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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Focusing on lasting legacy prompts environmental action
Prompting people to think about the legacy they want to leave for future generations can boost their desire and intention to take action on climate change, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Source: Science Daily, 1/8/15

Why Uncle Sam Should Support Stronger E-Waste Recycling Efforts
Scaling up recycling programs for electronic waste -- or, e-waste -- would protect more than just the environment. It could also protect the U.S. defense system from the potentially grave risks posed by failure-prone counterfeit electronic parts. Counterfeit parts have pervaded the U.S. defense supply chain, according to a report by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Source: Forbes, 1/19/15

What Motivates People to Save Energy? Surprise--It's Not Money
When researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, asked participants at the beginning of an energy-use study what information would probably get them to cut their electricity consumption, the participants answered that it would be messages on how much money they were saving. They said environmental facts, such as how many trees it would take to absorb all the carbon dioxide their energy demand created, would be less persuasive. It turns out, though, that those reminded only that using less electricity would save them money didn't turn the lights off and the thermostat down, according to the study, which was published this week in the journal PNAS. But those participants who were told that saving energy would cut toxic air pollution curbed their electricity use an average of 8 percent. Households with children were even more motivated, slashing their use by 19 percent. Source: TakePart, 1/13/15

Friday, January 16, 2015
EPA Releases 2013 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis
From 2012 to 2013, the amount of toxic chemicals managed as waste by the nation's industrial facilities increased by 4 percent. This increase includes the amount of chemicals recycled, treated, and burned for energy recovery, as well as the amount disposed of or otherwise released into the environment. In TRI, a "release" generally refers to a chemical that is emitted to the air, water, or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/14/15

4 ways to (really) get employees on board with a green office
New sustainability initiatives aren't always popular at the office. Here's how to get better employee buy-in. Source: GreenBiz, 1/16/15

Thursday, January 15, 2015
Call for Papers - ACS GCI Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference
Submit your abstract for presentation at the 19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E) held this July 14-16, 2015 in the Washington DC metro area. Hosted by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute , this event is the premier conference on Green Chemistry and Engineering. Hundreds of participants come together every year to share research as well as educational and business strategies to ensure a greener and more sustainable future. Source: American Chemical Society, 1/15/15

Ensia's top 10 stories of 2014
A collection of Ensia's most read articles and commentaries from the past year Source: Ensia, 12/23/14

Visualizing the stories data can tell
Scientists and technologists are turning numbers about everything from condors to ocean-floor contours into visual representations of environmental issues. Source: Ensia, 12/15/14

When it comes to food packaging, what we don't know could hurt us
Recent analyses raise disturbing questions about the health and environmental effects of the stuff that encases our edibles. Source: Ensia, 10/13/14

Obama administration announces goal to rein in methane leaks
The Obama administration announced a plan to significantly cut methane emissions produced by gas and gas wells by the year 2025 through executive action. Judy Woodruff talks to Coral Davenport of The New York Times and Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University about President Obama's strategy in addressing climate change and how environmentalists and the industry are reacting to the proposal. Source: NPR, 1/14/15

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Less waste, more innovation: 5 food trends to watch in 2015
Last year, the movement toward a cleaner, more sustainable food supply gained traction, from school lunches with antibiotic-free chicken to a new rating system for produce that goes beyond organics to take energy, water use and other sustainability factors into account. This year could herald even more changes in the way we eat. Fresh, affordable, local produce and antibiotic-free meat will reach more people than ever before (a dynamic spurring companies -- startups and multinational corporations alike -- to take a shot at upending the business of food). In 2015, America is poised to figure out how to clamp down on shocking amounts of food waste. The FDA should recognize the latest science and get dangerous chemicals out of food packaging. Young farmers will embrace a new climate-conscious paradigm in farming that makes healthy soil a priority. Source: GreenBiz, 1/14/15

University combats food waste with compost, centralized kitchen
Slightly more than $56,000 worth of food was thrown away at Ohio University last year -- but that's actually a lot less than what was wasted compared to three years ago, data show. Source: The Post, 1/11/15

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
It takes more than numbers to set smart climate goals
Setting the right emissions reduction goal is a perilous process, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Source: GreenBiz, 1/7/15

Say sayonara to Styrofoam and hello to Mushroom Materials
A few years ago, mushrooms were something that accompanied beans and hash browns for breakfast, and even comprised the meat-free substitute in your veggie sausage. Now, you'll still find mushrooms on your dinner plate, but you'll also find its derivatives lining your walls and packaging products. Not only that, but you'll soon be able to grow it yourself. Source: GreenBiz, 1/9/15

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