Living Sustainably: Housing Fair offers resources for key Holland issue

By Hannah Gingrich, Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore
Lack of affordable housing has been a hot topic in West Michigan, and we are lucky that Holland is taking notice of the strain such conditions have on the fabric of its community.

In a housing climate where 43 percent of renters spend more than 35 percent of their income on housing, other expenses like utilities or groceries can break the bank. But with numerous public meetings, a rally, and an election all focusing on this issue, there is good news: People are working hard to do what they can to help.
That’s not to say we’ve fixed the problem, but many community organizations are doing remarkable work to help those with tight housing budgets. Utility rebates, home repair programs, and assistance with finding an affordable place to live can all ease the stress.
Nevertheless, staying up-to-date on available help can be daunting. One place to find out about the latest help will be a Housing Resource Fair at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Herrick District Library, presented as part of the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore series.
The housing problem is significant for those caught up in it.
I recently attended the Homelessness Summit hosted by Allegan Homelessness Solutions. The event featured a frighteningly realistic poverty simulation run by Central Michigan University. In the simulation, my “family,” based on a real, local family, had one working parent, one unemployed parent, and three children. We were tasked with keeping the children well fed and in school while not losing the house – and we succeeded at none of those.
After the simulation, we discussed our biggest takeaways about the struggles to stay afloat.
Our facilitator pointed out how most participants missed several opportunities for help, simply because we focused only on what we already knew. Several participants playing community volunteers said their “organization” had been visited by only a handful of people.
Positively, participants discussed how much we had helped each other. People passed along news of “utility rebates at the table in the corner” just like we, as community workers, hope our fellow citizens would share such information among themselves.
Some of us were so focused on getting to work and paying the bills on time that we didn’t have time to research who could help fix that broken furnace, where to find a better rental situation, or to even know what was going on with the kids at home. Those hot tips from our neighbors made all the difference.
What I describe was a mere simulation that took place over a few hours in a warm auditorium.
Unfortunately, it is a stark reality for more people than we might care to admit.
If you or someone you know might benefit from housing assistance, or if you have questions about how to help those in difficulty, check out the resource fair.
 Hannah Gingrich is an assistant at Herrick District Library and serves on the planning team for Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore.

If You Go: “Housing Resource Fair”
What:
Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore series, free admission
Who: Anyone with questions about housing resources
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 26
Where: Herrick District Library, 300 S. River, Holland

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.

ABOUT THIS SERIES  
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

The limited stock of quality housing in Holland in the face of growing population
has produced a shortage of affordable housing in the area.

Living Sustainably: Recycle and Receive at Holland BPW’s Holiday Light Exchange

By Morgan Kelley, Holland Board of Public Works
Did you know holiday string lights cannot be recycled in everyday recycling? They not only contain a large amount of rubber and plastic, and sometimes glass, but also copper. These materials do not biodegrade easily, and copper is a valuable metal.
But by participating in the Holiday Light Exchange, you can recycle those old lights and help to reduce landfill waste.

The Holland Board of Public Works annual Holiday Light Exchange is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22 in the HBPW Customer Service lobby.

Come exchange your old incandescent holiday string lights for new Energy Star-certified LED strings. Old strings will be properly recycled at Padnos.
Each new string contains 105 warm mini lights, and each HBPW electric customer is eligible for up to two LED strings, provided that two or more old strings are turned in.

These LED strings meet the strict energy efficiency requirements for the Energy Star certification program, set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, each customer will receive an Energy Star LED nightlight and floodlight or two lamp bulbs.
LED string lights use 70 percent less energy than incandescent strings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. LED strings do not have filaments like incandescent strings do, which can heat up and burn out. LED strings last much longer, are sturdier, emit little to no heat, and still have a bright, warm glow.
Not only do LED lights save energy and, therefore, money, but they are safer overall and better for the environment. The Department of Energy states that a strand of LED lights can last up to 40 years.
Also, it costs 27 cents to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LED lights compared to $10 for incandescent string lights. In addition, up to 25 strings can be connected without overloading a circuit due to their efficiency.
Holland Board of Public Works customers recycled more than 1,000 pounds of string lights in 2018!
Help us reach 1,000 pounds recycled this year. See you on Nov. 22.
 Morgan Kelley is conservation programs specialist at Holland Board of Public Works and leads the residential energy waste reduction programs.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Smart Energy: We need to use both conservation and efficiency measures to manage our resources to provide access to reliable and cost-effective energy.

