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Erin Houghton presenting the project to a Soil and Water Conservation Society tour group in 2015. NEW Water

By Samantha Harrington

When heavy rain falls in northwest Wisconsin, fertilizer and manure can wash off farm fields into nearby waterways. This pollution contains phosphorus, which can cause algal blooms and foul surface water.

"We know we're going to see increased precipitation events. We know we're going to have more severe precipitation events," says Erin Houghton of NEW Water, Green Bay's wastewater utility.

State regulations require the utility to reduce phosphorus in the water it discharges. But instead of building a $100 million treatment plant, NEW Water decided to tackle the problem at its source.

The utility worked with crop and soil experts and farmers to minimize runoff. They experimented with planting cover crops, tilling the soil less, and planting grass buffers alongside fields.

Houghton says the goal is "keeping those nutrients and soil where they need to be, and on those fields, and really working for that farmer."

She says the early results are promising, so NEW Water is expanding the project into a 20-year plan. The utility is confident that by preventing runoff in the first place, it can reduce phosphorus pollution without an expensive new treatment plant.

As the climate warms, the problem could get worse.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Yale Climate Connections.

Hasbro will ditch its plastic packaging by 2022.

Bruno Vincent / Staff / Getty Images

Toy maker Hasbro wants to play in the eco-packaging game. The board game giant will ditch its plastic packaging by 2022. The move means that games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Operation will no longer have shrink wrap, window sheets, plastic bags or elastic bands, as the Associated Press reported.

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Jérémie Jung / SIGNATURES / Greenpeace

By Paula Tejón Carbajal

Working in climate and environment, you hear this question a lot. On one hand, environmental groups — including Greenpeace — will tell you that every action you take can make a difference. Every action counts! On the other, editorials and experts will tell you that it doesn't matter what you do in your everyday life, because the problem can't be solved by individual action. They may claim that its a cop out and lets corporations off the hook, because the problem lies with the broken but deeply entrenched system we're caught in. After all, 70 percent of emissions are created by 100 companies, right?

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By John R. Platt

Summer is officially upon us, which means it's time to pick the season's best beach reads. And there's no rule that says beach reads have to be frothy and lightweight. Why not choose compelling and informative instead? We've picked the best new environmentally themed books coming out this July, with titles covering everything from insects and salmon to climate change and plastic pollution. There are even a few eco-poetry collections for those of you who'd like a little art with your inspiration.

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Jacob Rushing / Getty Images

There's nothing like firing up the grill, playing some lawn games and enjoying the long days of summer with some of your best friends or closest family. But, let's face it; burning charcoal, sipping out of Solo cups and noshing on disposable plates isn't the most eco-friendly way to enjoy summer. In fact, here's a mind blowing set of stats from the Department of Energy, July 4th cookouts release 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, burn the equivalent of 2,300 acres of forest, and use enough charcoal, lighter fuel and gas to power 20,000 households for one year.

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Cigarette butts are the most-littered item found at beach clean ups. John R. Platt

By Tara Lohan

By now it's no secret that plastic waste in our oceans is a global epidemic. When some of it washes ashore — plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers — we get a stark reminder. And lately one part of this problem has been most glaring to volunteers who comb beaches picking up trash: cigarette butts.

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Polling station sign. Brenton Flectcher / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Nathaniel Stinnett

Americans are finally beginning to understand the severity of the climate crisis. Nearly three-quarters of Americans now say global warming is "personally important" to them, even as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that we have just 11 years to take dramatic action to avert climate catastrophe.

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Lloyd Russell / University Of Plymouth

The advantage of biodegradable shopping bags is supposed to be that they will not linger as long in the natural environment as conventional plastic bags. However, a new study from the University of Plymouth suggests that might not be the case.

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Traditional Thai desserts wrapped in very environmentally friendly banana leaf packaging. Yvan Cohen / Contributor / LightRocket

Thailand and Vietnam are two of the five countries that account for 60 percent of the plastic in the world's oceans, according to a 2015 study. Now, Vice reported Friday that supermarkets in both countries are going back to nature to find an alternative to plastic bags: banana leaves.

A March 21 Facebook post showing how Rimping Supermarket in Chiangmai, Thailand had begun wrapping produce in the durable leaves received more than 7,000 positive reactions.

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SimonSkafar / E+ / Getty Images

A powerful documentary can help inform viewers and spark a more conscious lifestyle. Maybe you've thrown out rotting greens one too many times, or waste from online shopping has you feeling guilty. The following list of documentaries may inspire you to "green" your life a bit more just in time for spring.

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Elisa Macellari

By Patrick Rogers

In the U.S., we consume more than 15 billion pounds of tissue each year—more than 50 pounds per person. It's taking a major toll on forests like the Canadian boreal.

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