Watch the Great Lakes Freeze Over

TIME Ecocentric

Correction appended February 26 You can measure a winter in many ways: temperature records, snow cover, even travel delays. But to truly see how frigid this winter has been—at least for the eastern half of the U.S.—you you need to go way up. Satellite imagery shows that an incredible 88% of the Great Lakes—Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie—are now frozen over.

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How Uncle Sam Is Helping to Feed the Honeybees

TIME Ecocentric

When I wrote a cover story last August about the plight of the honeybees, I didn’t think I’d still be talking about it half a year later. Yet this afternoon I went down to Washington to address a meeting of the National Garden Club—and the topic, of course, was honeybees. I wish I’d had better news to offer.

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Nuclear Fusion Just Got a Little Closer to Becoming a Reality

TIME Ecocentric

When physicists first split the atom in 1938, in the process known as nuclear fission, the feat led very quickly to the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ended World War II. A mere decade or so later this destructive force had been tamed to power the first commercial nuclear power plants.

Volcanoes May Be Slowing Down Climate Change

TIME Ecocentric

Small volcanic eruptions might be part of the reason why the pace of global warming hasn’t kept up with previous predictions, a new study published in Nature Nature Geoscience suggests. Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, seem to have had a cooling influence on the temperature of the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere.

Thanks to Climate Change, West Nile Virus Could Be Your New Neighbor

TIME Ecocentric

Invasive species aren’t just species — they can also be pathogens. Such is the case with the West Nile virus. A mosquito-borne virus identified in the West Nile subregion in Uganda in 1937 — hence the name — West Nile wasn’t much of a concern to people elsewhere until it broke out of Africa in 1999. The first U.S. cases were confirmed in New York City in 1999, and it has now spread throughout much of the world.

Save the Polar Bear—Today Especially

TIME Ecocentric

It’s International Polar Bear today, so if you live within shouting distance of the Arctic Circle, hug the closest polar bear. Actually do not do that—an adult male polar bear is nearly half a ton of hungry predator and they are extremely dangerous.) Still, the beasts deserve a little tenderness. The polar bear is now considered a vulnerable species, under threat from the loss of its sea ice habitat.

Our Global Diet Is Becoming Increasingly Homogenized—and That’s Risky

TIME Ecocentric

All it takes is a trip to the closest Whole Foods to discover how much more varied the offerings of an American grocery store have become in recent years. Organic asparagus from Mexico, papaya from Hawaii, dry scallops from Nantucket Bay—the foodstuffs available to American consumers have never been more diverse.

Oklahoma Shakes—Is Fracking to Blame?

TIME Ecocentric

It’s been a shaky week in Oklahoma. The Sooner State has experienced more than 150 earthquakes over the past week, far more than the Okies usually get. And while the vast majority of the quakes were fairly minor, one, on Feb. 16 measured 3.8 on the Richter scale, followed by a number of aftershocks. There’s been little damage reported, but the quakes jolted folks in a part of the country who aren’t accustomed to the Earth moving under their feet.

A Bright Year for Solar in the U.S.—But There Are Clouds on the Horizon

TIME Ecocentric

You don’t get any brighter than the reflecting mirrors at the just-opened Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, in California‘s Mojave desert. When I visited the project back in May, I was warned not to look directly at the mirrors, lest my eyeballs end up as scorched as some of the birds that have flown through the 1,000° F-plus (538° C) heat generated by the solar towers. The picture is almost as bright for solar as a whole in the U.S.

California’s Farmers Need Water. Is Desalination the Answer?

TIME Ecocentric

President Obama will get to see California‘s disastrous drought first hand today on a visit to the farming city of Fresno. It won’t be a pretty sight. While the conditions are arid across the state, with 91.6% of California in severe to exceptional drought, agricultural areas are suffering the worst. The state’s Central Valley has long been the fruit and vegetable basket of the country, growing nearly half of U.S. produce.

Quit Your Whining—For the U.S., January Wasn’t That Cold

TIME Ecocentric

And it’s not just New York: cities from Boston to Atlanta to Chicago have experienced the deep freeze of 2014. That puts January 2014—the month of the much vaunted polar vortex—right in the middle historically, making it the 53rd coldest January over the past 120 years. I should be in Florida.