ABOUT THIS SERIES  
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Living Sustainably: Right gifting grows relationships – with nature and people

By Evan Bright, Intern Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute
As the leaves fall, we know that the season of “gifting” will be upon us before we know it. Folks will flock to stores to check off gifts for family and friends, one by one. The holiday season can include an obligation of generosity, where if we expect something from someone, we better be sure to get that person something.
But this mentality seems to uproot the true meaning of a gift. In her book, “Braiding Sweetgrass” author Robin Wall Kimmerer describes an alternate style of gift giving. Kimmerer speaks of learning from wild strawberry plants what it means to gift the right way. She recalls running through fields in search of wild strawberries, hoping to find the sweet little gifts that the bushes provide.
Gifts cannot be earned nor deserved, according to Kimmerer. They can simply be received with gratitude and the understanding that the sentiment will be reciprocated when the time is right. “Gifts,” she explains, “exist in a realm of humility and mystery – as with random acts of kindness, we do not know their source.” 
Gifting, as she describes it, is about forming a relationship of “reciprocity.” Kimmerer recalls watching the strawberry plants send out runners, working to reproduce. She describes clearing out small patches of ground where these runners touched down, anticipating the new plant that would begin to grow. She appreciated the gift that the strawberry plants had given her, so she gave back when the opportunity arose.
This sort of reciprocal relationship will lead to a continual cycle of giving, and from that, mutual flourishing can ensue. 
This idea of reciprocity can be applied to almost any area of life. Instead of viewing an interaction with a coworker as simply a transaction, we can shift our mindset toward finding a full cycle of gifting.
We should not always expect something immediately in return, but we should notice the opportunities we have throughout every day to gift to those around us. 
With that in mind, reciprocity should be a foundational idea when it comes to environmental sustainability. We are gifted in infinitely many ways each day by water, vegetables, tulips, and sunshine.
Do we respond with chemical pollutants, wasting fresh water, and filling landfills with plastics? Or do we “gift” the environment with careful treatment and sustainable practices?
Where is the appreciation? We often act as though we deserve what nature gives us without ever considering how fortunate we are, or how to give back. The idea of reciprocity would demand our gratitude, with the expectation that we are forming a relationship of mutual gifting.
Likewise, our reciprocity with others in this holiday season can be more sustainable. We can shift the focus from simply going to the store and checking off a list. Instead, consider a gift that will build up a relationship. Doing something for someone, or with someone, is a wonderful way to show them that you value them.
A gift involving time and activity will much more likely lead to mutual flourishing than just buying that newest tech item and wrapping it nicely. Instead, give your time and energy to build a relationship when you are able. We can learn a lot from the hard-working, ever-giving plants.

People can be in a reciprocal giving relationship with nature, where we experience
things like joy and awe, as well as fresh air and clean water and in turn, can give back by not misusing it.

 Evan Bright is an intern with the Holland-Hope Sustainability Institute, a proud Holland-area native, and a Hope College math major graduating in December 2019.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community & Neighborhood: The places we live and the individuals we interact with support the development of our personalities and perspectives on life. Encouraging vital and effective communities is essential.

ABOUT THIS SERIES  
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

MACC November Green Commute Challenge

To participate in the November Commute Challenge, all you have to do is:

Log six trips by bus, electric vehicle, or by carpooling throughout the month of November. Both the trip to and the trip from a destination count towards your six trips. Remember, every kind of commute counts! This includes to and from work, school, the store, or anywhere else!

  • Each time you do so, track your mileage and log your trip on the MACC website! This helps us calculate total mileage and air quality benefits.

Log Your Trips Here!

