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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, August 25, 2017
Can Anyone, Even Walmart, Stem The Heat-Trapping Flood Of Nitrogen On Farms?
Walmart has promised big cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases. To meet that goal, though, the giant retailer may have to persuade farmers to use less fertilizer. It won't be easy Source: NPR, 8/21/17

Anthony Bourdain Would Like To Talk To You About Food Waste
If anyone can make the very important and urgent topic of food waste sexy and interesting maybe it's Anthony Bourdain? The chef and TV host is the executive producer Wasted! The Story Of Food Waste, a documentary film on the subject that premiered at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, with a wider release coming in October. Source: Gothamist, 8/24/17

Researchers identify cheaper, greener biofuels processing catalyst
Fuels that are produced from nonpetroleum-based biological sources may become greener and more affordable, thanks to research performed at the University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute that examines the use of a processing catalyst made from palladium metal and bacteria. Source: University of Illinois, 8/25/17

Can business save the world from climate change?
A growing number of initiatives are giving corporations the resources to help achieve global climate goals regardless of government support. Source: Ensia, 8/15/17

Thursday, August 24, 2017
This is why when you talk about climate change, you can't ignore agriculture
Agriculture has historically released almost as much carbon into the atmosphere as deforestation, a new study suggests -- and that's saying something. Source: Washington Post, 8/23/17

What role do contractors play in green construction?
Contractors are in a position to influence how green a project can be, both during construction and after completion. After all, it takes buy-in and ownership from all stakeholders to achieve a project's green ambitions. With invested clients and the products and systems to do the job, contractors today can make more of an impact on sustainability than ever before. Source: Construction Dive, 8/24/17

Pittsburgh: Leading Green Building Hub?
Once the epicenter of America's manufacturing prowess, Pittsburgh has undergone decades of transformation as it shifted from its role as the center of the U.S. steel industry to what is now home to one of the leading technology clusters in North America. But in addition to software, biotech and robotics, Pittsburgh has also become one of the leading green building laboratories within the U.S. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/21/17

The Apparel Industry's Environmental Impact in 6 Graphics
Roughly 20 pieces of clothing per person are manufactured each year. Growth of the multi-trillion-dollar apparel industry has been fed by fast fashion, which makes clothing cheaply and quickly with a low price-tag. These visuals illustrate why the apparel industry must embrace a new approach to sustainably meet demand in tomorrow's markets. Source: World Resources Institute, 7/5/17

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
From beer to bread and back again to solve 'the world's dumbest problem'
Historians have long debated what came first, beer or bread. Both can be made relatively easily using grains, water and yeast, and they were some of the first accomplishments of agricultural societies.

Tens of thousands of years later, innovators are looking to these ancient staples to solve a modern dilemma: food waste. Brewing beer leaves behind excess grains, and bread doesn't keep long. Rethinking how to make these and other grain-based foods is leading to some quirky and -- according to the Post's expert tasters -- occasionally but not always delicious creations. Source: Washington Post, 8/18/17


Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Potato waste processing may be the road to enhanced food waste conversion
With more than two dozen companies in Pennsylvania manufacturing potato chips, it is no wonder that researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences have developed a novel approach to more efficiently convert potato waste into ethanol. This process may lead to reduced production costs for biofuel in the future and add extra value for chip makers.

Using potato mash made from the peelings and potato residuals from a Pennsylvania food-processor, researchers triggered simultaneous saccharification -- the process of breaking down the complex carbohydrate starch into simple sugars -- and fermentation -- the process in which sugars are converted to ethanol by yeasts or other microorganisms in bioreactors. Source: Penn State University, 8/17/17


Friday, August 18, 2017
How Norway is selling out-of-date food to help tackle waste
Supermarkets selling out-of-date produce and apps that identify food at risk of being binned are part of an ambitious plan to slash the nation's food waste. Source: The Guardian, 8/17/17

It's Time to Tie Executive Compensation to Sustainability
Despite conflicting messages about climate change from U.S. government leaders, sustainability is getting more and more attention at American companies. Shareholders are ratcheting up their demands on environmental and social issues. Consumers are registering their concerns about how companies make their products. And talented Millennial employees are voting with their feet by leaving laggard companies behind. Meanwhile, new technologies are making it easier for sustainability investments to pay off in the middle to long term.

A similar phenomenon happened in the 1980s, when quality became a significant issue for manufacturers. Many of them responded by including quality metrics in their compensation incentives. These moves helped to focus executive attention and ensure that quality initiatives actually got carried out. Over the next decade, quality levels improved substantially. It's time for companies to start doing the same thing for sustainability. Source: Harvard Business Review, 8/17/17


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