Daily Archives: January 15, 2013

Global Synthesis and Critical Evaluation of Pharmaceutical Data Sets Collected from River Systems

Stephen R. Hughes, Paul Kay, and Lee E. Brown (2013) “Global Synthesis and Critical Evaluation of Pharmaceutical Data Sets Collected from River Systems.” Environmental Science & Technology 47(2), 661-677. DOI:10.1021/es3030148.

Abstract: Pharmaceuticals have emerged as a major group of environmental contaminants over the past decade but relatively little is known about their occurrence in freshwaters compared to other pollutants. We present a global-scale analysis of the presence of 203 pharmaceuticals across 41 countries and show that contamination is extensive due to widespread consumption and subsequent disposal to rivers. There are clear regional biases in current understanding with little work outside North America, Europe, and China, and no work within Africa. Within individual countries, research is biased around a small number of populated provinces/states and the majority of research effort has focused upon just 14 compounds. Most research has adopted sampling techniques that are unlikely to provide reliable and representative data. This analysis highlights locations where concentrations of antibiotics, cardiovascular drugs, painkillers, contrast media, and antiepileptic drugs have been recorded well above thresholds known to cause toxic effects in aquatic biota. Studies of pharmaceutical occurrence and effects need to be seen as a global research priority due to increasing consumption, particularly among societies with aging populations. Researchers in all fields of environmental management need to work together more effectively to identify high risk compounds, improve the reliability and coverage of future monitoring studies, and develop new mitigation measures.


Call for Case Studies on Greening Collegiate Athletics and Recreation

AASHE is collaborating with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Green Sports Alliance to publish and promote case studies in greening campus sports. Please share your success stories and get recognized while helping other institutions learn from your efforts. Stories are being accepted through March 1, 2013.


Energy Department Launches Web Tool to Explore Pathways to Clean Energy Economy

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced a new interactive online tool to help researchers, educators, and students explore future U.S. energy-use scenarios. The interactive Buildings, Industry, Transportation, and Electricity Scenarios (BITES) tool allows users to adjust inputs, such as electricity generation and transportation fuel use, to compare outcomes and impacts on carbon dioxide emissions and the U.S. energy mix.

The energy-use scenarios and analytical framework behind BITES were originally developed for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to help identify and implement new research and technical opportunities that will have the greatest impact on achieving our national energy goals. The BITES tool demonstrates that continued technology and policy deployment is needed in every energy sector to meet U.S. climate and energy security goals.

BITES can also be a useful tool for students and educators who focus on how research, policy, or other forms of national action can impact U.S. energy use. Future plans for BITES include hosting online discussion forums on the scenarios created in the tool and delivering BITES as a learning module on the National Training and Education Resource (NTER). These efforts are part of the Energy Department’s broader energy education and energy literacy initiative to help U.S. families and businesses make informed energy decisions.

Read more information on the educational uses of BITES as well as information on a college-level workshop that is being developed and piloted.

BITES was developed for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


Ten Ways to Integrate Sustainability into the Curriculum

Read the full post at AASHE.

Authored by Clara Changxin Fang, Sustainability and Campus Planning Manager at Towson University. Re-posted with permission from the Residence on Earth blog.

Those of us in higher education who are concerned about the future of the planet realize that although cutting carbon emissions from campus operations is important, it is not enough to turn the tide of the ecological crisis, nor is it where we can best utilize our influence as educators to make an impact on future generations. Integrating sustainability into the curriculum is becoming THE challenge for sustainability influencers at colleges and universities as green buildings and recycling programs become matter of course and the classroom becomes the true battleground for change. Here are some ways that sustainability can be integrated into the curriculum to help build ecological awareness for students, staff, and faculty.

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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Colleges and universities


Green Revolving Funds: An Introductory Guide to Implementation and Management

Download the document.

