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Daily Archives: October 1, 2013

Disappearing plastic stent could lead to a natural recovery

Read the full story at SmartPlanet. The stent is made from bioplastics.

A stent that’s absorbed by the body would help patients heal better by returning blood vessels to their normal state. Businessweek reports.

 

Three weeks to submit to Call for Proposals – Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference 2014

The Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference sets itself apart from other conferences by creating a program that features in-depth presentations and workshops. Sessions are 50 and 80-minutes in length allowing for dialogue and shared learning. Proposals are also accepted for poster presentations.

The 80-minute interactive sessions will allow facilitators and attendees to dig deeper into a particular topic area using active and participatory learning strategies. New for 2014, our presentation sessions will be 50-minutes in length allowing more time for questions and contributions by attendees.

Conference Tracks

Presentation proposals should be linked to the 2014 conference tracks:

Adaptation & Resilience
How does your institution manage risks associated with climate change and resource scarcity including energy, water, and food supply issues? Submissions on both “adaptation” and “resilience” are welcome, especially as they relate to risk management. Adaptation is the practice of implementing solutions to address current climate impacts – strategies and practices that deal with the here and now. Resilience strategies are those which look to reduce vulnerability to uncertainty and are focused on long-term planning. Has your campus already improved its resilience to drought and flooding conditions? Is your campus prepared to handle a disruption in food or potable water delivery? How well is your college or university preparing students – through curricular and extracurricular activities – for the sustainability challenges they will face during their lifetimes?

Change Management and Implementation
Getting buy-in for change means building consensus with stakeholders and finding collaborative ways of mitigating/managing risk. Submissions in this track should include an examination of your process rather than your content. What path did you take to strategic planning or goal setting? How did you overcome change resistors and/or obstacles? How did you apply a systems approach to root causes? What challenges did you face? Bumps in the road are often our greatest teachers. Submissions to this track can also include development or operation of behavior change, social norming or community-based social marketing programs.

Social Sustainability
The social realm of sustainability is often our most vexing because it can encompass a wide range of topics that are challenging to define and measure. Yet it may be our most important because it is the basis of a democratic society. How is your institution or community building positive and inclusive campus climates in which everyone can achieve their full potential? Proposals submitted to this track should include challenges and successes in social justice programming, purchasing practices and strategies for promoting individual, community, and ecological health and wellness. Share your model on finding the intersections between sustainability, diversity awareness, and cultural competence.

The Built Environment
Presentations and workshops within this track will examine issues ranging from design and construction to ongoing operations and maintenance. Your proposal should include innovation in space use efficiency, energy management, green renovations, or net zero buildings. How is your project inclusive of environmental restoration, optimizing new facility construction, alternative transportation, dining, or utilities? Proposals should include how your institution has tapped into local expertise, alternative funding sources and/or curricula.

The Campus as a Learning Laboratory
As the workplace and industry continue to change to meet the demands of the new green economy we need to be preparing our students to take on the complex problems of the 21st century. The places we inhabit and where we spend our time teaching and learning offer ripe opportunities for innovative pedagogy. How is your institution handling curriculum and research integration for sustainability? What pedagogical models do you have to share which can be utilized by others in the community? Submissions should include the process for implementation, parties involved, challenges, and lessons learned along with successes.

To Submit:

 

Which federal government services are affected by the shutdown?

USA.gov’s Government Shutdown web site provides summaries of what services are affected by the shutdown and a link to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s government operations status page.

Currently, the U.S. EPA and U.S. DOE’s web sites are available, but with a notice that they will not be updated until government operations resume. The ENERGY STAR web site is still up, but online tools and applications and the ENERGY STAR hotline will be unavailable until the government reopens.

USDA’s web site is currently unavailable, as are those for the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. The last three agencies are all part of the U.S. Department of Interior and their web sites are now redirecting to the main DOI web page, which includes a notice similar to DOE’s regarding the shutdown.

The White House has agency contingency plans posted for agencies across the federal government. This is the place to look if you want detailed information for a particular agency.

The Pew Research Center offers a list of government data and statistics sites that have been shuttered. A post on Disruptive Perspective details the problems the shutdown poses for geospatial  professionals.

If you need something from a government web site that is currently not available, you may be able to retrieve the content using The Wayback Machine. This post on the Internet Archive blog includes links to pages archived by the Wayback Machine.

