Skip to main content

News

2019

Northwestern University Recognized as Collective Conference Champion for EPA's 2018-2019 University Green Power Challenge

May 24, 2019

Northwestern University announced today that it is one of eight schools in the Big Ten Conference the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing as 2018-19 Collective Conference Champions for their green power use. With this award, EPA recognizes both the Big Ten and its participating schools for winning the 2018-19 College and University Green Power Challenge. Together, the schools in this conference collectively use more green power than any other conference participating in the challenge, with the University of Maryland leading the way as the Big Ten school that used the largest amount of green power.

Read more about what Northwestern is doing to stay green here!

Expanded Composting at Norris Center

May 24, 2019

In April 2019, student organization Northwestern University Real Food (NURF) piloted expanded food waste compost collections to diners on the ground floor of Norris University Center. While food waste composting is part of all campus dining operations, most collections take place in prep, serving, and dish room areas. With the help of Northwestern Dining, the Norris staff, and sustainNU, NURF was able to compost 400 pounds of waste from diners over a 4-week period, avoiding disposal in a landfill.

Read more about the wonderful initiative NURF has taken here!

Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Wendy Schmidt Discusses Critical Ocean Issues

May 24, 2019

Our oceans are under attack. 

Contaminants pour in from everywhere. Plastic and chemical pollution overflow from cities and farms. Discarded waste materials come from the clothing industry. Trash and netting from fishing boats, illegal fishing and over-fishing create traps. Deep-sea mining and drilling by governments and industry release spills and sludge. 

“It’s hard to care about something that you can’t see,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, speaking at Northwestern University on May 7. “It’s even harder to care about something you don’t understand.”

In her speech, “The Low Down on the High Seas: What We Don’t Know About the Ocean Can Kill Us,” Schmidt presented optimistic approaches to address critical ocean issues such as oil spill, micro-plastic, acidification, their impact on industries, and the framework of viewing the ocean as part of an interactive living system. 

Read more about this issue here!

Northwestern Student Explores Legal Solutions to Help Protect the Amazon

May 17, 2019

Beginning in the fall of 2018, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) began working with the Environmental Advocacy Center to determine what opportunities and solutions exist on how to incorporate “natural capital” such as rain forests and human livelihood into infrastructure projects in the Amazon. 

This could mean legal and policy changes that would enable WWF to work with local communities to better protect the environment in the Amazon and the interests of indigenous people. 

The project emerged due in large part to WWF’s formal partnership with the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). 

Read more about it here!

Methane-consuming Bacteria Could be the Future of Fuel

May 17, 2019

Known for their ability to remove methane from the environment and convert it into a usable fuel, methanotrophic bacteria have long fascinated researchers. But how, exactly, these bacteria naturally perform such a complex reaction has been a mystery. 

Now an interdisciplinary team at Northwestern University has found that the enzyme responsible for the methane-methanol conversion catalyzes this reaction at a site that contains just one copper ion.

This finding could lead to newly designed, human-made catalysts that can convert methane — a highly potent greenhouse gas — to readily usable methanol with the same effortless mechanism.

Read more here!

Working to Preemptively Respond to the Problem of Plastic Pollution

May 10, 2019

Despite its single-use lifespan, most of all plastic will persist for hundreds of years—eventually making its way into the environment and into the food and water we consume. That is why Cristina Negri, director of Argonne National Laboratory’s environmental science division, called plastics one of the worst misdesigns in history.

Read more about what action ISEN is taking here!

Northwestern Launches Program on Plastics, Ecosystems, and Public Health

April 19, 2019

The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University (ISEN) is spearheading a new Program on Plastics, Ecosystems, and Public Health. The Program’s ultimate goal is to establish comprehensive scientific understanding of the uncertain environmental and human health impacts resulting from the unprecedented use and accumulation of plastics worldwide, while accelerating the discovery of scalable solutions to mitigate such impacts.

Read more here, and for more stories about the plastic problem, go here!

Climate Change Is Transforming the Economy

April 5, 2019
In case the wildfireshurricanesfatal winters, and U.N. reports weren’t enough to convince business leaders to care about climate change, the World Economic Forum—for the third year in a row—cited “extreme weather” as the greatest threat to the global economy. Climate change is no longer a distant concern for all but a few specialized companies; it’s an imminent reality with implications for every industry. Read more about the changing economy in this article.

New Report Warns Of Dangers to Great Lakes Health and Economy from Climate Change

April 5, 2019
new report provides an updated and detailed picture for how climate change is affecting this crucial source of freshwater and, therefore, threatening public health, infrastructure, fish and wildlife, and the regional economy. Read more about it here!

ASG passes resolution that calls for University to divest in fossil fuel industry

March 15, 2019
Associated Student Government passed a resolution calling on Northwestern to divest from the top 100 coal and top 100 oil and gas companies — and limit future investments in the fossil fuel industry — during its Wednesday Senate meeting. Read more here!

New Collaboration Examines Community Impacts of Green Infrastructure

March 1, 2019
The Nature Conservancy and Vidya Venkataramanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Northwestern’s Department of Anthropology and Center for Water Research, are working on new research that investigates the  the socio-economic and health impacts of natural or “green” infrastructure as an urban water management strategy. Learn more about this amazing work here!

The State of Sustainability

March 1, 2019
On February 18, students gathered to learn about sustainability projects on campus. Representatives from sustainNU, the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), and ASG shared the status of sustainability projects. Learn more about the work they did here!

Northwestern to Celebrate Earth Hour March 30th

March 1, 2019
As part of Northwestern's Sustainability efforts, the University will observe Earth Hour on Saturday, March 30 from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Earth Hour is a one-hour voluntary 'black-out' that launched in 2007 in Sydney, Australia uniting millions of individuals, businesses, cities, and universities around the world to take action for wildlife, rivers, oceans, forests, and our climate. Check out sustainNU's article for more details!
Back to top