The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with many partners, recognizes National Groundwater Awareness Week: March 9-15, 2014. Read more in this post and at the USGS National Groundwater Awareness Week website.
Author Archives: Laura B.
Read the full post at Grist.
There are things we know that we know, there are things that we know we don’t know, and there are four previously unknown ozone-eating gases that we now know are eating the ozone. (It goes something like that, right?)
No, we are not back in 1985, when scientists first discovered that the ozone layer had sprung a serious leak. Back then, 40 countries banded together to take unprecedented global action to restrict the nefarious chlorofluorocarbon gases (CFCs) responsible for the problem. The Montreal Protocol came into effect a mere four years after the threat was identified, culminating in a total ban on CFCs in 2010, tying up the loose ends once and seemingly for all (and, by happy accident, slowing the scourge of global warming by a 10th of a degree or so).
Now, according to a study published yesterday in Nature Geoscience, three new CFC gases have been found sneaking around the stratosphere, as well as a fourth close relative, a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) commonly used in refrigerators and air-conditioners. These can be added to the catalogue of seven CFCs and six HCFCs previously ID’ed as armed and dangerous — the first new members added to this exclusive club since the ‘90s.
Read the full story in Environmental Leader.
A different study downplayed the greenhouse gas benefits of natural gas due to methane leaks.
Environmental Defense Fund commissioned ICF to analyze the economics of methane emission reduction in the natural gas industry, from upstream production to downstream distribution.
Read the full story at Fast Company.
Ever notice how pears at the supermarket or corner store are often partially wrapped in tissue paper? You might think that’s to protect the pears, and you’d be right. But the protection is more complicated than it seems at first glance, and that paper wrapping is more than just paper–it’s often impregnated with chemicals.
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is now accepting applications for the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards.
This award, begun in 1987, is the nation’s oldest continuing pollution prevention program and annually honors organizations and businesses that have made a commitment to the environment through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices.
The application deadline is close of business on May 22, 2014.
EPA has released two climate and energy strategy guides for local governments.
On-Site Renewable Energy Generation. A growing number of local governments are turning to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, and landfill gas, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve air quality and energy security, boost the local economy, and pave the way to a sustainable energy future. Local governments can work with utilities, local businesses, nonprofit groups, residents, state agencies, and green power marketers and brokers to plan and implement on-site renewable energy generation projects at local government facilities and throughout their communities.
Combined Heat and Power. Combined heat and power, also known as cogeneration, refers to the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source. Simultaneous production is more efficient than producing electricity and thermal energy through two separate power systems and requires less fuel. Reductions in fuel use can produce a number of benefits, including energy cost savings, reduced GHG emissions, and reductions in other air emissions.
These guides provide comprehensive information for local government staff and policy makers on how to implement these GHG reduction strategies, including:
- Products/technologies and their applications
- Environmental, energy, and economic benefits
- Steps for designing procurement plans/installations
- Key stakeholders to engage
- Policy mechanisms for initiating programs
- Implementation strategies for success
- Costs and funding opportunities
Key features of the guides include:
- Case studies and examples from communities across the United States
- Links to technical resources, analytical tools, and sources of funding
These guides are part of EPA’s Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, which is designed to help policy makers and program staff plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective climate and energy projects that generate environmental, economic, social, and human health benefits.
To access these guides and others in this series, please visit the Local Climate and Energy Strategy Series page.
Read the full story in Atlantic Cities.
Everybody knows that parking is a big problem in New York. Sometimes it seems as if there’s no place to secure your vehicle. It can be infuriating searching for a spot. Especially if your vehicle is a bicycle.
Despite the installation of hundreds of new bike racks around the city over the past few years, New York’s boom in bicycling has meant that it’s increasingly difficult to find a safe place to lock up. It’s illegal to lock to trees, and the fine for doing so is $1,000. The rules on street signs are vague, and your bike could theoretically get removed by the cops. Scaffolding is tempting, but if you lock to the wrong part, you might find the bar unbolted and your bike gone when you return. Lots of property owners don’t want you locking to fences and railings, and you always run the risk of being clipped if you do so.
Now that spring is on the way, the bike-parking crunch is only going to get worse, especially since so many perfectly good, legal racks are taken up by the carcasses of bikes that have long been abandoned. Any regular New York cyclist is familiar with the problem. Sometimes the rusted, bent frame of a long-abandoned two-wheeler will sit for months in a prime space, effectively lockblocking regular commuters and occasional visitors to the neighborhood alike.
There’s a new project that aims to clear the city’s racks of this infuriating debris. Dead Pedal NY is encouraging the city’s riders to use Instagram to take pictures of the offending hunks of junk, caption them with the location, and tag them with #deadpedalny. Dead Pedal will then pass the information along to the Department of Sanitation in an attempt to “help (and inspire) them to clean them up faster.”
Brentin Mock has an interesting post over on Grist in which he ties together 17th anniversary of rapper Biggie Small’s shooting death and the main causes of death for blacks in Brooklyn: heart disease and cancer.
NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) has developed an integrated calendar of webinars on climate and science topics given by NOAA researchers from across the country. The Google calendar is available in XML, HTML, and ICAL formats.
Read the full post at Grist.
We’ve been called out: Millennials are not environmentalists. A new Pew Research Center report says that only 32 percent of people born after 1980 identify themselves as such — versus 42 percent of people born between 1965 and 1980, or even 44 percent of those born after 1945. But, as someone born in 1988, I find it hard to believe any of those numbers actually matter.