Each person who logs six trips by the end of the month will be entered to win $50 West Coast Cash!
For more information, visit: http://www.the-macc.org/other-events/

Living Sustainably: Research studies how and why dunes move

By Jacob Stid
In Holland, we have access to a unique system of coastal dunes. Dunes are highly valued for their natural beauty and lakeside views.
Unfortunately for those who live on the coasts, dunes migrate and change over time and have even been known to bury human structures. Thus, until recently, studies of dune mobility were focused on preventing further dune motion in order to prevent damage to lakeside structures.
However, the dune’s original residents were diverse ecosystems, and recent research has shown that dune migration is essential for preserving this diversity. Understanding and predicting the complex nature of how coastal dune systems change over time is a focus of Hope College’s Geology Department. The ultimate goal is to find a balance between the stability and mobility in dunes.
Dune mobility depends on vegetation. In general, areas with abundant vegetation are stable (not migrating) while areas containing open sand with little-to-no vegetation can be active (migrating). Dune activity also depends on the orientation of a dune surface with respect to wind directions and its topographic position.
The goal of my research project was to use remote sensing data acquired by a drone to evaluate these factors and combine them to form stability maps in coastal dune systems. The maps will then be used to guide scientific studies on the causes and mechanisms of dune mobility, which will help guide future coastal dune management.
The Michigami Consulting Group of Holland was contracted to conduct a series of drone flights that recorded high resolution spectral data over the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. The various wavelengths of light and infrared radiation were combined to form images which were used to identify regions of bare sand which are potential areas of future dune mobility.
Using topographic information acquired on the dune flights, we noted the size, shape, elevation, orientation and position on the dune slopes of each of these patches of bare sand. Using this information, we made rough maps showing our predictions of which areas of the Natural Area are most likely to move in the coming years.
Our research is now focused on refining these predictions. Once these techniques are perfected, it should be possible to create maps showing variations in the potential for mobility within dune complexes in other locations. These maps could then be used to help manage those dune complexes.
For example, maps showing potential for mobility could help guide developers away from areas with high potential mobility. Rather than working to stabilize these areas, we could leave them free to migrate, thereby preserving coastal dune ecology.
So, the next time you’re out walking the dunes, take your own picture of your favorite spot. Then the next year, take another picture and see if you spot any differences. It would be a fun remote-sensing project, and you might be blown away by how much change occurs.

 Jacob Stid is a recent graduate of Hope College where he spent his senior year researching dune mobility. He is currently pursuing his masters in geological sciences at Michigan State University.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES  
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Living Sustainably: Family fun is set for ODC Treats and Trails

By Ashley Van Zee, ODC Network
Treats and Trails is a chance for families to enjoy a safe and fun walk along the trails of the Outdoor Discovery Center with games and candy treats as well as opportunities for up-close and personal wildlife encounters.
The evening offers:
 Plenty of activities to entertain children of all ages,
 A safe and fun trick-or-treating event – without the scares,
 A great and inexpensive way for the whole family to unplug and get outdoors!
 
Available activities will include seeing the live birds of prey, making delicious and toasty s’mores, and exploring the North American Wildlife Exhibit in the Visitors Center.
Children are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes. All of the nature trails are wheelchair, stroller and wagon-friendly, so don’t let wheels stop you from a night of family fun.
Macatawa Bank’s Snack Wagon will be at the event handing out goodies, and food from Beechwood Grill’s Mr. Big Slice pizza truck will be available for purchase.
No registration is necessary for Treats and Trails. Admission fee is $10 per family.
New this year will be a costume contest, with the best costume photo winning a family membership at the Outdoor Discovery Center. These are the rules for those who want to join in the costume contest:

 Costume must be homemade,
 Group costumes allowed,
 Must be appropriate for young audiences,
 Must attend Treats and Trails and include the large Green Frog statue in a photo,
 Must tag ODC on Facebook or Instagram and use #ODCcontest2019,
 Profile must be public enough for us to see your post.

Note that road closures will help traffic control and provide street parking during the event. 142nd Avenue will have one-way traffic eastbound and 56 th Street will be one-way northbound.
If you are interested in volunteering to help with Treats & Trails, please sign up online or email Ashley VanZee, ashley@outdoordiscovery.org 
Treat your family to a night of fall fun full of games, treats, wildlife, and the great outdoors. We look forward to seeing you there!
 Ashley Van Zee is a development manager at the ODC Network and has been co- planning Treats & Trails for five years as it has grown to become a perfect event for families with children of all ages. The ODC Network is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is focused on advancing outdoor education and conservation in West Michigan.

If You Go:
What: Treats and Trails
Where: Outdoor Discovery Center, 4214 56th St, Holland
When: 2 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26
Cost: $10 per family

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community & Neighborhood: The places we live and the individuals we interact with support the development of our personalities and perspectives on life. Encouraging vital and effective communities is essential.

