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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Perch lets you turn nearly any device with a camera into a smart home security system
For home owners and renters alike, there are countless of gadgets that can help them remotely monitor their home through a smartphone. Perch, a new startup born out of the Samsung Accelerator program, wants to do away with useless hardware and let you turn a camera you may already own into a security monitor. Source: The Next Web, 10/14/15

It's not just you -- climate science really is impossible to read
The summaries designed to condense the latest scientific thinking on climate change to make it accessible for policymakers are too difficult to read, a new study has warned. Source: GreenBiz, 10/14/15

Benefits Lie in Evolving Techniques for Stormwater Management
Increased urbanization and more intense rainfall are creating burdensome challenges for cities and towns -- but within these challenges lie new opportunities to build systems that improve the vibrancy and climate resiliency of our urban areas. Source: FutureStructure, 10/8/15

2015 Health Facilities Management (HFM) Sustainable Operations Survey
Hospitals make fruitful progress toward sustainability as some take great strides and others stick to baby steps. Source: Heath Facilities Management, 10/12/15

California Hospital Recycles Runoff Condensation
Queen of the Valley Medical Center uses the runoff from its air-handling units to keep its campus green. Source: Outpatient Surgery, 10/12/15

2 mil. Euro project to boost recovery of raw materials from e-waste
A new EU-funded project aims to explore the commercial opportunities for harvesting critical raw materials and precious metals from unwanted electronic products. The 2.1m Euro project, called Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery ('CRM Recovery'), is a four-country collaboration, with the UK, Germany, Italy and Turkey all participating. WRAP research has shown that nearly 40% of electrical products go to landfill when they are disposed, while the United Nations University claims that this annual mountain of e-waste contains 16,500 kilotons of iron, 1,900 kilotons of copper, and 300 tonnes of gold. Over the course of the three and a half year project, CRM Recovery aims to increase the recovery of these precious materials and others by at least 5%. The project will analyse how collection methods, such as kerbside collections, retailer take-back schemes or postal returns, affect how material components of electronic products are recovered and returned to the market. Findings will be fed back to the European Commission in the form of policy recommendations and proposals for infrastructure development for the cost effective recovery of these precious and critical raw materials. Source:, 10/14/15

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Making the Business Case for a Circular Economy
The financial opportunities and environmental benefits of a circular economy in the electronics sector -- where waste becomes a resource for new products -- was the focus of the recent Emerging Green conference held by the Green Electronics Council in Portland, Oregon. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/13/15

Thursday, October 8, 2015
University of Illinois to offer new sustainability minor: Sustainability, Energy and Environment Fellows Program
Six academic units came together to offer the new Sustainability, Energy and Environment Fellows Program, a campuswide undergraduate minor through the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment to promote systems-level thinking about energy and sustainability, and to foster the development of an integrated view of the economy, society and the environment. Source: Inside Illinois, 10/8/15

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
ASU students' machine turns trash to 3-D filament
Two robotics engineering students out of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have found a way to take recyclable plastic and turn it into filament for 3-D printers. "3DCycler is a product and a system built around turning recyclable plastics like water bottles, party cups, Tupperware, anything like that, into 3-D printable filament that can be used to print new parts," co-founder of 3DCycler and robotics Joshua Kosar said. Source: The State Press, 10/5/15

Let's Modernize Our Environmental Laws
Written when smog was an emergency, the Clean Air Act allows the E.P.A. to require that states, businesses and individuals reduce smog-forming emissions regardless of the economic damage done. Some parts of the act forbid the E.P.A. even to consider cost or job losses. That sort of thinking was appropriate during the smog emergencies of the past. Now it's counterproductive. Source: New York Times, 10/7/15

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Flame Retardant Breakthrough is Naturally Derived and Nontoxic
Inspired by a naturally occurring material found in marine mussels, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have created a new flame retardant to replace commercial additives that are often toxic and can accumulate over time in the environment and living animals, including humans. Source: University of Texas, 10/5/15

Top 30 Sustainable College Run Farms
The college farm movement has seen steady growth in the last ten years along with the farm to table phenomenon, as our ranking of the Top 30 Sustainable College Run Farms will attest. College farms are no longer just research sites, but have evolved to become centers of student solidarity and community nutrition. To be considered for our top 30 ranking, our initial pool of 100 college farms had to demonstrate sustainability. This sustainability was measured in terms of significant student involvement, environmentally friendly methods, diversity of production, connection with college instruction, and farm sales targeting both the college and surrounding community. Source: College Values Online, September 2015

Second Nature Climate Leadership Network & Three Commitments
Second Nature's network of signatory institutions is now named the Climate Leadership Network. Following a strategic planning process with feedback from presidents and implementation staff at signatory institutions, Second Nature has announced three commitments that integrate and rebrand current efforts. The American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) has been renamed the Carbon Commitment. To advance the mission of the Alliance for Resilient Campuses (ARC), the Resilience Commitment has formed. Together, the concepts of carbon neutrality and the climate resilience constitute the new Climate Commitment. Source: Second Nature, 10/2/15

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