Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2017
"The minute Donald Trump was
sworn into office, the White House’s webpage changed - dramatically."

The U.S. government website no longer includes sections on civil rights, LGBT rights, health care, or climate change. Instead, these pages were replaced by Trump’s policies such as, ‘Bringing Back Jobs and Growth,’ ‘Making Our Military Strong Again,’ and ‘Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community.’ The page on climate change was completely replaced by ‘America First Energy Plan’ which states, “President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.”
Click here to read more. 
Obama’s Dirty Little Secret

With President Donald J. Trump taking office this past week, people have been flocking to social media to celebrate virtually every aspect of Barack Obama’s presidency. From his sibling-like relationship with Joe Biden to Obamacare to his environmental legacy--it would appear that our 44th President did no wrong during his eight years in office. On the environmental front, he certainly puts forward an impressive list of accomplishments. However, last month a story emerged from the joint efforts of The Guardian and the Columbia University School of Journalism that certainly calls his environmental legacy under question. Despite the climate progress at home, it was revealed that the Obama administration spent over $34 billion on 70 fossil fuel projects around the world via the U.S. export-import bank. To put this in perspective, the expected carbon savings from his Clean Power Plan for the next fifteen years would be completely offset by the emissions from these 70 fossil fuel projects. During Obama’s time, the bank spent roughly three times more on extractive industries abroad than it did under the Bush Administration. Obama has been championed for his action on climate change, making these figures some serious food for thought.
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Meet Your New Head of the EPA… Scott Pruitt!

It was always going to be interesting to see who Donald Trump appointed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, which he had promised to abolish during the primaries. He settled on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a man who has long been criticized for his ties to the fossil fuel industry. During his Senate confirmation hearing, he did shy away from the claim that climate change is a hoax, and admitted that there may be some link between human activity and the changing climate. This will serve as little comfort to environmentalists, however. During his time as Oklahoma AG, Pruitt received donations from all over the oil and gas industry, from Exxon Mobil to Chesapeake Energy to Koch Industries. Pruitt has previously fought back against what he described as “unlawful overreach” by the EPA, promising to defend Oklahoma Energy Companies. Additionally, in 2014, Pruitt sent a letter to the EPA complaining about how the agency’s methane rules were too strict. It was later revealed that out of the 1,016 words in the letter, all but 16 had been written by Devon Energy. This raises serious questions over Pruitt’s ability to run the EPA, as it’s a concrete example of him serving as a direct representative of the oil and gas industry’s interests. Of all of Trump’s cabinet picks, this one is sure to stir up quite a lot of resistance.
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There are 3,000 U.S. cities with even higher lead poisoning than Flint, MI
For More Information Click Here
Research Teaser

The group of Dr. Sunho Choi in the Northeastern University Department of Chemical Engineering is researching environmental remediation and sustainable chemistries. This group creates nanomaterials that are capable of being altered after synthesis for use in different applications, with attention recently focused on the capture of carbon dioxide from flue gas and atmospheric systems. The solids used by the group include high surface area solids, with as much as 3000 m2 per gram of material available surface for the capture of pollutants. Crystals such as metal organic frameworks and 2-dimensionally layered silicas are created by the group and used as platforms for the creation of other nanomaterials.

Recent work by the group includes a review of the current state of carbon dioxide capture applications using Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) with amine groups for carbon capture. Amines are used because they selectively capture CO2 over other gas components such as N2 and O2 found in the atmosphere in high concentrations. However one issue with these systems are their significant degradation in the presence of water, greatly limiting their application at large scales. In order to overcome this issue, the group attempted to improve water resistance by the creation of a special sort of MOF system loaded with a dual ended amine group. This work, authored by Dr. Dinara Andirova, was recently published in Chemsuschem, and showed a complete retention of capture capacity in high humidity, high temperature systems.

Other work by the group includes the creation of sustainable MOF crystals made from green feed stocks, as well as the investigation of capture of heavy metals from groundwater systems. The materials created in the lab, which can be used as building blocks for the creation of secondary systems, allow for more easy synthesis of desired solids without the need for expensive and costly synthetic chemistries. Other work, led by current graduate students Zelong Xie and Chris Cogswell, includes the creation of metal oxides for pollutant capture and the investigation of the effect of solid geometry and chemistry on carbon capture performance. This work paved the way to the creation of a new sort of solid adsorbent, utilizing novel geometric systems to increase the speed of capture over traditional systems, which they hope to publish shortly.

The group hopes to continue this research to improve the economics of carbon capture applications. Through making capture less costly, they hope that industry will begin using these technologies more readily and decrease carbon dioxide concentration in the upper atmosphere. Their work has been featured in Journals such as Langmuir and Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, and presented at conferences including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers National Conference, American Chemistry Society conference, and the International Congress on Sustainable Science and Engineering. 
Read more here.

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What is NEJRC?

noun. [KNEE-jerk]

The Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative is a multidisciplinary research collaborative made up of scholars engaged in political ecology and environmental justice initiatives. Based at Northeastern University in Boston, the collaborative works on a wide range of local, regional, national, and international topics and issues. Professor Daniel Faber, a long-time researcher and advocate around environmental justice, serves as the Director.

Find more information here.

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At Sundance, the Theme is Climate Change
Sundance directors have turned the spotlight to climate change, with this year’s new theme of ‘Global Warming and the Environment’ at the film festival. Robert Redford, founder of Sundance, explained that he always tries to veer from the political to allow filmmakers the space to tell their stories. However, Mr. Redford felt the story of our environment was an important one, so he has created a new category to showcase narratives from around the world about our changing climate.
Read more here.
Films include:

Chasing Coral
Director Jeff Orlowski

Chasing Coral: The Virtual Reality Experience
Lead Artist Jeff Orlowski

The Diver
Esteban Arrangoiz

Hot Winter: A film by Dick Pierre
Director Jack Henry Robbins

Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry
Directors Laura Dunn & Jef Sewell

Melting Ice
Lead Artist Danfung Dennis

Plastic China
Director Jiu-liang Wang

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman
Directors Susan Froemke, John Hoffman, & Beth Aala

Director Michelle Latimer

Tree: The Virtual Reality Experience
Lead Artists Milica Zec and Winslow Porter

Director Shaul Schwarz

Visions of an Island
Director Sky Hopinka

Water & Power: A California Heist
Marina Zenovich

Click here to see more titles.

Articles We're Reading & Reacting to...
Just a Click Away!

Trump’s Conflicts of Interest: ‘A Potential Minefield’

Hispanic Communities More Likely to be Affected by Climate Change

Positive Environmental Stories

China as a Climate Change Watchdog?

Weak Federal Powers Could Limit Trump’s Climate-Policy Rollback

States Will Lead on Climate Change in Trump Era

Flint, Standing Rock Prove the Impact of Environmental Issues on Communities of Color

Why We Need Labels on Food From Factory Farms

Trump's Pick for Agriculture Secretary Believes You Can Pray the Drought Away

After the Catastrophe: Climate Justice as the Post-Trump Slingshot
The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance is looking for a community organizer!

Click here for job information and application.
Copyright © 2016. Northeastern University: NEJRC, All Rights Reserved.

Contributors: Laura Bernstein, Ben Vanderlan, Nina Rossiter
Research Teaser Focus: Christopher Cogswell
Edited by Laura Bernstein CSSH'19
Designed & Edited by Anna Driscoll CAMD'18

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