ABOUT THIS SERIES  
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Please join us in our new “Fill it Forward” Cupanion Cup Initiative!

We are all aware of the issues surrounding the impact we have on our environment and its up to each of to help keep our planet clean for generations to come.  Hope College is committed to minimizing our impact on the planet and helping those in need; and we have a new and exciting initiative for you to help us accomplish that goal! 

We hope you have noticed the patterned cups popping up around campus. These new cups promote the elimination of single-use items and help  give water to those in need around the world. Learn more about the campaign behind the cup at cupanion.com/fill-it-forward/

When you purchase your cup, download the Fill it Forward app** for your smartphone and every time your cup is refilled, scan the barcode to track not only your carbon footprint, but that of Hope College as well.  You’ll see how collectively each individual action can lead to big change!

**Please be sure to register with you hope.edu email to be eligible for prizes throughout the year. 

  • Using this cup will help Hope College track:
    • Waste diverted from landfill
    • Electricity saved
    • CO2 Emissions saved
    • Land use saved

Refill your cup ( For regular coffee, fountain pop, or water ): 

at Phelps and Cook Dining Halls before you leave

at Kletz Market or Cup & Chaucer for $1

… or, any other time you use your cup!

Fill it forward:

use the Fill it Forward app

give water to those in need 

help Hope College live more sustainably

These new cups are available for purchase in the Hope College Bookstore or at the Kletz Market for only $5. When you purchase your cup, you will also receive a bonus sticker to place on your favorite water bottle to keep Filling it Forward!

If you have any questions about the project, please feel free to email me with campus usage related questions or Cupanion for any technical questions.

By simply scanning your cup/tag, you can track how big of an impact you are having and see exactly where your donation is going. Whether its plastic, waste, power, land or emissions saved, you can see how much of a reuse superstar you are.  Fill it Forward makes it easy to help you tread lightly on the Earth and give to those in need.

Hope College supports environmental stewardship as an institution grounded in the historic Christian faith. This faith calls us to care for all of God’s creation and ensure its preservation for generations to come. We seek to honor our calling to be stewards of creation care on campus and beyond by engaging constructively in teaching, research and community service to sustain a world gifted to us by God.

Thank you for joining Hope College in our new initiative to Fill it Forward!

Want to know more about campus sustainability?  Check out: hope.edu/sustainability

Follow us on our various social media:

Instagram:  HollandHopeSustainability

Facebook: HopeAdvocatesforSustainability

Twitter: HC_Green


Living Sustainably: Holland: Working towards healthy people, healthy planet, healthy community

By Ken Freestone, City of Holland

Holland has a world class 40-year Community Energy Plan with goals that have guided our efforts to reduce our per capita carbon dioxide emissions.
To date, we have made great progress in energy efficiency while maintaining cost effective, reliable and clean energy supplies. But we know that we still have much work to do as a community.
The urgency of addressing climate change has recently escalated according to the Global Environment Outlook-6 (GEO-6) published by The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change. Our Community Energy Plan and the GEO-6 have similar goals.
Our Community Energy Plan goals include strong economics through clean and reliable energy, energy efficiency for homes and businesses, and innovation and well-established strategies to meet our goals.
The GEO-6, with a focus on “Healthy People, Healthy Planet,” also clearly presents the challenges we face and lays out clear targets that include economic opportunities for new industries, creating both solutions and new jobs, and embracing innovation, technological solutions as well as global sustainability.
I believe that Holland has opportunity, with a bold Community Energy Plan, to demonstrate to the world our own best practices in sustainability and our strategic and intentional efforts towards “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” as well as a “healthy community.”
If we lead with technological innovations (inventing, manufacturing and selling solutions), make adjustments in our behavior (smarter or less consumption), and improvements in our business processes, then we will be heading towards strong economics, a healthier environment and healthier people.
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, a program called “New Developments in Smart Energy” will present what’s happening in Holland. At 6:30 p.m. at Herrick District Library, the next Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore program will tell how Holland is leading in many ways to increase our efficiency while reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, and how individuals and a community can make significant impacts.
At the program:
 Dave Koster, general manager of Holland Board of Public Works, will talk about the new initiatives underway to further reduce Holland’s per capita carbon footprint and what citizens can do to move us toward the energy goals our community has set.
 Robert DeNooyer, of DeNooyer Chevrolet, will offer an auto dealer’s perspective on the current and upcoming line up of General Motors electric vehicles.
 Kris Hunter, of Global Battery Solutions in Holland, will share information about emerging trends in battery technology and the exciting opportunities in the near future for battery storage.
Holland continues to deliver “world class” results that demonstrate our concern for healthy people, healthy planet and healthy community.
 Ken Freestone is Holland’s residential energy advisor, focusing on home energy retrofits for city residents, and is also co-founder of GreenMichigan.org, a nonprofit focused on sustainability.

