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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, March 13, 2015
Public Libraries, U. Wisconsin-Madison Team Up on Climate Change MOOC
The University of Wisconsin--Madison (UWM) is offering a new four-week massive open online course (MOOC) on Changing Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region. What's different about this endeavor, besides the strong local interest angle, is that the university, in coordination with Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS), is partnering with 21 public libraries across the state. The collaborative venture will share scientific information about global warming via video, readings, an online discussion board, and quizzes, as well as in-person discussions at the libraries with scientists, staff, and graduate students from UWM, the National Weather Service, and the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee. Source: Library Journal, 3/11/15

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Water vs. climate: How to prioritize sustainability risk
When making a decision on where to invest environmental bucks, where should businesses concentrate their efforts -- on climate change or on water? Source: GreenBiz, 3/12/15

Greening from the ground up at Hilton
Nine months after taking over as general manager of the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, Stefan Mühle is just part of the way toward reaching his goal of transforming the property into a uniquely green destination with a "boutique heart and soul." Source: GreenBiz, 3/12/15

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Inside Chicago's sustainability strategy
Chicago's CSO relates the Windy City's comprehensive strategy for improving sustainability and resiliency. Source: GreenBiz, 3/11/15

New Release: Second Nature Sustainability Sit-Downs Video #8
Sustainability Sit-Downs #8 is out. This week's video features Richard Cook, President Emeritus of Allegheny College and Second Nature Board Chair, discussing trans-disciplinary sustainability education and our effects as humans on the environment. Sustainability Sit-Downs is a new Second Nature video series consisting of 12 short interviews with sustainability leaders in higher education and partner organizations. A new video will be released every Wednesday. Source: Second Nature, 3/11/15

This New French Law Is Designed To Make Products Easier To Repair, So They Stay Out Of The Trash
When your toaster breaks, or your vacuum, or even your laptop, it's often cheaper to buy a replacement than attempt a repair. That's one reason the world throws out more than 50 million tons of gadgets each year. But a new French law is trying to push manufacturers to start designing products that are easier to fix. Under the new directive, manufacturers will have to label products with information about how long spare parts will be available. Next year, manufacturers will also be required to offer free repair or replacement for the first two years after purchase. Source: Fast Company, 3/9/15

New Incubator Network to Help Clean-Energy Entrepreneurs
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have launched the Clean Energy Incubator Network. The program, funded by the Energy Department, aims to improve the performance of clean energy business incubators, connect critical industry and energy sector partners, and advance clean energy technologies emerging from universities and federal laboratories. Source: Future Structure, 3/4/15

EPA Designates Mahomet Aquifer as "Sole Source" of Drinking Water in East-Central Illinois
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a decision to designate a portion of the Mahomet Aquifer system as a sole source aquifer. More than half of the population in east-central Illinois relies on the Mahomet Aquifer system as a source of drinking water. Source: U.S. EPA Region 5, 3/11/15

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Lessons from history: why what we say about sustainability matters
The battle for the heart and soul of business will not be won by inventing new and unfamiliar labels. Source: The Guardian, 3/10/15

Monday, March 9, 2015
Is your business tagging water as a strategic and operational issue?
Understanding that water is a strategic issue, worth management's time and resources, could mean the difference between business resilience and stranded assets. Source: GreenBiz, 3/5/15

An $11 billion quagmire: Corporate waste reduction still lags
As You Sow and the NRDC report that companies' insufficient practices and lack of strong recycling policies are factors in low recycling rates in the United States. Source: GreenBiz, 3/5/15

3 questions to help companies set science-based sustainability goals
Businesses from Honda to General Mills to Unilever are signing on to reevaluate the way they set their sustainability agendas. Here's how to make the most of the process. Source: GreenBiz, 3/5/15

Why Adidas asked a grad student to help overhaul its energy use
Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to hone in on new energy savings -- which is exactly how sporting goods giant adidas Group tackled efficiency in its distribution centers. Source: GreenBiz, 3/5/15

5 essential practices help assure safer chemicals in products
Campaigners unite a under common frame for holding businesses responsible for safer chemicals use. Disclosure and informed substitution are key. Source: GreenBiz, 3/6/15

"Sustainability Leader" Badges On Walmart Products Don't Mean Items Are Good For Environment
If you see a product tagged with a "sustainability leaders" badge on the Walmart website, you might think this is an indication that this item is more environmentally friendly than others. And you might be correct; but you might also be mistaken. Because the truth is that this badge has virtually nothing to do with the product being advertised. Source: Consumerist, 3/6/15

Center for Dairy Research turns yogurt waste into new products
With exploding consumer demand for Greek yogurt, production is up. That's great for food companies' bottom lines, but it also leaves them dealing with a lot more acid whey, a problematic byproduct of the Greek yogurt-making process. Acid whey, if not properly disposed of, can cause environmental problems. Currently, companies typically pay to landspread it on farmers' fields or dump it down the drain. Some plants are starting to send it to anaerobic digesters, where it's fermented to produce methane. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are developing a better option -- one that will transform this trash into treasure. Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3/6/15

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