California Is Finally Set to Get Rain, But It Won’t Quench the Drought

TIME Ecocentric

How extreme is the drought in California? Right now the federal government says that every square mile of California is in some state of drought—and 14.62% of the state, concentrated in central California’s agricultural heartland, is in the most extreme state of exceptional drought. Rainfall in some of the most populated parts of the state have been all but nonexistent—since July 1, San Francisco has experienced just 5.85

White House to Toughen Fuel Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles

TIME Ecocentric

In 2011, the Obama Administration established the first fuel standards for medium and heavy vehicles, rules that called for a 20% reduction in heavy-vehicle emissions by 2018—though only for truck models 2014 to 2018. When it comes to environmental initiatives, President Obama’s controversial efforts to impose some form of greenhouse gas regulation on America’s power plants have gotten most of the attention.

A Landmark International Agreement to Halt Wildlife Trafficking Is Just the Beginning

TIME Ecocentric

Leading nations gathered in London this week for the highest-level meeting ever to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife products. Illegal wildlife trafficking—the unlawful slaughter of endangered animals to trade their valuable parts—has risen alarmingly in recent years. Campaigners estimate that more than 30,000 elephants were killed in Africa last year for their ivory and 1,000 rhinos killed in South Africa alone, an increase of some 5,000%.

Japan Mulls Nuclear Revival Not Even 3 Years After Fukushima

TIME Ecocentric

If there was one thing that seemed certain in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in 2011—the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl—it was that nuclear power in Japan and the rest of the world was in major trouble. Japan, which before Fukushima had generated 30% of its electricity from nuclear, eventually took all of its 50 commercial reactors offline to pass new safety tests.

The Making of an Ice Storm

TIME Ecocentric

How severe is the combination snow and ice storm whiplashing the Southeast today? At 7 AM today a weather balloon was launched from Atlanta, to aid meteorologists in determining just how badly screwed the Peach State was. Answer: very.) Heavy ice began to accumulate on the balloon, until it was finally lost at about 12,500 ft. 3,810 m) above the ground. They decided not to send another one up. Georgia and much of the Southeast is experiencing a classic ice storm of catastrophic consequences.

TechWomen Is Not Just an Exchange Program

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Having spent the last five weeks immersed as a mentor in TechWomen 2014 , I’m compelled to share my observations. Posted by Guest Contributor By Christie McCarthy Originally published on the Vista Solar blog Advanced nations are beginning to understand this phenomenon: that healthy economies cannot exist without the contributions of women; and to the extent that women thrive, countries thrive.

Women Join Together to Advance Solar — and Women

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

While the initial excitement led to hopes that the group could launch and take off within a matter of months, the founders realized it would take time to organize stakeholders, onboard advisors, and begin coalition-building efforts that would support the eventual 2014 official filing of nonprofit status.

U.S. Confronts Wildlife Trafficking With Ivory Trade Ban

TIME Ecocentric

Wildlife trafficking—the illegal killing of endangered animals and international trade in their parts—isn’t just a conservation problem. It’s a worldwide threat, one tied to global crime syndicates and international terrorism. So it’s good to see the U.S.—the the second-biggest market for legal and illegal ivory after China— beginning to take the problem more seriously.

Law 44

Announcing Our Seed Investment in UtilityAPI

Better Ventures

Accelerating the Transition to Solar Energy We are thrilled to announce our seed investment in UtilityAPI , an enterprise software company that is accelerating the worldwide shift to renewable energy by making it easier and more cost effective to switch to solar. The company's API portal service enables solar companies to seamlessly connect to prospective customers' utility accounts and instantly download structured data that is used to better qualify leads and improve the likelihood of a sale.

Announcing Seed Investment in Augary

Better Ventures

Computer Vision Technology Saves Lives Through Safer Roads We are pleased to announce our seed investment in Augary , a company that saves lives by using computer vision and artificial intelligence to help fleets drive more safely while capturing valuable visual information about the world. The company's software uses smart phone cameras to help drivers detect common driving hazards including following distance, inadvertent lane changing, and exceeding posted speed limits.

How I Became “The LED Lady” — Hawaiian Style?

