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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.

An intrepid bird called the red knot migrates from the southern tip of South America to the Arctic and back every year. But changes in climate along its route are putting this ultramarathoner at risk.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

Like it or not, plastic packaging has become an ingrained part of the food system.

While it's clearly wasteful to buy salad, sandwiches and chips encased in plastic and then promptly throw that plastic away, we take for granted how it keeps so much of what we eat fresh and portable.

And behind many of those packages that allow us to eat on the go or savor perishable cookies or fish imported from the other side of the globe is a whole lot of science and innovation.

Maybe you've wondered, while looking at the price tag on some organic produce, whether that label is telling the truth.

Peter Laufer, a writer and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, doesn't just wonder. He's an outright skeptic, especially because the organic label seems to him like a license to raise prices. And also because those products are arriving through supply chains that stretch to far corners of the world.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


When you kiss your husband, does your dog try to get your attention? And does that mean that your dog feels jealous? Threatened? Or are we just imagining that?

Many if not all dog owners are sure that their pets have feelings. And we've known for a while that animals exhibit behaviors that look like jealousy, guilt and shame. But it's hard to find out what animals are really feeling. And researchers say that understanding that could give us valuable insights into human emotions, too.

South Portland, Maine, is known as the place where Liberty ships were built by tens of thousands of workers during World War II. Now, the city's waterfront is home to an oil terminal and the beginning of a 236-mile-long pipeline.

For more than 70 years, the Portland Montreal Pipeline Corp. has pumped crude oil up through the pipeline, across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, to be refined in Montreal.

Residents of an upstate New York town who've long associated their illnesses with the air they breathe may finally get some answers about the health effects of living next to a toxic polluter.

The town of Tonawanda lies in the shadow of Tonawanda Coke Corp., whose ovens heat coal into material used for the iron and steel industries, and release toxic chemicals into the air.

A couple of times a month, a group of migrant women and their children gather to plant shrubs and flowers in Baltimore's expansive Patterson Park.

The gardens feed and shelter migratory birds as part of the Patterson Park Audubon Center's Bird Ambassadors program.

Neotropical birds like the black-throated blue warbler and the Baltimore oriole migrate from the East Coast down to places like Mexico and Central America for the winter, says Susie Creamer, director of urban education and conservation at the center.

The emerald ash borer is a small insect doing a massive amount of damage. Tree experts say it will eventually kill nearly all of this country’s ash trees, and there’s not much that can be done to stop it. The devastation spread by the emerald ash borer is just one of many threats to the health and future of the nation’s trees and forests. Other kinds of insects, diseases, climate change and mismanaged fire areas are chief among the challenges. We discuss how our forests are changing and current efforts in forests and on city streets to secure the future of our trees.

This January, after the driest calendar year in California history, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. He called on residents to reduce their water intake by 20 percent.

But downtown Los Angeles doesn't look like a city devastated by the state's worst drought in decades. The city is green with landscaping, and fountains are running. People still water their lawns, wash their cars and fill their pools.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


Australia became the first country in the world to repeal a carbon tax on the nation's worst greenhouse gas polluters, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott made good on a campaign promise to get rid of the unpopular law.

The Senate voted 39 to 32 to eliminate the tax enacted by the previous center-left government two years ago. The law imposed the equivalent of a $22.60 tax per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions on about 350 of the nation's worst polluters.



Google is trying out one way of mapping climate change. It has outfitted a few of its Street View cars with special sensors to measure methane. WNYC's Robert Lewis road the streets of Manhattan to see how Google is mapping pollution across the country.

The area of Russia is said to be called, ominously enough, the end of the world. And that's where researchers are headed this week, to investigate a large crater whose appearance reportedly caught scientists by surprise. The crater is estimated at 262 feet wide and is in the northern Siberian area of Yamal.