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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
OH: Kasich says indefinite freeze of clean-energy standards is 'unacceptable'
Count Gov. John Kasich among the opponents of a legislative plan to be released today calling for an indefinite freeze in the state's clean-energy standards. Source: Columbus Dispatch, 9/30/15

Illinois Reduces Food Waste With Homemade Tomato Sauce
The perfect tomato is one of the joys of summer. It's perfectly round, with smooth bright red skin, and inside it is juicy and full of robust flavor. The Student Sustainable Farm at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign grows hundreds of these beauties every season. But the farm also grows thousands more tomatoes that -- while still delicious -- have imperfections like bug bites, uneven color, odd shape, or scarring. What is the fate of these "ugly" tomatoes? As of summer 2015, they're being turned into Illinois "house-made" tomato sauce. A partnership between the farm, the Department of Crop Science, the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition's Pilot Plant, Dining Services, and the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) is making sure that every tomato grown on campus lives up to its potential as the signature taste of summer. Source: University of Illinois ISEE, 9/28/15

Lawmakers: You Don't Have to Choose Between Cleaning the Air and Stabilizing the Climate
A new study by scientists based in Europe and China, in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, argues that air quality and climate change measures should be viewed as complementary rather than counter-balancing. Many steps to address air pollutants can also limit global warming, if policies look at the root problem rather than taking weaker actions aimed at containing the damage. Source: Pacific Standard, 9/29/15

For U.S. Tribes, a Movement to Revive Native Foods and Lands
On ancestral lands, the Fond du Lac band in Minnesota is planting wild rice and restoring wetlands damaged by dams, industry, and logging. Their efforts are part of a growing trend by Native Americans to bring back traditional food sources and heal scarred landscapes. Source: Yale Environment360, 9/28/15

EPA sets stricter emission standards for oil refineries
The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Tuesday to reduce toxic air pollution from oil refineries by forcing operators to adopt new technology that better monitors and controls emissions. Source: Associated Press, 9/29/15

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Environmental engineer Kartik Chandran awarded MacArthur Genius Grant
Kartik Chandran is an environmental engineer integrating microbial ecology, molecular biology, and engineering to transform wastewater from a troublesome pollutant to a valuable resource. Traditional facilities for biologically treating wastewater remove pathogens, organic carbon, and nutrients (where necessary) through decades-old technology that requires vast amounts of energy and resources, releases harmful gases into the atmosphere, and leaves behind material that must be discarded. Chandran approaches wastewater treatment with the goal of producing useful resources such as fertilizers, chemicals, and energy sources, in addition to clean water, in a way that takes into account the climate, energy, and nutrient challenges we face today. Source: MacArthur Foundation, 9/28/15

Gary Cohen, Founder and President of Health Care Without Harm, awarded MacArthur Genius Grant
Gary Cohen is a social entrepreneur and activist spurring environmental responsibility in health care both in the United States and abroad. American hospitals have historically been major contributors to environmental pollution, largely ignoring the damage to local communities and environments caused by extensive use of harmful chemicals in medical devices, toxic cleaning agents, reliance on fossil fuels, and disposal of waste via incineration. Cohen has led a paradigm shift in the perceived responsibility of health care providers, from a narrow, patient-centered duty of service regarding individual health to a broader obligation to also "do no harm" to surrounding communities, their residents, and the global environment. Source: MacArthur Foundation, 9/28/15

Thursday, September 24, 2015
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Managing Industrial Water Resources
Water is critical to manufacturing processes and companies are finding it more important than ever to analyze and automate to improve use of natural resources. Source: Automation World, 9/22/15

One Scientist's Hopeful View On How to Repair the Planet
Ecological crises may be piling up in a seemingly hopeless cascade, but Swedish scientist Johan Rockstrom says the next few decades offer an unparalleled opportunity to undo the damage. Source: Yale Environment360, 9/23/15

Imagine a world without waste: it's possible with a circular economy
We can remedy our planet's problems, but only if we are willing to redesign wasteful manufacturing processes and give up our throwaway habits. Source: The Guardian, 9/24/15

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Green roofs are no easy feat, but the list of viable plants is growing
The typical black-membrane urban roof cooks in the sun, reaching 120 degrees or more. Rain, when it comes, flows directly off the roof and contributes to the considerable environmental harm of storm water runoff. The green roof, by contrast, cools the roof and the building beneath it (reducing energy costs) and traps and filters rainwater. It costs more to build than a conventional roof but lasts much longer, because it isn't corroded so much by the elements. Given the extremes of a roof environment -- thin soil, wind, drought, high heat in summer and frigid conditions in winter -- the number of suitable plants is a fraction of what you might grow on the ground. Source: Washington Post, 9/1/15

Monday, September 21, 2015
Beyond Sprawl: A New Vision of The Solar Suburbs of the Future
The concept of the "solar suburb" includes a solar panel on every roof, an electric vehicle in every garage, ultra-efficient home batteries to store excess energy, and the easy transfer of electricity among house, car, and grid. But will the technological pieces fall in place to make this dream a reality? Source: Yale Environment360, 9/21/15

More in C-U answering call of 'duty'
Local cities make sure residents have opportunities to recycle. Urbana provides recycling for all of its residents through a municipal program. Champaign requires all waste haulers to provide recycling for all residents. Bart Bartels, a technical assistance engineer at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, discusses some of the efforts made by the University of Illinois to increase awareness of recycling efforts on campus. Source: Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, 9/20/15

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