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Guest Contributor By Lindsay Wood “I have to write a blog” to “I get to write a blog” to “this blog is going to write me” – these are the thoughts that come to mind when sitting down at the control panel of my life … my MacBook Air and my brand new 27” screen. What makes it look so good? LEDs, or light-emitting diodes. Everyone with a smartphone has LEDs. Everyone who owns a relatively new headlamp, flashlight, or any kind of electronic device uses LEDs.

SunFunder Raises $2.5M Series A Round Led by Khosla Impact

Better Ventures

Funding will Catalyze Goal of Deploying $1B in Solar Loans We are thrilled to announce that Better Ventures portfolio company SunFunder recently closed a Series A round with Khosla Impact and a group of existing angel investors. This is a big milestone for SunFunder and marks the next step on their journey to be the leader in emerging market solar finance.

NBD Nano Raises $5.2M Series A Round Led by Phoenix Venture Partners

Better Ventures

Funding Will Advance Development and Commercialization of Water Condensation Technologies We are excited to report that Better Ventures portfolio company NBD Nano has closed a $5.2M Series A round of financing led by Phoenix Venture Partners , a leading venture firm in advanced materials innovations. Supply Chain Ventures and previous angel investors also participated in the round.

LeadGenius Raises $6M Series A Round Led by Sierra Ventures

Better Ventures

Funding will Scale Sales Acceleration Solutions while Creating Thousands of Fair Wage Jobs Worldwide We are thrilled to report that Better Ventures portfolio company LeadGenius (formerly MobileWorks) has closed a $6M Series A round of financing led by Sierra Ventures. Other participating investors include Kapor Capital, Bee Partners, Sam Altman, 500 Startups, and others. Tim Guleri from Sierra Ventures will be joining the board of the Berkeley, CA-based company.

Better Ventures Fund II Raises $6M in First Close

Better Ventures

Two Investments Completed and Actively Seeking New Deals We normally reserve this space for portfolio news, but we wanted to steal the limelight momentarily to announce that we held our first close for Better Ventures Fund II on October 2nd!

Finding Opportunities in Cleantech Funding

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

According to the PWC Cleantech MoneyTree Report, Q2 2014 , there was virtually no early-stage VC funding for cleantech in the first quarter of this year, and only a small uptick last quarter. Posted by Guest Contributor By Anne Janzer While venture funding for cleantech is crawling back up, funding is still scarce for early-stage companies, where the innovations of the future are waiting.

How to Reinvent Yourself and Create a Life and Career You Love

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Rosana Francescato What would you do if you found you were living a lifestyle but not a life? If you were Anne Martin, the Reinvention Mentor , you’d set about creating a life you could love – and you’d reinvent yourself. Martin told her law-to-lipstick story at a recent WCS event that had her audience persuaded we too can reinvent ourselves.

The Push to Bring More Women into Cleantech and Sustainability

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Guest Contributor Why aren’t there more women in solar and other industries related to cleantech and sustainability? This kind of question is being asked across many tech fields. When it comes to cleantech, quite a few areas are still in the process of maturing — and with that maturation comes both a greater awareness of the issue and more initiatives to do something about it. Solar is a prime example.

First Annual WCS Talks Provide a Beacon of Hope

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Rosana Francescato “The metamorphosis is now.” That’s what Lisa Ann Pinkerton, founder of Women in Cleantech and Sustainability, affirmed to a packed room at the first annual WCS Talks. What did she mean by this? We’re facing a change to business as usual, Lisa Ann believes, one that will take us from a top-down way of operating to a new way that can help us save our planet. She challenged us to ask, “What am I doing to help?”

Why Do We Need More Women in Solar?

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Read more: Now Hiring: Why We Need a Diverse Solar Workforce, and How We Get There Solar 2014 Conference: Bringing Down Barriers for Women in Solar The Business of Bringing More Women Into Solar Out with Booth Babes, In with Women Solar Professionals at SPI The Results Are In: Women Are Major Residential Solar Customers! Posted by Rosana Francescato There’s nothing like coming to the solar industry from publishing and high tech to highlight the issue of women in the workplace.

We Want You! To Be Part of WCS

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Rosana Francescato Anyone who was lucky enough to attend the recent Women in Cleantech and Sustainability (WCS) happy hour knows that for founder Lisa Ann Pinkerton, the organization is a labor of love — one that springs out of a deep love for our planet. At the happy hour, she told us about early experiences that led her to realize how precious our earth is. And she offered hope for its future.

