Living Sustainably: Water conservation is vital

Living Sustainably: Water conservation is vital

There are few places where it is possible to be more unaware of global water issues than in West Michigan. Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan in a region with ample rainfall and many inland lakes, we are water-rich in comparison to many parts of the world.

Our water abundance is amplified by living in a state surrounded by the Great Lakes, which not only provides us with a near limitless source of fresh water, but also creates the perception: Water is plentiful, so why conserve?

Millions around the world are not nearly so fortunate. Consider the Poor Water Map of the world in which countries are sized according to the proportion of people without reliable access to safe water. (See worldmapper.org for maps of this sort).

The U.S. is virtually non-existent on this map as are countries like Australia and many European countries. This makes sense when you think about it – from where you are as you read this, how far are you from a source of safe drinking water?

Compare the U.S. to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa or to India or Indonesia, where a large percentage of the people, sometimes upwards of 50 percent, lack access to safe drinking water. “Access” typically means within 1 kilometer (a 10 to 15-minute walk); for many, their water source is much further away.

Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that 884 million people lack even basic clean drinking water service – about one in nine people. Very few of these 884 million people live in the United States; perhaps none live in West Michigan.

Now consider the Water Use Map, which illustrates global water discrepancies from another perspective, showing countries sized according to their proportion of worldwide water use.

Again, compare the U.S. to Sub-Saharan Africa. Americans use about 575 liters per person per day (152 gallons) of water for drinking, basic hygiene, bathing, laundry, and general household use. Those living in many Sub-Saharan countries average around 50 liters per person per day (13.2 gallons); the “typical” American uses more than this each day just to flush the toilet.

The World Health Organization suggests that humans need a minimum 20 liters per person per day (5.3 gallons) for drinking and basic hygiene or a minimum of 50 liters per person per day (13.2 gallons) when including bathing and laundry. Many in the world live below these “water poverty” minimums, while we use more than 10 times this amount.

Water issues are basically local in nature. If I conserve water in Holland, I don’t create more water across the ocean. Nevertheless, our use of water here in West Michigan should be understood within a global context, something that does not come naturally in our region of water abundance.

How often are we motivated by the lack of water elsewhere to limit the length of a shower, think twice about watering the lawn, or minimize the amount of time the faucet runs?

There are good reasons to conserve our local waters that are unrelated to a global comparison. To act locally and globally to address water issues, Google “household water conservation” (local) and “clean water organizations” (global) for ideas.

– Dave Van Wylen is the Dean for Natural and Applied Science at Hope College and on the Advisory Board for the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute.

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.

August 2017 Sustainability News

August 2017 Sustainability News

August 31, 2017 – 7 Ways to Have a Great Green Labor Day Party

August 31, 2017 – 4 steps to safely recycle your household batteries

August 31, 2017 – SpartanNash expands Double Up program

August 31, 2017 – Here’s What Good Buildings Have in Common

August 31, 2017 – Local Favorites: This salad takes advantage of fresh veggies

August 31, 2017 – Holland area joins Harvey relief cause; learn where is best to give

August 30, 2017 – Something in the Water:  Turns out there are more than a handful of craft breweries owned by Hope College alumni.

August 30, 2017 – Into Africa:  Dr. Tim Laman ’83 is passionate about conservation and joined the Hope College Alumni Travel Program.

August 30, 2017 – Dumpster-Diving Your Way into Zero Waste to Landfill

August 30, 2017 – Considering a Green Roof to Boost Stormwater Management? New PACE Funding Can Help

August 30, 2017 – How much would Hurricane Harvey rain raise the Great Lakes?

August 30, 2017 – Comment period closing for Saugatuck Dunes marina development

August 30, 2017 – Michigan communities take slightly different approach to clean energy financing tool

August 30, 2017 – National environment group recognizes GVSU sustainability practices

August 29, 2017 – Hurricane Harvey a Trash, Logistics Disaster

August 29, 2017 – 7 Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency

August 29, 2017 – The ever-inconvenient Gore

August 28, 2017 – Living Sustainably: Gardening a different way helps students learn

August 28, 2017 – Could states lure new businesses with renewable energy? (Large companies are looking for locations that help them meet clean energy goals, says a Michigan utility.)

