» Sustainability

Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

At CIRES, a partnership of NOAA and CU Boulder, hundreds of environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. Science in Service to Society At CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences, more than 800 environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system. Mission To conduct innovative research that advances our understanding of the global, regional, and local environments and the human relationship with those environments, for the benefit of society. Read More

Global Oneness Project

Our stories explore cultural, social and environmental issues with a humanistic lens. Aligned to National and Common Core standards, our lesson plans, available in both English or Spanish, offer an interdisciplinary approach to learning and facilitates the development of active, critical thinking. Read More

TED-Ed: What really happens to the plastic you throw away - Emma Bryce

We’ve all been told that we should recycle plastic bottles and containers. But what actually happens to the plastic if we just throw it away? Emma Bryce traces the life cycles of three different plastic bottles, shedding light on the dangers these disposables present to our world. Read More

Teaching for a Sustainable Future in Undergraduate Courses

By the time today’s undergraduates send their children to college, there will be more than eight billion people on Earth. Our climate will be punctuated by extreme weather events. One or more major metropolitan areas may have experienced a devastating earthquake or volcanic eruption. Energy resources will be strained and more expensive. This world requires both an Earth literate public and a workforce that can bring geoscience to bear on tough societal issues. Developing widespread Earth literacy and this workforce are the objectives of the InTeGrate project. InTeGrate is a 5-year, NSF-funded STEP Center grant, running from 2012 through 2016. The STEP (STEM Talent Expansion Program) Center program enables “a group of faculty representing a cross section of institutions of higher education to identify a national challenge or opportunity in undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and to propose a comprehensive and coordinated set of activities that will be carried out to address that challenge or opportunity within a national context.” Read More

The Molecular Basis of Sustainability

Chemists uniquely understand how to manipulate matter. Chemists have been responsible for deeply understanding the material world and how it functions. More importantly, perhaps, they have also played a significant role in creating the material basis of our society and economy. Building on this unique role in society, current chemists are faced with a pressing question: how we can preserve and increase the pace of innovation fundamentally supported and enhanced by the chemical sciences while not adversely affecting human health and the environment? There is substantial evidence to suggest that this is not a genuine conundrum and that evidence is found in the field of green chemistry. Read More

Greenfacts

The GreenFacts Initiative is a non-profit project with an independent Scientific Board and a non-advocacy policy. Our Mission is to bring complex scientific consensus reports on health and the environment to the reach of non-specialists. GreenFacts publishes clear, faithful, and verified summaries of existing scientific reports on health, the environment and sustainable development. Read More

The Story of Stuff

From a Movie to a Movement We have a problem with Stuff. We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division. The Story of Stuff Project’s journey began with a 20-minute online movie about the way we make, use and throw away all the Stuff in our lives. Five years and 40 million views later, we’re a Community of more than a million changemakers worldwide, working to build a more healthy and just planet. We invite you to watch and share our movies, participate in our study programs and join our campaigns. Read More

High Performing Buildings - Case Studies

High Performing Buildings describes measured performance of practices and technologies to promote better buildings, presenting case studies that feature integrated building design practices and improved operations and maintenance techniques. Practical solutions are presented through case studies that include measured performance data and lessons learned through the design, construction and operation of today’s best-performing buildings measured through sustainability, efficiency and whole-building performance. Read More

World Green Building Trends Smart Market Report

As sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives take hold around the world, firms are finding business value and opportunities from green building, including the opportunity for new environmentally responsible products, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s latest SmartMarket Report in partnership with the World Green Building Council. The report, “World Green Building Trends – Business Benefits Driving New and Retrofit Market Opportunities in Over 60 Countries,” is based on a study of global green building trends and aims to discern drivers of the green building marketplace. According to the study, firms are shifting their business toward green building, with 51 percent of respondents planning more than 60 percent of their work to be green by 2015. This is a significant increase from the 28 percent that said the same for their work in 2013 and double the 13 percent in 2008. This growth is not a trend localised to one country or region. From 2012 to 2015, the number of firms anticipating that more than 60 percent of their work will be green: – More than triples in South Africa; – More than doubles in Germany, Norway and Brazil; – Grows between 33 and 68 percent in the United States, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. The key driver to going green, according to the survey, is that now green building is a business imperative around the world. In the 2008 report, it was found that the top driver for green building was “doing the right thing.” However in 2012, business drivers such as client and market demand are the key factors influencing the market. These opportunities are mapping against expected benefits: – 76 percent report that green building lowers operating costs; – More than one third point to higher building values (38 percent), quality assurance (38 percent), and future-proofing assets (i.e. protecting against future demands) (36 percent). Global industry professionals have high expectations of the operating cost benefits of green building—19 percent believe their operating costs will decrease by 15 percent or more over the next year (51 percent believe there will be increases of 6 percent or more), and 39 percent believe they will see savings of 15 percent or more over the next five years (67 percent expect savings of 6 percent or more). The findings published in the report are drawn from a McGraw-Hill Construction survey of firms across 62 countries around the world. Firms include architects, engineers, contractors, consultants and building owners. The sample was drawn from firm members of the World Green Building Council in 62 countries, other global industry associations, and the ENR Top Lists. Of the respondents, 92 percent are members of Green Building Councils around the world. The results include a feature of nine countries with sufficient sample for statistical analysis. The study expands and contrasts against McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2008 Global Green SmartMarket Report study. Given the survey sample source, McGraw-Hill Construction compared the sample against a non-GBC member audience, which was comparable in terms of involvement in green and planned activity. Further, the US sample was consistent with McGraw-Hill Construction’s extensive analysis of the US construction market through its Dodge project data. The study was produced in partnership with United Technologies with support from the World Green Building Council and the U.S. Green Building Council. Other research association partners include the Chartered Institute of Buildings, International Federation of Consulting Engineers (Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs-Conseils), Association for Consultancy and Engineering, Conseil International du Bâtiment (International Council for Building), Architect’s Council of Europe, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. A separate survey of global manufacturing firms was also conducted. Read More

Light pollution is associated with earlier tree budburst across the United Kingdom

The ecological impact of night-time lighting is of concern because of its well-demonstrated effects on animal behaviour. However, the potential of light pollution to change plant phenology and its corresponding knock-on effects on associated herbivores are less clear. Here, we test if artificial lighting can advance the timing of budburst in trees. We took a UK-wide 13 year dataset of spatially referenced budburst data from four deciduous tree species and matched it with both satellite imagery of night-time lighting and average spring temperature. We find that budburst occurs up to 7.5 days earlier in brighter areas, with the relationship being more pronounced for later-budding species. Excluding large urban areas from the analysis showed an even more pronounced advance of budburst, confirming that the urban ‘heat-island’ effect is not the sole cause of earlier urban budburst. Similarly, the advance in budburst across all sites is too large to be explained by increases in temperature alone. This dramatic advance of budburst illustrates the need for further experimental investigation into the impact of artificial night-time lighting on plant phenology and subsequent species interactions. As light pollution is a growing global phenomenon, the findings of this study are likely to be applicable to a wide range of species interactions across the world. Read More

Mission

EERL's mission is to be the best possible online collection of environmental and energy sustainability resources for community college educators and for their students. The resources are also available for practitioners and the public.

EERL & ATEEC

EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

Contact ATEEC 563.441.4087 or by email ateec@eicc.edu