If You Go:
“New Developments in Smart Energy”
Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore series, free admission
6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 22
Herrick District Library, 300 S. River, Holland

More Online:
Holland’s Community Energy Plan Executive Summary: https://tinyurl.com/yxguc4v8
Global Environmental Outlook-6 report: https://tinyurl.com/y5qjd3w3

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.

ABOUT THIS SERIES  
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Living Sustainably: Celebrate: Save money, cut carbon and breathe easier

By Anne Saliers, Holland Board of Public Works
With the sun having crossed the equator and daylight shortening, I find myself instinctively adding items I haven’t worn in months as I dress in the morning. Things like a sweater, sometimes a jacket, and socks. Flip-flops have migrated to the back of the closet.
Around the house, my windows are open less and lights are turned on earlier each evening. It’s a cozy feeling, actually, when it’s gradual like this, but I also know it means I’m using more energy. Soon, I’ll be turning the heat back on.
As community energy services manager at Holland Board of Public Works, it is my job to wake up each day and think about how to help everyone, residents and businesses, save energy. Why? Because our civic leaders are committed to a bold, progressive Community Energy Plan in which energy efficiency and conservation are productive and cost-effective ways for Holland to become a world-class city.
The Community Energy Plan mantra is, if you don’t need it, don’t use it. You save money, cut carbon, and breathe easier. You also keep money in the community that would otherwise be spent on fuel, all of which is imported from outside of Holland.
To promote these benefits, a national Energy Efficiency Day is now celebrated during the first week of October.
Holland Mayor Nancy DeBoer proclaimed Energy Efficiency Day for Holland at the City Council meeting on Oct. 2, stating, “Whereas, together, the residents and businesses of the City of Holland can continue to contribute to our success and quality of life by learning more about energy efficiency and practicing smarter energy use in our daily lives.”
Did you spot the big postcard in your mail recently that tips you to look for the blue Energy Star logo on LED light bulbs, appliances, and electronics you buy? I hope so, because the blue star indicates optimal energy efficiency and a likely rebate from your utility. You save twice – cash back and lower utility bills.
This week is also American Public Power Week. Celebrate with us by stopping by the BPW Service Center lobby on Friday, October 11, from 11-5 for doughnuts and a free LED lightbulb, and at Holland Energy Park from 4-6:30 for ice cream and popcorn, an LED lightbulb kit, exploring the Visitor Center, and climbing into BPW trucks.
We’re celebrating affordable, reliable, sustainable, community-owned power, and your wise use of it.
As you get cozy this fall, think about how you will benefit from being more energy efficient. Look for the blue Energy Star label on the electrical products you buy, cash in on rebates, and know you’re contributing to making Holland a great place to live.
 Anne Saliers is community energy services manager at Holland Board of Public Works and a Holland resident.

If You Go
American Public Power Week Celebration
What: Doughnuts and free LED lightbulbs
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11
Where: HBPW Service Center, 25 Hastings Ave., Holland
What: Refreshments, Visitor Center exploration, free LED lightbulb kit, Touch-a Truck and more
When: 4 to 6:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11
Where: Holland Energy Park, 1 Energy Park Way, Holland

Learn More Online
Energy Efficiency Day 2019 – www.energyefficiencyday.org
ENERGY STAR – www.energystar.gov
Rebates from HBPW – www.hollandbpw.com/en/energy-smart-program
American Public Power Week – www.publicpower.org/event/public-power-week

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Smart Energy: We need to use both conservation and efficiency measures to manage our resources to provide access to reliable and cost-effective energy.

ABOUT THIS SERIES  
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.