August 26, 2017 – Meet the nation’s most endangered monuments

August 25, 2017 – Hurricane Harvey Shakes Up Oil Prices

August 25, 2017 – Why are Bill Gates and Richard Branson investing in meat that costs $18,000 a pound?

August 25, 2017 – Michigan DNR reminds hunters to observe cervid importation regulations

August 25, 2017 – Artist takes part in groundbreaking exhibition

August 24, 2017 – By 2021, we’ll have lost more than 4,000 grocery stores

August 24, 2017- Women Who Care donates $19,500 to Escape Ministries

August 24, 2017 – Fennville Schools asking for $23M bond

August 24, 2017 – Downtown Holland parking ambassador starting next week

August 24, 2017 – Letter: Clear and present danger

August 24, 2017 – Interior Secretary Zinke won’t eliminate any national monuments

August 24, 2017 – Indianapolis LED Streetlight Upgrade Will Save More Than $800K Per Year

August 24, 2017 – As In-house Sustainable Sourcing Schemes Soar, Will Fairtrade Fade?

August 23, 2017 – Letter: Clean water crucial to making America great again

August 23, 2017 – ‘Not one drop’ of Poland Spring bottled water is from a spring, lawsuit claims

August 23, 2017 – Midwest researchers aim to make home energy management systems even smarter

August 23, 2017 – Organic produce becomes mainstream

August 23, 2017 – How much sugar in that cola? Panera to list it on its cups

August 22, 2017 – A coal country dispute over an alleged Trump promise unmet

August 23, 2017- As US Exports More Natural Gas, Manufacturers Worry About Increased Prices

August 22, 2017 – Sierra Magazine Cool Schools 2017 – Hope College listed as 156/227 schools  Full List.    Princeton Review:  Green College 2018 Honor Roll

August 21, 2017 – Living Sustainably: Award-winning series celebrates local sustainability

August 22, 2017 – Green Roof Retrofits Relieve Stormwater Systems (and Look Lovely)

August 20, 2017 – Meet Destination Education’s new college advisers

August 19, 2017 – How a middle-aged Midwestern nobody made his mark in the Arctic

August 18, 2017 – Asian carp caught near Lake Michigan got past electric barriers

August 18, 2017 – GHI projects receive Governor’s Energy Excellence Award nomination

August 18, 2017 – Holland votes to file lawsuit against company involved in Holland Energy Park project

August 18, 2017 – THE MEETING OF THE FUTURE IS GREEN AND LOOKS LIKE THIS

August 17, 2017 – Michigan Legislature Expands Program Serving Locally-Grown Food in Schools

August 17, 2017 – It’s Time to Tie Executive Compensation to Sustainability

August 17, 2017 – Cream Cheese Plant Uses ‘Unsustainable & Disruptive’ Amounts of Water

August 16, 2017 – MESSAGE TO THE HOPE COMMUNITY by Rev. Dennis Voskuil

August 16, 2017 – Method Cleaning Products To Display How2Recycle Labels

August 15, 2017 – SMELLS OF THE CITY

August 15, 2017 – Living Sustainably: Creative recycling can help Michigan catch up

August 15, 2017 – Annual Michigan Economic Developers Association meeting held in Holland

August 15, 2017 – 5 simple ways to stay connected as a family on a budget

August 15, 2017 – Hudsonville receives tree-planting grant

August 15, 2017 – West Olive’s Ottawa School turns 150

August 15, 2017 – Holland police surprise special needs student

August 15, 2017 – Eclipse viewers need special glasses, astronomers say

August 15, 2017 – Infant mortality rate rises 35% in Holland

August 15, 2017 – EXHIBITION “OUT OF NATURE” TO OPEN ON AUG. 24

August 14, 2017 – Living Sustainably: Creative recycling can help Michigan catch up

