Is there an unwanted insect or plant on your farm or in your garden that you don’t recognize? The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has an app for that.Invasive species trackers at the UGA Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health have developed a suite of apps to help farmers, forestry personnel and home gardeners identify strange unwanted pests. They can now identify their problem pests in the field, rather breaking away to sit down at a computer and look it up.Apps developed by the center’s technology director Chuck Bargeron and his co-workers provide direct links to different databases specializing in informing and educating the public about invasive species, those not native to an area that has been introduced and causing damage to agriculture and forestry. Such species include the kudzu bug that munches on soybeans and the spotted wing drosophila which affects blueberry crops.“For the IOS platform, we’ve had more than 25,000 downloads of apps. The most successful one was the first one we did which was for Florida, which was focused primarily on pythons in south Florida. It’s probably been the most successful because it had the most press coverage when it first came out,” Bargeron said. The University of Florida partnered in this app becoming available.The app is one of 17 the center has developed. It provides different apps for different parts of the country because, for example, farmers in the Western United States aren’t concerned with the same species that growers in the Southeast are concerned with. Working a regional perspective allows users to focus on species in their geographic area.The latest app developed was a collaborative project between Bargeron and Michael Toews, a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences entomologist on the Tifton campus. It’s an app that Toews’ research technicians use in the field as they study stinkbugs. The technicians can count the number of stinkbugs they see, record it in the app, save it and then export the information as an Excel spreadsheet. According to Bargeron, the days of Toews transcribing all handwritten sheets are a thing of the past.Bargeron and members of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health have had great success with database web-based resources of information, especially after the pictures image archive were added to the website in 2001. When Keith Douce and David Moorhead, — co-directors of the center formally known as Bugwood Network, — launched the website in 2001 they added pictures from 35mm slides. Approximately 3,500 pictures were available. As more and more people began using the website and recognizing its value, they started sharing their own pictures. The database of pictures increased greatly in the 12 years since the website was started. Now, more than 200,000 pictures from more than 2,000 photographers are in the systems database.These resources have also changed the way forestry and agriculture classes are taught. An entomology professor at Texas A&M told Douce the resources caused him to completely restructure how he teaches his classes.According to Douce, the center website generated 9.3 million users last year and 260 million hits.For more information, visit the website at bugwood.org.
The average office tosses out about 350 pounds of paper per year per employee. Reducing paper usage and buying paper with post-consumer recycled content can go a long way to reduce any company’s carbon footprint. Photo cred: FogStock/ThinkstockEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: I own a small business and would like to do what I can to minimize its impact on the environment. Can you help me? — Jacob Levinson, New York, NYThere are many ways to green up any business, large or small—and an added benefit might just be saving money. Just like individuals, businesses can measure their carbon footprints to get a sense of where they are starting from and to get some initial ideas of areas to focus on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a free “Simplified GHG [greenhouse gas] Emissions Calculator” to help small businesses get started. Another option is to enroll in TerraPass’s “Carbon Balanced Business” program, which helps commercial entities measure and then offset the greenhouse gas emissions they are responsible for generating.Beyond carbon footprints, there are many other things businesses can do to minimize their environmental impacts. The non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that, first and foremost, businesses should shift the paper paradigm—the average office tosses out about 350 pounds of paper per year per employee. “Reducing your waste and purchasing paper with post-consumer recycled content can help save trees and nudge the pulp and paper industry, one of the most environmentally destructive industries in the world, toward a less damaging path,” NRDC reports. Some easy ways to do this include: setting printers to use both sides of a page (or designating a “draft tray” filled with paper that’s blank on one side); buying copy paper with a 30 percent or more post-consumer recycled content; collecting used paper separately for recycling; and stocking bathrooms with post-consumer recycled tissue products.Getting more energy efficient is another way to save the Earth while saving money too. NRDC recommends taking advantage of the fact that most utilities offer free or inexpensive energy audits, whereby an engineer examines operations and provides a report about how to save on energy costs. Turning off lights and electronics at the end of the work day can save bundles of energy. “Plug all your appliances into a power strip and you’ll only have to flip one switch at the end of the day,” suggests NRDC. Also, setting computers to “sleep” or “hibernate” when inactive will further reduce a business’s footprint. And NRDC says to lose the screensavers: “Flying toasters and slideshows can use up about $50 of electricity in a year.” Lastly, when shopping for new office appliances, look for the EnergyStar label which means that the federal government has rated the particular unit highly in terms of energy efficiency.Cutting water waste will also make a business run greener. The group says to install faucet aerators and low-flow toilets, check for and fix leaks, landscape with water efficiency in mind and recycle gray water where applicable for nonpotable uses such as watering gardens.Lastly, NRDC suggests creating a greener work environment, given that “employees are on the front lines of any sustainability initiatives” a business chooses to make—perhaps by creating a green team “with members from all divisions of the organization to help implement plans and bring new ideas to the table.” Those looking to take their businesses down a green path should consult any of the free “Greening Your Business” guides on NRDC’s website.CONTACTS: EPA, www.epa.gov/climateleadership/smallbiz/footprint.html; NRDC Greening Your Business, www.nrdc.org/cities/living/gbusiness.asp.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
1 Ederson has joined Manchester City from Benfica Ederson’s move to Manchester City appears to be done after Benfica announced they had “reached an agreement” over a £35million deal.The 23-year-old, who has yet to win a senior cap for Brazil, reportedly underwent a medical with City on Tuesday and will immediately become the most expensive goalkeeper in British football.Benfica posted a picture of the keeper accompanied by the words “thank you @edersonmoraes93” on their Twitter account and said in a statement “it has reached an agreement with Manchester City Football Club Limited for the definitive transfer of the rights of the athlete Ederson Santana de Moraes for the amount of 40,000,000 (forty million euros).”Ederson is set to become the second signing of manager Pep Guardiola’s summer overhaul at Manchester City after Monaco playmaker Bernardo Silva joined for £43million on Friday.City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, in an interview conducted before their interest in Ederson became public, admitted Guardiola accepted goalkeeper was a position which needed addressing after an unconvincing first season from Claudio Bravo, who was signed from Barcelona last summer.“You should expect us to bring in a goalkeeper. That is another area which requires some work. Pep knows exactly what he needs,” Al Mubarak told mancity.com.“We have done a lot of work in this area and I think also our target has been set and hopefully you will be hearing soon what we are doing in that area.”