UPDATE FROM OSTI: In light of the uncertainties regarding government operations, we wanted to let you know that the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) will continue to make available OSTI databases, search tools and web pages, including SciTech Connect and Science Accelerator.  Should the situation change, OSTI will put out another announcement prior to any of our products being unavailable for any period of time.

UPDATE VIA THE NOAA WEB SITE: Due to the Federal government shutdown, NOAA.gov and most associated web sites are unavailable. Only web sites necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained. See Weather.gov for critical weather information or contact USA.gov for more information about the shutdown. NOAA Federal Employees: For access to the Notice to Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance (SF-8), please Click Here.

UPDATE VIA THE CENSUS BUREAU WEB SITE: Due to the lapse in government funding, census.gov sites, services, and all online survey collection requests will be unavailable until further notice. Updates regarding government operating status and resumption of normal operations can be found at <usa.gov>.Websites affected by this shutdown are all census.gov hosted websites, including:

UPDATE FROM EBSCO RE. THE ERIC DATABASE: EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) is making the government database ERIC available during the government shutdown. ERIC, the Education Resource Information Center, is typically available through the government website (http://eric.ed.gov/) as well as via EBSCO’s EBSCOhost® research platform. Because of the shutdown the government website is unavailable so EBSCO has decided to temporarily open its version of ERIC and make it available at: http://www.ebsco.com/freeERIC .

UPDATE FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS: The current shutdown in Washington is limiting the access that scholars and researchers have to vital materials, including the US Census website. To that end, Oxford University Press and the Social Explorer team will open up access to Social Explorer  the premier US Census demographics website – for the next two weeks. Social Explorer offers users Census data from 1790 to 2010 and American Community Survey data from 2005 to 2012. For access to Social Explorer, simply email onlinereference@oup.com to request a username and password.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Federal government

 

Sustainable lifestyles: A new frontier for business?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Over the past several years, many companies have been experimenting with ways to encourage more sustainable lifestyles, whether by proposing healthier foods, making packaging more recyclable or financing rental bikes in major cities. Are we just spinning our wheels, or can sustainable lifestyles really deliver on the promise to help the world’s 7 billion people enjoy prosperous lives within the planet’s boundaries?

What is the opportunity for your company? BSR and Futerra launched the Sustainable Lifestyles Frontier Group with nine member companies — Carlsberg Breweries, Cathay Pacific, Disney, eBay, Hilton Worldwide, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, Mars and Mondelez — to answer this question.

 

Oceans are taking a bullet for us, IPCC says

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

Earth’s oceans are shielding humanity from the climate change impacts we’ve unleashed, scientists say, but at a heavy cost to their own ecological health.
 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Climate change

 

EPA Takes Steps to Allow Restriction of Imports of Harmful Category of Chemicals used in Carpets

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a rule that will allow the agency to restrict imports of potentially harmful perfluorinated chemicals that could be used in carpets. The regulation will require companies to report to EPA all new uses, including in domestic and imported products, of these chemicals once used for soil and stain resistance in carpets. These chemicals have been shown to persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in humans and animals – they represent a potential threat to American’s health. This action follows the U.S. chemical industry’s voluntary phase out of these chemicals and a range of actions by EPA to address concerns with these chemicals.

“While this category of chemicals has largely been voluntarily phased out by the U.S. chemical industry and not in use in this country, they could still be imported in carpets. Today’s action will ensure that EPA has the opportunity to take action to restrict or limit the intended use, if warranted, for any new domestic uses or imports,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This action will also provide a level playing field for those companies who stepped up to cease the use of these chemicals in this country, while at the same time protecting the American public from exposure to these chemicals in imported carpet products.”

The final rule issued today, known as a Significant New Use Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act, requires that anyone who intends to manufacture (including import) or process any long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic (LCPFAC) chemicals for use in carpets or carpet products submit a notification to EPA at least 90 days before beginning the activity, providing the agency with an opportunity to review and, if necessary, place limits on manufacturers or processors who intend to reintroduce or import products with these chemicals.Today’s action is one of several EPA has taken to protect the public from perfluorinated chemicals. In 2006, the eight major U.S. companies producing LCPFAC chemicals committed to the EPA’s voluntary PFOA Stewardship Program, pledging to reduce global emissions and product content of LCPFAC chemicals by the end of 2015. As part of this phaseout program, the industry stopped using LCPFAC chemicals on carpets and aftercare treatment products. EPA has also issued other Significant New Use Rules to require EPA review and prior to the reintroduction of other perfluorinated chemicals included in the voluntary industry phaseout. EPA anticipates another Significant New Rule on additional perfluorinated chemicals in early 2014 as well as Significant New Use Rules on other chemicals that will include imported products.