Take the Cleantech Pledge for Gender Inclusion

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Rosana Francescato. How can we increase the visibility of women in cleantech? And why is it important that we do so? We know that in tech in general, women are underrepresented. The average breakdown is about 30% women to 70% men in tech companies. What’s being done about this? In tech, not much.

While Britain Floods, Politicians Debate Climate Change

TIME Ecocentric

Britons are normally never more comfortable than when talking about the weather, but recent extreme weather events have began to test that theory. Since December, the U.K. has faced a relentless assault from some of the worst winter weather on record. It began with the worst storm and tidal surges in 60 years hitting the North Sea coastline, floods that ruined Christmas for thousands across Surrey and Dorset and in January, the most exceptional period of rainfall since 1766.

GRID Alternatives: Women in Solar Webinar

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

The post GRID Alternatives: Women in Solar Webinar appeared first on Women in Cleantech & Sustainability. WCS Blog

The One Thing You Can’t Recycle: Time

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Rosana Francescato What’s that dripping sound? It’s the sound of your time leaking away, drop by drop. And time, unlike some things, is not recyclable. Whether it’s your personal life or your business, every drip has a cost. For those of us in the fast-paced world of cleantech and sustainability, this can be a serious issue. And women tend to face added challenges in balancing work and family life. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take control of your time.

How to Succeed in Startups — Even if You’re Not a Handsome Man

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Rosana Francescato How does a woman in cleantech succeed in a startup world where investors prefer handsome men? Never fear — the dynamic women on a panel at the recent startup event Vator Splash Oakland embodied evidence that women can be every bit as successful as their male counterparts. Investor and startup coach Reena Jadhav moderated the panel, “Startup Success Secrets — A Female Perspective.”

Charging Scarcity Holding Back EV Growth

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by LisaAnn. Article originally published on Technica Communications blog. At the turn of the 20th Century, it took only 13 years to replace the the horse and carriage with automobiles. A system that had dominated for centuries as a preferred means of transport was displaced seemingly over night. Today, transportation is witnessing another technological shift to electric plug-in and extended range vehicles.

Get Ready for More Women in Solar!

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Rosana Francescato This post was originally published on PV Solar Report. The solar industry has been growing by leaps and bounds, and women are making their presence known in the industry. More groups are focusing on women in solar, and you can no longer go overboard with exhibition booth babes without causing a stir. But while the Women in Solar Breakfast at Solar Power International is consistently sold out, there’s room for improvement when it comes to women in the industry.

Five Questions with DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman

TIME Ecocentric

There’s never a bad time to be named CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but when Ellen Kullman took over the 211-year-old DuPont at the beginning of 2009, things could have been better. The global economy was tanking, sales were dropping and the future was hazy. Fast forward five years later, though, and DuPont is surging.

What Can We Expect from the Smart Grid?

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Rosana Francescato There’s no doubt that the smart grid is coming, but it’s not well understood by most people. What will it look like? How will it help us? Should we worry about its security and our privacy? At a recent Women in Cleantech and Sustainability event moderated by Lisa Ann Pinkerton, a panel of smart and well-informed women was on hand to shed light on the mysteries of the smart grid. Making the grid sexy All agreed that we need the smart grid.

#SolarChat: Serious Solar Networking at Your Fingertips

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

And you can sign up here for a #SolarChat on January 29, 2014, about solar power and electric vehicles. Posted by Rosana Francescato Where can you find a solar community with a shared mission, shared information, and shared resources — without even leaving your home or office? All that and more are packed into one quick hour a month at #SolarChat , a virtual networking opportunity hosted by Raina Russo. SolarChat is a Tweetup, or a Meetup conducted virtually over Twitter.

Top 10 Women of Solar

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability

Posted by Guest Contributor Anyone who’s tried to get a ticket to the consistently sold out Women in Solar Breakfast panels during Solar Power International knows the female contingent of this industry is passionate about carving out and defending their seats at the proverbial table. Whether it’s educating women on installing systems or empowering them to speak out against the “booth babe” culture at conferences, their dedication to solar power and advancements in the field are truly astounding.