appointment of climate skeptic Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a transition team led by and stacked with fossil fuel interests.

Yet many within corporate America are heading in another direction. Consider Kevin Butt, regional environmental sustainability director for Toyota Motor North America, and his charge to take the company "beyond zero environmental impact" by reducing and eventually eliminating CO2 emissions from vehicle operation, manufacturing, materials production and energy sources by 2050. Source: The Conversation, 12/11/16

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GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


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