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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Why Energy Efficiency is About to Come Roaring Back
Investment in energy efficiency projects has been in a long-term decline, going back to a peak of about $2 billion annually in 1992, which has drifted down to about $1.2 billion in recent years. Chris Hummel, chief marketing officer of Schneider Electric, thinks that all of that is about to change. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/12/14

Feeding everyone with a minimum of carbon emissions
A new paper in this week's PNAS examines whether there are ways to add significant new agricultural land without causing a huge boost in carbon emissions. It finds that it's possible to greatly expand farmed land while avoiding billions of metric tons of carbon emissions, but doing so would require a level of international cooperation that would be unprecedented. Source: Ars Technica, 8/11/14

Using Closed-Loop Systems to Cut Waste (video)
Shirley Duncalf, head of sustainability for UK food service wholesale distributor Bidvest 3663, talks about the company's waste management projects and its focus on closed-loop solutions. Source: Environmental Leader, 8/11/14

Thursday, August 7, 2014
E-waste in Ghana: where death is the price of living another day
Attempts to recycle E-waste and donations of old electronic devices are harming poor people's health and devastating the environment, writes Nele Goutier. Agbogbloshie, once an idyllic landscape of wetlands and small farms, is now the most toxic place in the world reports the Blacksmith Institute: more toxic than Chernobyl. Source: The Ecologist, 8/7/14

7 Companies Investing in Sustainable Packaging
As waste continues to pile up in our landfills, a growing number of companies are taking a second look at product packaging and devising creative ways to cut back. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/1/14

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
How Hyatt is fostering sustainability from the ground up
Local strategies are identified and shared through Hyatt Thrive, the corporate responsibility platform that tracks the hospitality group's commitment to environmental stewardship around the world. Source: GreenBiz, 8/5/14

Coca-Cola crowdsources 8 ways to reinvent recycling
After an 11-week challenge in partnership with design and innovation platform OpenIDEO, the eight winning ideas for Coca-Cola Enterprises' brief to encourage consumer recycling are as simple as an illustrative sticker and as complicated as a dedicated app. Source: GreenBiz, 8/6/14

The agony and ecstasy of a life-cycle design mentality
To truly understand an object's impact, step back and look at the big picture. Life cycles are the secret to sustainability. Source: GreenBiz, 8/6/14

Toledo's poisoned water: Here's what will make things worse
Nearly half a million residents of Glass City just found out the hard way that living on the tip of a Great Lake is no guarantee of drinking water. Source: GreenBiz, 8/6/14

5 purposeful ways to tame 'accidental' data centers
Is that closet server sabotaging your building's best-laid energy goals? Here's how to keep that investment from skewing power consumption. Source: GreenBiz, 8/6/14

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Lions QBs to wear green practice jerseys made out of recycled bottles
Matthew Stafford and the other Detroit quarterbacks will wear green jerseys made from REPREVE, a fiber made out of plastic bottles, during practice Wednesday as part of the team's new partnership with the manufacturer. Source: Detroit News, 8/4/14

Bee-Killing Pesticides Found in Midwest Rivers
Pesticides linked to declining bee and bird populations have been found in streams across the upper Midwest, raising yet more concerns about these chemicals' environmental effects. Source: Wired, 8/4/14

Behind Toledo's Water Crisis, a Long-Troubled Lake Erie
Flooded by tides of phosphorus washed from fertilized farms, cattle feedlots and leaky septic systems, the most intensely developed of the Great Lakes is increasingly being choked each summer by thick mats of algae, much of it poisonous. What plagues Toledo and, experts say, potentially all 11 million lakeside residents, is increasingly a serious problem across the United States. Source: New York Times, 8/4/14

Monday, August 4, 2014
Shattering Myths to Help the Climate
Each new climate-change study seems more pessimistic than the last. Effective countermeasures now could actually ward off many of these threats at relatively modest cost. Yet despite a robust scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are at the root of the problem, legislation to curb them has gone nowhere in Congress. In response, President Obama has proposed stricter regulations on electric utilities, which some scientists warn may be too little, too late. Why aren't we demanding more forceful action? One reason may be the frequent incantation of a motley collection of myths, each one rooted in bad economics. Source: The Upshot, 8/2/14

10 companies making waves in water innovation
From industry giants thinking beyond freshwater to startups tackling the wastewater, here are the names to watch. Source: GreenBiz, 8/4/14

How to green the Feds' supply chains? First, think ink
More federal agencies are taking sustainability into play with supply chain decisions. Can a single font save hundreds of millions of dollars? Source: GreenBiz, 8/4/14

How invisible water sources could green the nation
U.S. water infrastructure is ailing, but we can fix our tenuous grid to make use of a largely untapped source. Source: GreenBiz, 8/4/14

President signs cell phone unlocking bill into law
On Friday, President Obama signed the "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act" (S.517) into law. The new law repeals a 2012 decision by the Library of Congress that made cell phone unlocking a violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA, which prohibits Americans from "circumventing" technologies that protect copyrighted works, gives the Library of Congress the authority to grant exemptions. Last year, the Library of Congress opted not to renew the DMCA exemption for cell phone unlocking, which it had granted in 2006 and 2010. Unlocking a cell phone is important for consumers who travel abroad and for those who want to take their devices to other carriers. The reason why is that most devices sold in the US through wireless operators have a software lock on them which prohibits them from being used on another operator's network. The ban on unlocking put a roadblock in the way for consumers who wanted to use their devices on other networks. Source: CNET, 8/1/14

Quinn signs water-safety legislation into law
Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday signed into law three pieces of legislation aimed at improving safety of the state's water supply. Source: Chicago Tribune, 8/3/14

Chicago water declared safe after testing prompted by Ohio toxins
An overnight test of Lake Michigan water samples showed none of the toxins found in Toledo, Ohio, water that officials over the weekend deemed unsafe to drink. Source: Chicago Tribune, 8/4/14

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