Green Revolving Funds: An Introductory Guide to Implementation and Management combines the expertise of energy professionals and college administrators from dozens of institutions to establish best practices. The resource is a co-publication of the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and was developed with the consulting firm ICF International.

The introductory guide provides a broad overview of the green revolving fund model, practical guidance on how to set up a fund, and examples and best practices gleaned from on-the-ground experience of managing a green revolving fund. Topics covered include:

  • What is a Green Revolving Fund?
  • The Anatomy of a Green Revolving Fund
  • 10 Steps to establishing a Successful Green Revolving Fund
  • Common Obstacles to implementation
  • Joining The Challenge – including benefits and cost of participation

A comprehensive Implementation Guide will be published in April 2013 and will be available to all institutions participating in the Billion Dollar Green Challenge.


Roundup of higher education sustainability in the Great Lakes Region

ASG’s Sustainability Committee offers free option to go green for off-campus students
Associated Student Government’s Sustainability Committee is offering free compact fluorescent light bulbs and water-efficient showerheads to all students living off campus.The committee launched a Facebook event this week advertising the initiative, which aims to unite Northwestern and Evanston in a push for greener living, said Mark Silberg, ASG’s associate vice president for Sustainability. He said 300 students have signed up to receive the packages so far and the first ones will be distributed this weekend in the ASG office.

Get Plugged in at Prairie State College
The Sustainability Center at Prairie State College (PSC) is excited to offer free charging to community members at the college’s newly installed Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations. The charging stations are part of the college’s strategic sustainability plan and are just one of the many initiatives PSC is implementing to green the campus and serve as a community demonstration site.

Aquinas College Zero Waste Initiative
As a part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Aquinas College committed to becoming a zero waste to landfill campus by 2020.  The Center for Sustainability and Students Striving for Sustainability (S3) are partnering to further Aquinas’ commitment to sustainability by moving forward the goal to achieve campus-wide zero municipal solid waste by 2014.  A Zero Waste Team is in place to assist in educational programs concerning Aquinas’ waste streams.  With collaboration of faculty, staff, and students, Aquinas will incrementally reduce our waste by 25% each semester for the next two years, by expanding campus composting and recycling efforts.

Volunteers sort compost for windrows at SAP
Grand Valley State University has begun separating its compostable waste to create windrows at the Sustainable Agriculture Project farm just outside Allendale campus and mulch for on-campus landscaping.

Columbia College Chicago Expands Compost Program
Columbia College Chicago was recently awarded a grant by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to implement a more comprehensive composting program across campus. This $5,000 grant will allow the college to reach more of the campus with the goal to divert 13 tons of food scrap waste from landfills in 2012-2013, almost double the 2011-2012 school year’s achievement of seven tons.

U Dayton Creates Exhibit to Teach Students About Water Resources
A new mobile learning studio developed by University of Dayton students puts the region’s five rivers on 18 wheels. The RiverMobile is a traveling exhibit converted from a semi-trailer that highlights the history, benefits and preservation of the Great Miami River watershed. It is the creation of students in the University’s Rivers Institute with generous support from local donors. The RiverMobile’s mission is threefold: to develop pride for the region, to provide knowledge about Dayton’s river system and water resources and to develop personal responsibility for the protection of local water resources and the environment.


Top Corporate Sustainability Trends in 2013

Read the full story at JustMeans.

In years past, companies would provide recycling receptacles and install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and consider themselves “green.” But with pressing forces of climate change, strained resources and transparency, corporate sustainability has evolved and become embedded deeper in business decisions. It now defines company culture and corporate reputation.

A number of significant sustainability developments occurred in 2012, contributing to our need for increased collective action around climate change. The Dodd-Frank Act mandated companies to disclose information related to their supply chain. The US drought grew and became more extreme, impacting agriculture and commodity prices. Conversations after Hurricane Sandy showed the need for increased adaptation and resiliency necessary for the future.

In the midst of these pressing issues, I see the following five trends emerging in the world of corporate sustainability in 2013.

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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Green business


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