August 14, 2017 – Developer wants industrial district in Holland for future tax abatement

August 14, 2017 – UNIQUE REUNION CELEBRATES HOPE PROFESSOR AND THE SCIENCES

August 11, 2017 – Poll: Most say time to stop trying to repeal ‘Obamacare’

August 10, 2017 – Building Healthy Communities encourages Michigan schools to apply for wellness program

August 10, 2017 – Hope College’s Bultman Center provides dedicated student space

August 10, 2017 – Latino Republicans see political peril in Trump immigration plan

August 10, 2017 – Holland reacts to the election of Raul Garcia

August 10, 2017 – Millennials are driving a $9 trillion change in investing

August 10, 2017 – Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance Announces New Executive Director

August 9, 2017 – FORMER TRUSTEE CHAIR MAX DE PREE DIES

August 9, 2017 – NSF GRANT SUPPORTS HOPE COLLEGE DEVELOPMENT OF BIO-INSPIRED APPROACH TO REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF EARTHQUAKES

August 8, 2017 – 6 Essential Truths That Will Help the World Urbanize Sustainably

August 7, 2017 –Living Sustainably: 5 ways to put green into back to school

August 7, 2017 – STUDENTS HONORED DURING NATIONAL MATHEMATICS CONFERENCE FOR PRESENTATIONS ON BIRD SONG RESEARCH

August 7, 2017 – Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S.

August 7, 2017 – Secretary Perdue Announces $16.8 Million to Encourage SNAP Participants to Purchase Healthy Foods

August 7, 2017 – Wrangler to Cotton Farmers: Improve Sustainability, Boosts Profits, We’ll Help

August 7, 2017 – Former VW Exec Pleads Guilty to Helping Car Maker Cheat Emissions Standards in the US

August 7, 2017 – DuPont Continues to Settle Environmental Lawsuits, Adds Another $50M

August 7, 2017 – World’s Largest Companies Push Record Growth in Renewable Energy

August 7, 2017 – Commercial Building Retrofits Follow Ultra-Low Energy Trend

August 6, 2017 – HITLER’S AMERICAN MODEL–AND WHAT THAT MEANS FOR RACE IN THE U.S. TODAY

August 5, 2017 – Students get prekindergarten help with Start School Ready

August 4, 2017 – Camp Sunshine creates fun space for developmentally disabled

August 4, 2017 – Spring & Summer Sustainability Slants: Supply Chain, Packaging & Apparel

August 4, 2017 – The hidden environmental costs of dog and cat food

August 4, 2017 – Class to offer mountain biking basics

August 4, 2017 – How Much Motor City Water Does Coke Use, and What Does It Cost ‘Em?

August 4, 2017 – PepsiCo Faces Activist Outrage, Plus Threats of More to Come

August 4, 2017 – Report Points Finger at US Timber Distributors for Illegal Deforestation in PNG

August 3, 2017 – Third Annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards Honor Michiganders for Innovative Energy Solutions (Finalists include public, private efforts to reduce energy waste)  Holland has been involved in three of the finalist projects.  Information about the program can be found at http://mienergyexcellence.org/

August 3, 2017 – Holland state park, DNR host stop invasives week

August 3, 2017 – The Mediterranean diet works – but not if you’re poor, a study finds

August 3, 2017 – NSF GRANT SUPPORTS EXPANSION OF ONLINE RESOURCE FOR TEACHING INORGANIC CHEMISTRY

August 3, 2017 – Walmart: Chemical Footprint Reporting Is Key to Creating Sustainable Stuff

August 2, 2017 – Hope College earns STARS Silver rating

August 2, 2017 – Sustainability in school isn’t as hard as you think (Going green in your dorm isn’t as hard as you think)

