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WVPE & the IUSB Sustainability Studies Program Presents

The IUSB Sustainability and Innovation Lecture Series

January – April, 2018

Marty Mecktenberg, Founder of Empower Designs, speaks Wednesday night, March 21, as part of the Sustainability and Innovation Lecture Series at IU South Bend. His talk, “The Successes and Failures of Global Sustainability,” begins at 7 pm in Wiekamp Hall room 1001 on the IUSB campus.

Sam Centellas, Director of La Casa de Amistad, and Santi Garces, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of South Bend, IN, speak Wednesday night, March 28 as part of the Sustainability and Innovation Lecture Series at IU South Bend. Their talk, “Recreating Cities for Sustainable Living,” is moderated by  Mike Keen, Founder of Thrive Michiana. The event begins at 7:00 pm in Wiekamp Hall room 1001 on the IUSB campus.

Kaitlin Harris, the Urban Adaptation Assessment Project Manager with Notre Dame’s  Global Adaptation Initiative, speaks Wednesday night, April 4, as part of the Sustainability and Innovation Lecture Series at IU South Bend. Her talk, “Igniting Conversation Today for a More Sustainable and Inclusive Tomorrow,” begins at 7:00 pm in Wiekamp Hall room 1001 on the IUSB campus.

President Trump's nominee for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, has spent much of his career working for less oversight from the agency.

The United States oil business is booming and the country could soon be the largest crude oil producer in the world. Despite this record-breaking production, climate change activists campaigning to move away from fossil fuels say they are making progress.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the federal government's first responder to floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, has eliminated references to climate change from its strategic planning document for the next four years.

That document, released by FEMA on Thursday, outlines plans for building preparedness and reducing the complexity of the agency.

Our ancestors in Kenya's Southern Rift Valley made some pretty innovative tools. And they made them far earlier than previously thought.

The oldest innovations were axes designed to be held in the palm of the hand. They were shaped like a tear drop, with a rounded end and a pointed eye. The edges were wavy and sharp. And they look as if they were great at chopping down branches — or chopping up the carcass of a large animal.

People might not think of winter as a fruitful season for foraging wild edibles, but nutritionist and expert forager Debbie Naha says there's actually a lot out there that you can find year-round.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Bye, Bye Birdies?

Mar 13, 2018

A century ago, after several bird species were hunted to extinction, the United States outlawed the killing and sale of migratory birds, their feathers and their eggs.

While the orcas of Puget Sound are sliding toward extinction, orcas farther north have been expanding their numbers. Their burgeoning hunger for big fish may be causing the killer whales' main prey, chinook salmon, to shrink up and down the West Coast.

Chinook salmon are also known as kings: the biggest of all salmon. They used to grow so enormous that it's hard now to believe the old photos in which fishermen stand next to chinooks almost as tall as they are, sometimes weighing 100 pounds or more.

Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and author of the upcoming book Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth. His scientific studies are funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Education.

Scoot over, cans; cartons are moving in on your shelf space. Specifically, the soft, light rectangular containers commonly associated with juice boxes — "aseptic cartons" to the carton literati.

"They're growing in popularity," says Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council, an industry group. "Broth is predominantly in aseptic packaging now, and you see a lot of coconut water in it."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Jacob Katz is on the hunt — not for geese or ducks. On a farm about 40 minutes north of Sacramento, he wades through a rice paddy with an aquarium net in hand. But he's not fishing.

"We're going bug hunting," Katz says.

The senior scientist for California Trout, a conservation group with a focus on protecting wild fish, is at River Garden Farms. Founded in 1913, they typically grow things like corn, wheat and around 5,000 acres of rice — the kind local sushi restaurants use.

The Trump administration has lifted a ban on importing sport-hunted trophies of elephants from certain African countries, just over three months after President Trump appeared to pause a first attempt to do so amid public uproar. In a memo dated March 1, the U.S.

Robert Taylor isn't sure why he's alive.

"My mother succumbed to bone cancer. My brother had lung cancer," he ticks them off on his fingers. "My sister, I think it was cervical cancer. My nephew lung cancer." A favorite cousin. That cousin's son. Both neighbors on one side, one neighbor on the other. "And here I am. I don't understand how it decides who to take."

Like the human gut, the belly of every bovine contains a microbial engine — engines, really — since cows have four-part stomachs. Those unicellular inhabitants do most of the digestive acrobatics of processing a cow's gnarly, fibrous diet of grains, hay, and grass. They're also responsible for some of the cattle industry's greenhouse gas contributions, since, as it turns out, cows don't make methane. Microbes make methane.