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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, January 26, 2018
The big picture of Great Lakes mercury pollution
A transdisciplinary team examined regulatory impacts on Great Lakes mercury, focusing on an Upper Peninsula tribal community with high fish consumption. Source: Science Daily, 1/23/18

Tracking wastewater's path to wells, groundwater
We often 'flush it and forget it' when it comes to waste from toilets and sinks. However, it's important to be able to track this wastewater to ensure it doesn't end up in unwanted places. Tracing where this water ends up is hard to measure: What's something found in all wastewater that will allow us to account for all of it? The answer, of all things, is artificial sweeteners. Source: Science Daily, 1/24/18

Manufacturers May Soon Profit from Bio-Nylon Process
Materials used by the nylon industry have traditionally been derived from crude oil, but manufacturers will soon be able to create their own "bio-nylon" made from plant-based renewable ingredients. Aquafil and Genomatica have announced an agreement to create sustainable caprolactam, an ingredient used in nylon that is usually made from crude oil. Source: Environmental Leader, 1/25/18

Researchers use wild rice to predict health of Minnesota lakes and streams
By studying wild rice in lakes and streams, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota has discovered that sulfate in waterways is converted into toxic levels of sulfide and increases other harmful elements. This includes methylmercury, the only form of mercury that contaminates fish. Source: University of Minnesota, 1/23/18

2018 Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference call for abstracts
The theme of the conference, scheduled for October 7-10, 2018 in Washington, DC, is "Building Bridges." In a time of increasing polarization, behavioral sciences play an important role in bridging political, cultural, economic, and geographic divides that prevent sensible solutions to climate change. From the beginning, BECC has aimed to facilitate conversations and collaborations across sectors and disciplines. In 2018, through regular and special sessions, we plan to showcase research, programs, and dialogues that bridge divides and help move toward a sustainable energy and climate future. Source: Environmental News Bits, 1/26/18

U.S. EPA reverses policy on 'major sources' of pollution
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it was withdrawing a provision of the Clean Air Act that requires a major source of pollution like a power plant to always be treated as a major source, even if it makes changes to reduce emissions. See the EPA memo at https://www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/reclassification-major-sources-area-sources-under-section-112-clean. Source: Reuters, 1/25/18

Thursday, January 25, 2018
New Sustainable Paint Helps Boats Use Less Energy
While most people don't see them, barnacles, algae, and mussels latch onto boat hulls and have been a headache for the shipping industry to deal with for centuries. These little creatures create significant issues by adding to the vessel's weight. They also create drag, so ships have to use more fuel or energy to cut through the water. To combat this problem, shipping companies have been using special paints to help keep the tiny army of marine organisms at bay, but that approach often comes at a price as those special paints can pollute the ocean. To find an ideal solution, a team in Germany came together to create a non-toxic paint that keeps organisms off the hulls by making it harder for them to latch on. The result is a win-win solution for the environment and the shipping industry. Source: Green Matters, 12/14/17

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
New Database for Urban Mining in the EU Maps Valuable Resources in E-Waste and More
The Urban Mine Platform prevents the flows of precious and base metals, and critical raw materials in products in use and throughout their journey to the end of life. Source: Electronics 360, 1/17/18

Parkland board approves contract for 8-acre solar farm
Parkland College could have its own 8-acre solar farm by later this year. The board of the community college Wednesday night approved a contract with SolSystems LLC of Washington, D.C., to build a 2-megawatt solar energy field on the northwest corner of the campus. The solar field in south Champaign operated by the University of Illinois provides about 4 megawatts of electricity when it is operating. Source: Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, 1/18/18

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Bio-renewable process could help 'green' plastic
Plastics are often derived from petroleum, contributing to reliance on fossil fuels and driving harmful greenhouse gas emissions. To change that, scientists are trying to take the pliable nature of plastic in another direction, developing new and renewable ways of creating plastics from biomass. Source: Science Daily, 1/21/18

In Defense of Source Reduction
Recycling is all well and good, but let's not forget about what could come before. Source: Waste360, 1/22/18

Low carbon and high tech put auto sector in flux
A new report 'Driving disruption' analysing 16 of the world's largest publicly-listed automotive companies with a total market capitalization of US$790 billion reveals that the industry must adapt rapidly to address technological disruption and environmental regulation or risk falling behind. Source: Carbon Disclosure Project, 1/18/18

Certified Sustainable Beef
The Certified Sustainable Beef Frame­­work released December 7 by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) is the set of documents that Canadian beef producers and primary processors will be able to follow to prove their operations are sustainable, chart improvement through the years, and help consumers sort out questions about sustainability. Source: Canadian Cattlemen, 1/16/18

Friday, January 19, 2018
Grocery store program improves farmers' adoption of environmental practices
In one of the first analyses of a company-led sustainability program in the food and agriculture space, researchers found a major grocery chain fostered increased adoption of environmental practices at the farm level. Source: Science Daily, 1/9/18

California's water saving brings bonus effects
Water-saving measures in California have also led to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and electricity consumption in the state. Source: EnvironmentalResearchWeb, 1/17/18

Minnesota Out Front on Addressing Nitrogen Problems
Minnesota is the first state in the nation to try telling farmers how to apply fertilizer to their crops. Source: Minnesota Public Radio, 12/28/17

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