August 2, 2017 – Must-have elements for building a sustainable new home

August 2, 2017 – UPDATE: Civic Center work halted during investigation of fatal accident

August 2, 2017 – Hitting the Goals of the Paris Agreement Requires Urgent Business Support

August 1, 2017 – 5 tips for taking the stress out of ‘back to after school’

August 1, 2017 – Michigan DNR to accept pre-proposals for aquatic habitat grants

August 1, 2017 – How Alternative Energy Affects Electricity Pricing

Living Sustainably: Gardening a Different Way Helps Students Learn

LIVING SUSTAINABLY: Gardening a Different Way Helps Students Learn

By Julie Clark, Hope College Upward Bound
Ninth-grade students from Hope College’s TRIO Upward Bound program did some hands-on learning this summer as they took care of a garden that was growing in an unusual place.


As a part of the program’s launch into project based learning, the students grew vegetables in two kiddie pools filled with dirt on Hope’s campus. Urban farming was the learning focus this summer for the ninth graders.
Students grew lettuce, regular and cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. They researched the basic care of each vegetable and learned which plants were weeds that needed to be pulled.
When a problem arose with the cucumber plant, they did further research to figure out what was wrong and how to treat it. As the cucumbers needed more space to grow, students were given stakes and twine, which they used to create their own trellises for the cucumber plants to climb.
As the cherry tomatoes grew, some of the teens enjoyed picking and eating them straight from the vine. Even a teacher grew to love cherry tomatoes through this experience. Some of the students had never grown vegetables before, so it was a new and interesting experience for them. One student commented on how much they enjoyed watching everything grow. Another said that they enjoyed the
garden even though they don’t like to eat a lot of vegetables.

At the end of the summer session, the students enjoyed the fruits of their labor as they were able to eat a salad using the vegetables that came from their garden. Through this experience, students learned that you can be creative when growing your own food and use just about anything that will hold soil.
This kind of project based learning was made possible through the college’s TRIO Upward Bound program. The federally funded college readiness program helps high school students learn the skills needed to succeed in high school and helps prepare them for college and college life.
During the academic year, students receive tutoring from Hope College students twice a week on campus. They also participate in Friday sessions once a month, participate in SAT prep workshops, and older students receive help applying for college.
During the summer session, students take six weeks of classes, explore possible careers and visit college campuses.
High school students from Holland, West Ottawa, and Fennville school districts can participate in the program at Hope. Students must apply and meet certain criteria. Go to:  https://hope.edu/offices/upward-bound/ for more information.

 Julie Clark is a teacher at Hope College’s Upward Bound program.  This was her sixth summer with the program. Having always had a garden growing up, she enjoyed sharing her gardening knowledge with the students.

PHOTO CUTLINE–
Gardening2.jpg or gardening1.jpg Students in Hope College’s Upward Bound summer program learned how easy urban gardening can be, using kiddie swimming pools.

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.

A Brighter Tomorrow: Hope College Students’ Actions and Attitudes About Sustainability

Research Project – A Brighter Tomorrow: Hope College Students’ Actions and Attitudes About Sustainability
By: Cindy Alexander and Dr. Stephen C. Scogin
Historically, colleges struggle reducing energy consumption, due in part to a lack of student fiscal accountability. Nonetheless, Hope College is committed to building a sustainable institution, and thus seeks to reduce energy consumption and promote green actions such as recycling. This mixed methods study sampled 685 students living on campus during the 2016-2017 school year. Students in three different residential locations (dorms, cottages, apartments) answered 24 Likert and open response questions about their attitudes and actions regarding energy and recycling activities and their opinions about sustainability practices. A one-way ANOVA was used to compare students’ responses regarding sustainability practices based on residential location.
Inductive qualitative analysis was used to identify the most common suggestions of how to encourage sustainability practices on campus. Results indicate: (1) The most common suggestions were to increase education through posters and flyers, increase the number and convenience of recycling receptacles, and encourage competitions to reduce consumption, (2) Students in cottages acted more sustainably, while students in dorms tended to act least sustainably, and (3) Student attitudes did not always match actions.
From these results, we conclude that further steps to achieve a more sustainable campus should aim to increase education, particularly targeting students in dorms as they are in the greatest need of an intervention and also represent the largest proportion of on campus students. In addition, providing more recycling cans in convenient locations would likely improve recycling participation. Finally, organizing competitions between on campus residents would encourage energy reducing habitats, educate students’ on their usage, and promote cognitive dissonance in students who are not acting in accordance with their attitudes about sustainable practices.