Information on today’s final rule and other actions EPA has taken on perfluorinated chemicals can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/pfcs.html#final

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Chemicals, Regulation

 

EPA to Hold Public Listening Sessions on Reducing Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants. Power plants are the nation’s largest stationary source of carbon pollution, responsible for about one third of all greenhouse gas pollution in the United States.

The Clean Air Act gives both EPA and states a role in reducing air pollution from power plants that are already in operation. The law directs EPA to establish guidelines, which states use to design their own programs to reduce emissions. Before proposing guidelines, EPA must consider how power plants with a variety of different configurations would be able to reduce carbon pollution in a cost-effective way.

The feedback from these 11 public listening sessions will play an important role in helping EPA develop smart, cost-effective guidelines that reflect the latest and best information available. The agency will seek additional public input during the notice and comment period once it issues a proposal, by June 2014.

For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to: http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/public-listening-sessions<. For those who cannot attend these sessions, input can be e-mailed to carbonpollutioninput@epa.gov by November 8, 2013.

More information about EPA’s carbon pollution standards for the power sector: http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards

Public Sessions on Reducing Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants (all times are local):

DATE: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
TIME: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EDT
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA New England
Memorial Hall
5 Post Office Square
Boston

DATE: Friday, October 18, 2013
TIME: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm EDT
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 3
William J. Green, Jr. Federal Building
600 Arch Street
Philadelphia

DATE: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
TIME: 9:00 am – 12 Noon; and 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 2
290 Broadway, Room 27A
New York

DATE: October 23, 2013
TIMES: 2:00 – 5:00 pm; and 6:00 – 9:00 pm EDT
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 4
Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center
Bridge Conference Rooms
61 Forsyth Street, S.W.
Atlanta

DATE: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
TIME: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm MDT (last 2 hours for call ins)
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver

DATE: Monday, November 4, 2013
TIME: 4:00 – 8:00 pm CST
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa

DATE: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
TIME: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 9
75 Hawthorne St.
San Francisco

DATE: Thursday, November 7, 2013
TIME: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EST
LOCATION:
US EPA Headquarters
William Jefferson Clinton East
1201 Constitution Ave.
Washington, DC

DATE: Thursday, November 7, 2013
TIME: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm CST
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 6
Auditorium- 1st floor
J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
1515 Young St.
Dallas

DATE: Thursday, November 7, 2013
TIME: 3:00 – 6:00 pm PST
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 10
Jackson Federal Bldg.
915 Second Ave.
Seattle

DATE: November 8, 2013
TIME: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm CST
EPA REGION & LOCATION:
US EPA Region 5
Metcalfe Federal Building
Lake Michigan Room
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Climate change, Regulation

 

Federal Retail Hazardous Waste Reform

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Federal (and state) laws and regulations, which were initially intended to address the management and disposal of industrial hazardous waste, are often an awkward fit when applied to the management and disposal of retail “hazardous waste.”  For example, many common retail products sold for household use are regulated as hazardous waste when discarded by retailers even though these same products would not be so regulated when discarded by individual consumers.  Accordingly, retailers are left to determine (and train their employees on how to determine) when a product should be treated as a “waste,” whether a particular waste must be handled as “hazardous waste,” and how to properly handle such hazardous waste pursuant to federal and state laws and regulations.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is currently undertaking several regulatory reform efforts that may lead to hazardous waste regulatory reforms intended to alleviate some of the awkward application of the federal hazardous waste regulatory scheme in the retail context.

 

Academia.edu raises funds to build a Facebook for scientists

Read the full story at CNET.

Startup hopes to overhaul how researchers publish papers, making them freely available to all and substituting social-network success for the traditional peer-review process.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Scientific publishing

 

What the IPCC’s new report means to business

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

A new report released today by the world’s leading climate change scientists states it is “extremely likely” that humans have been the main cause of global warming since the 1950s.

The first portion of the multi-volume report, released by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), confirmed that climate change is “unequivocal” and that continued carbon emissions will lead to increased temperatures and changes throughout the climate system.

This is bad news for businesses, which stand to suffer major losses from extreme weather events. The report highlights the need for companies to understand the financial risks involved and accelerate their efforts to mitigate global warming, said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a nonprofit that mobilizes businesses and investors on climate change, during a conference call Friday with leaders from the apparel, manufacturing and investor industries.

 
 
 
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