Please reload


Cape Town running out of water, Blockchain for social impact, Saudi Arabia invests in renewables, and Good-bye Nittany Lion

February 12, 2018

Saudi Arabia to invest 7 billion in renewable energy (Yale 360)

"The world’s largest exporter of oil, Saudi Arabia, is shifting away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. The country’s government plans to invest up to $7 billion in seven new solar plants and a wind farm by the end of the year, with a goal to get 10 percent of its power from renewables by 2023."


Yale Conference Explores How Blockchain Can Support a Sustainable Future

How can we design blockchain products and solutions that address urgent environmental and social challenges? The conference brings together students and blockchain innovators from diverse organizations (e.g. IBM, Conservation International, Rocky Mountain Institute, ConsenSys) to explore how the technology can be harnessed to address urgent problems, including climate change, deforestation, and humanitarian crises.


Capetown with 4.3 million people running out of water - AMAZING PHOTOS (UN Environment Program)

In just over 20 years, Cape Town’s population grew by around 80 per cent, from 2.4 million in 1995 to 4.3 million in 2018. During the same time period dam storage increased by only 15 per cent. Combined with the population boom, erratic weather and a persistent drought have created a severe crisis. Photographer and Cape Town resident Kelvin Trautman provided UN Environment with a series of photos that document the crisis.


Ghost Cat Gone: Eastern Cougar Officially Declared Extinct (EcoWatch)

Our mascot, the Nittany Lion, was created after the eastern cougar also called eastern mountian lion.  "This week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially declared the

 eastern cougar (Puma concolor couguar) to be extinct and removed it from the endangered species list.  The big cats, once native to New England, were last verifiably observed back in 1938. The service first concluded that the species was extinct back in 2011, and then proposed removing its protected status in 2015. This latest step, taken after extensive scientific review and public comment, completes the eastern cougar's long journey into the night.


Penn State professor of wildlife resources Gary San Julian said in an article in 2011: "When you lose a top-level carnivore, it has a major impact on the whole ecosystem...We sort of give up the wild tradition and history of a place when we lose something like this."


Penn State Researcher Lillie Langlois on the carving up of Pennsylvania forests (Allegheny Front)

"Some migratory birds need the deep, dark cover of Pennsylvania’s forests to breed. But natural gas development has cut into their

 habitat. Lillie Langlois is a researcher and instructor at Penn State University, and she studied aerial images to map natural gas development in Lycoming County over a number of years. Langlois and her colleagues found that linear infrastructure like pipelines and roads had a bigger impact on carving up forests — and affecting the wildlife habitat within them — than the drilling well pads themselves." 


Discrimination in economics: holding onto privileged opportunity: SHORT VIDEO (PBS News Hour)

Different treatment of men and women economists was a main topic at a January meeting of the American Economic Association. Theresa Ghilarducci, The New School for Social Research, says 35 is the age when discrimination against women in economics really kicks in.  Moreover, “women’s earnings peak at age 45, from 45 - 55 wages decrease by 9%; from 55 - 65 another 9%."


Alice Wu (pictured at left, image credit), now a grad student at Harvard, analyzed over a million posts in an online job board. (See New York Times article last year on her work) Words and descriptions of young women on the job market compared to young men:

  • Words describing male applicants: empirical, data, monetary, fiscal…words associated with the profession

  • Words describing female applicants: hotter, cute, b**ch, pregnant; of the top 30 comments, non had anything to do with economics 


Iran’s environmental body takes unprecedented step in fight against plastic pollution (Tehran Times)

Image credit: Tehran Times 


"In a bid for public engagement, Iran’s Department of Environment (DOE) has banned bottled water at the DOE offices and all other organizations affiliated with it nationwide. DOE has mandated all organizations associated with it to ban the use of bottled water throughout the whole country. The world renowned water scientist has explained in his proposal to ban bottled water, that large-scale waste production, particularly non-biodegradable plastic waste, is currently one of the main environmental challenges in the country and plastic bottles accounts for a great share of the waste." 


Did Coke Dodge or Dig In? (EcoWatch)

On Jan 19, Coca-Cola announced a "packaging vision for a World Without Waste." Greenpeace criticized Coca-Cola's new global plastics plan for failing to address the urgency of ocean plastic pollution.  The long awaited policy from the world's largest soft drink