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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

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

Friday, August 1, 2014
National New Markets Fund Expands in Southern U.S. With Investment in Nation's First-of-Its-Kind E-Waste Recycling Facility
OSCEOLA, AR, Jul 31, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- National New Markets Fund LLC has closed $15 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to help finance equipment for the first urban mining refinery in the U.S. capable of retrieving high-value metals including gold, silver, copper and palladium from electronic waste. An estimated 40 million tons of such e-waste is discarded globally each year, with only about 13 percent currently undergoing some form of recycling: The rest winds up in the trash. Built and operated by BlueOak Resources Inc., the new facility will be located in Osceola, Arkansas -- a highly distressed rural area with a 44.3% poverty rate and 12.7% unemployment rate. It is scheduled to become operational by the end of 2015 and expected to create 75 high-paying permanent jobs with extensive training and salaries averaging $50,000 per year. Source: Market Watch, 7/31/14

Panasonic and Tesla Sign Agreement for the Gigafactory
OSAKA, Japan & PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Panasonic Corporation and Tesla Motors, Inc. have signed an agreement that lays out their cooperation on the construction of a large-scale battery manufacturing plant in the United States, known as the Gigafactory. According to the agreement, Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land, buildings and utilities. Panasonic will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in the associated equipment, machinery, and other manufacturing tools based on their mutual approval. A network of supplier partners is planned to produce the required precursor materials. Tesla will take the cells and other components to assemble battery modules and packs. To meet the projected demand for cells, Tesla will continue to purchase battery cells produced in Panasonic's factories in Japan. Tesla and Panasonic will continue to discuss the details of implementation including sales, operations and investment. Source: Business Wire, 7/31/14

Geography of global electronic waste ('e-waste') burden
As local and national governments struggle to deal with ever-growing piles of electronic waste, scientists are now refining the picture of just how much there is and where it really ends up. Their study found that nearly a quarter of e-waste that developed countries discard floods into just seven developing countries -- with major potential health risks for the people who live there. Source: Science Daily, 7/23/14

New NIEHS-funded center focuses on urban environmental stressors
A new grant from NIEHS will allow researchers to study how exposures to stressors that are prevalent in the urban industrialized environment impact human health in Detroit and beyond. Source: Environmental Factor, August 2014

Michigan Journal of Sustainability Calls for Abstracts for Special Edition Focused on Climate Adaptation Initiatives in the U.S.
The special edition will focus on adaptation and resilience-building activities taking place across scales, systems, and sectors, with a particular focus on techniques for bridging the science-policy-practice divide. At this time, the Michigan Journal of Sustainability is accepting abstracts as well as full manuscripts for consideration. The call for abstracts provides more details about the Journal and the abstract submission process. Please note that this Journal is an open-source, web-based resource where both traditional full-length articles as well as non-traditional submissions, such as pictures or short videos, are encouraged. The deadline for abstract submission is September 3, 2014. Source: EPA Climate Change and Water News, 8/1/14

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Why American Eagle, H&M, Nike and Puma want your hand-me-downs
Almost 95 percent of textiles can be reused or repurposed. I:Collect wants to kickstart the process, and it may be in a store near you. Source: GreenBiz, 7/30/14

Helping the Heartland to love sustainability
The Northeast Indiana Sustainable Business Council teaches seven key points about conservation and responsibility to businesses in a diverse Midwestern region -- with interesting results. Source: GreenBiz, 7/31/14

What integrated sustainability really means
To transform the world, we first have to wrap our brains around two big concepts -- and work green thinking into them. Source: GreenBiz, 7/31/14

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Behavioural tracking and neuroscience are tools for sustainable innovation
Let's ditch sustainability surveys which tell us consumers pay more for sustainability - they don't. New tools, used responsibly, can properly analyse behavioural patterns. Source: The Guardian, 7/25/14

The Surprising Role the Military Plays in Environmental Protection
The common perception of environmental protection and regulation is that the federal government creates the laws, and then targets businesses and consumers for enforcement. But Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Sarah E. Light says that's only part of the story -- that private businesses often enact policies that influence environmental practices far beyond their walls. In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Light also discusses related research that shows the military, which has increasingly been investing in areas such as renewable energy, also has a surprising and important role to play in encouraging environmental stewardship. Source: Knowledge@Wharton, 7/29/14

Air Force Academy Pilots Food Waste to Energy
The Academy looks to reduce energy use and cost at its wastewater treatment plant and convert food waste from its dining hall into energy. Source: FutureStructure, 7/19/14

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