Most Clicked SmartBrief on Sustainability Stories


1. Can the Marshall Islands survive as the ocean rises?

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 20, 2015

The Marshall Islands' 68,000 residents are on the front line as the world warms and rising oceans threaten to swallow up the low-lying atolls they call home. Islanders are learning to adapt and are embracing renewable energy but say the world must act fast to tackle climate change and save their community. "Where there used to be high land, it is now almost level to the sea. It's eating our land," said Billa Jacklick, mayor of the Jaluit Atoll. Al Jazeera (05/18) Al Jazeera (05/20) Al Jazeera (05/19)


2. What if the carbon bubble never bursts?

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 18, 2015

In a new book, economist Jeff Rubin predicts that fossil fuel companies are heading for a fall, with renewables set to displace oil, gas and coal as the world's dominant energy sources. It's an engaging thesis, but it's possible that new extraction methods and price controls could keep oil cheap enough to remain economically viable for many years to come, argues Andrew Allentuck. Financial Post (Canada) (05/14)


3. Pollution-eating roof tiles could improve air quality

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 22, 2015

Roofing manufacturer Marley Eternit is pushing the U.K. government to use pollution-eating roof tiles to improve air quality. The tiles are used in Japan and the Netherlands. A photocatalytic coating on the tiles absorbs nitric oxide, one of the main causes of air pollution. Building (U.K.) (05/21) TheConstructionIndex.co.uk (U.K.) (05/21)


4. How much oil is in your cheeseburger?

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 19, 2015

Former McDonald's sustainability chief Bob Langert is launching a "Sustainability Truth-O-Meter" column dedicated to addressing claims about corporate eco-friendliness. His first target: writer Michael Pollan's claims about the amount of fossil fuels used to produce the food we eat. Pollan's numbers are "on the high range of various studies, plus it's out of date and out of context," Langert writes. GreenBiz.com (05/18)


5. BIM helps create ultrasustainable building in Seattle

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 19, 2015

Stone34, a 225,000-square-foot office building in Seattle designed by LMN Architects, has LEED Platinum designation for its rainwater harvesting, concrete framing system that gives thermal mass and shotcrete basement walls. Early on, DCI Engineers and Skanska used building information modeling and found that it saved "time and minimize[d] wasted materials and resources." Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce (05/18)


6. Nonprofit teams with restaurants to feed the hungry, cut food waste

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 19, 2015

Robert Lee left his job in finance to expand Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, the nonprofit he co-founded two years ago that delivers leftovers from restaurants to homeless shelters and food banks. Lee has expanded the volunteer-driven service from New York City to six other markets. Nationwide, an estimated 40% of food is wasted even as people go hungry. YouTube (05/18) CNN (05/18)


7. How clean cooking could save lives and help the planet

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 21, 2015

Three billion people worldwide cook over unventilated wood, coal or dung fires -- and that's bad both for their health and for the planet, researchers say. Some companies and nonprofits are developing efficient stoves and solar ovens that could help address the problem. "Leaders in public policy, sustainable technologies, emerging energy markets and international development should focus on encouraging women to adopt clean cooking practices," write Laura Brown and William Lankford. Nature (free content) (05/20)


8. Groups lobby White House on water rules

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 20, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing its rules regarding the "waters of the United States" provision of the Clean Water Act. As that deadline approaches, industry groups, companies and environmental organizations are lobbying the White House, trying to have some influence on the process. Congressional Republicans oppose the rules and are looking to stop efforts to potentially expand the EPA's reach. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (05/18) The Hill (05/20)


9. Winnow uses data analysis to fight food waste

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 18, 2015

A startup called Winnow, which uses scales and an application to help kitchen staff keep track of how much food they're throwing away, has brought in $900,000 in a seed round. Winnow stores its data in the cloud and uses an algorithm to analyze it. "I started my career at a large wholesale [grocer], and food and sustainability have been my two passions ever since," said Marc Zornes, the company's CEO. TechCrunch (05/11)


10. Calif. water vigilantes embrace #droughtshaming

SmartBrief on Sustainability | May 21, 2015

California water-conservation activists are taking to Facebook and Twitter to name and shame people who waste water. Users are posting pictures and even satellite images of homes with overactive sprinkler systems or suspiciously verdant lawns. BBC (05/20)




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