GIVING WATER FOR LIFE

GIVING WATER FOR LIFE
Water is life. Our liquid reliance is embedded in 70% of our world’s geography and makes up 60% of our bodies, after all. Yet, nearly one billion people do not have access to safe water.

Boiled down: One in eight people worldwide cannot find clean, drinking water. 

And that’s exactly why the Hope College Engineers Without Borders (EWB-Hope) chapter traveled to Kenya in May 2017. Only 57% of Kenya’s population has sustainable access to clean water sources, according to the World Health Organization. By comparison, the United States measures 99%.

Read the full post at Stories of Hope.

Hope College Faculty and Student Research Project: Continent-wide analysis of how urbanization affects bird-window collision mortality in North America

Hope College Faculty and Student Research Project:  Continent-wide analysis of how urbanization affects bird-window collision mortality in North America

In the fall of 2014, Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray and five Hope research students participated in an EREN (http://erenweb.org/) collaborative research network project studying the effects of building size and urbanization on bird window collisions.  The Hope College research students that gathered data for the Hope College site were Michael Barrows (’15), Nicholas Gibson (’17), Emily Kindervater (’15), Courtney Lohman (’16), and Alexandria Vandervest (’15).

The bird-window collision project was replicated at 40 college/university sites across North America and the results of this continent-wide study were recently published in the on-line journal Biological Conservation.

ABSTRACT-

Characteristics of buildings and land cover surrounding buildings influence the number of bird-window collisions, yet little is known about whether bird-window collisions are associated with urbanization at large spatial scales. We initiated a continent-wide study in North America to assess how bird-window collision mortality is influenced by building characteristics, landscaping around buildings, and regional urbanization. In autumn 2014, researchers at 40 sites (N = 281 buildings) used standardized protocols to document collision mortality of birds, evaluate building characteristics, and measure local land cover and regional urbanization. Overall, 324 bird carcasses were observed (range = 0–34 per site) representing 71 species. Consistent with previous studies, we found that building size had a strong positive effect on bird-window collision mortality, but the strength of the effect on mortality depended on regional urbanization. The positive relationship between collision mortality and building size was greatest at large buildings in regions of low urbanization, locally extensive lawns, and low-density structures. Collision mortality was consistently low for small buildings, regardless of large-scale urbanization. The mechanisms shaping broad-scale variation in collision mortality during seasonal migration may be related to habitat selection at a hierarchy of scales and behavioral divergence between urban and rural bird populations. These results suggest that collision prevention measures should be prioritized at large buildings in regions of low urbanization throughout North America. 

A link to the full paper can be found here 

Not surprisingly, bigger buildings are more deadly for birds, but the real beauty of this study is in elucidating a larger-scale pattern that only emerged by comparing many sites – that large buildings are especially bad if they sit in a less developed landscape that is more attractive to birds (i.e. one that has lots of greenspace and low structural density).  This insight allows for prioritization of collision prevention measures at buildings where impacts can be predicted to be greatest.

It is important to recognize not only that a project of this scale is only possible through a large-scale collaborative network of institutions, but that on-campus collaboration at the local level was equally important in the successful completion of the study here at Hope.  Thank you to the many people on our campus that allowed for us to participate and accomplishing this project!

Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray
Professor of Biology – Hope College
Holland, MI 49423
email:  winnetmurray@hope.edu