Michigan Campus Earth Day 50.5 – Virtual Conference – October 22

Michigan Campus Earth Day 50.5 – Virtual Conference

Thursday, October 22 / 9 am to 5 pm  (come and go as your schedule allows)

The Michigan Campus Sustainability Collective (MiCSC), a program focused on influencing and educating future generations on sustainability and elevating and promoting the use of sustainability on Michigan campuses is proud to present MI Campus Earth Day 50.5.

https://wmsbf.org/mi-campus-earth-day-50-5/

Michigan Campus Earth Day 50.5 is a collaborative event to engage faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders in a series of virtual convenings. The event will educate and provide action items for campuses to create awareness and advance environmental and social justice, including the importance of voting, how to incorporate environmental justice in curriculum, and how to improve food justice on campus.

The event includes a civic engagement component, including a live voter registration.  The day is split into morning and afternoon sessions geared toward professionals and student audiences, respectively.

Join us for speakers from around Michigan and surrounding campuses as we improve higher education sustainability initiatives through education, including an increased awareness of the importance of public health, racial equity, and social justice.  We will facilitate connections between professionals and students with environmental justice experts.  While the momentous Earth Day 50.5 was overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts, the Earth Day 50.5 milestone provides an opportunity to develop a collaborative space for Michigan colleges to empower the future generation in sustainability work, while increasing voter registration on campus and educating individuals about environmental justice issues and candidate stances on the ballots.

See the full line-up and register at:  https://wmsbf.org/mi-campus-earth-day-50-5/
**This is a full day event, but you are free to come and go as your schedule allows. Recordings will also be made available to those that register.

Living Sustainably: VOTE411.org is a one-stop website for non-partisan voter information

By Claudia Berry, League of Women Voters – Holland Area
Are you looking for unbiased information on candidates and proposals as you begin to fill out your absentee ballot or plan your vote for the Nov. 3 election? The League of Women Voters has the perfect website for you: VOTE411.org is an online voters’ guide which displays candidate and ballot proposal information personalized to a voter’s address.
The League’s mission is to ensure the rights of all qualified voters and to encourage informed and active participation in government. It is a nonpartisan, trusted, grassroots organization that has been a source of information about candidates and ballot issues for more than 100 years. Since we are living in a digital age, the League has developed a national website where voter information is compiled and offered to voters in an easy to access, digital format.
The League of Women Voters Holland Area encourages every eligible voter with internet access (or the ability to use the computers at Herrick Library) to visit VOTE411.org for nonpartisan election information.
To get started, type VOTE411.org in the web browser. The home page has three main sections:
“Find What’s on Your Ballot,” “Register to Vote,” and “Check Your Voter Registration Status.” All these sections have links to the Michigan Secretary of State’s website. Click the box that says, “Find What’s on Your Ballot,” enter your address, and then click “Go to My Races.” The website will produce information on races for your location, with information in either English and Spanish.
Candidates participating in VOTE411.org answer questions covering topics relating to the economy, health care, and the environment. All candidates respond in their own words. In some cases, the answers are blank, which means the candidate has not responded to that question.
VOTE411.org allows voters to compare candidate responses on these relevant issues. Candidates’ information is provided for the following races: state and local municipal races, the Michigan Supreme Court, local courts, and university trustees.
There is also a checklist for first-time voters. The League of Women Voters of the Holland Area is working hard to make voter information accessible even under COVID-19 social distancing constraints.
Look for our VOTE411 yard signs on lawns in the area promoting the website address.
Vote411.org was launched in 2006 and its popularity has grown rapidly. During the 2018 midterm elections, more than 5.5 million people used the Voter411.org website.
If you choose to vote in person, Election Day is Nov. 3 and the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Go to Vote411.org to find your polling place.
Get the facts at Vote411.org and make your voice heard on election day by voting!
-Claudia Berry has been president of the League of Women Voters of the Holland Area since 2018.

The Vote411.org web site offers voters a range of impartial, non-partisan election resources.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Quality of Life: The community, through governmental, religious, business and social organizations, makes decisions that contribute to its own well-being.

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 League of Women Voters website, VOTE411.org, is an online voters’ guide which displays candidate and ballot proposal information personalized to a voter’s address.

Green Commute Week 2020

The annual Green Commute Week hosted by the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council is an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to try out a greener commute option (and be entered into a drawing for prizes).

We hope you’ll join our continuing efforts to create a more sustainable campus by participating in this year’s program. Be sure you register with your @hope.edu email address so we can track the collective participation. Tag us in your fun green commuting photos too! Contact: Michelle Gibbs if you have any questions gibbsm@hope.edu.

Instagram @HAS_hopecollege and @HollandHopeSustainability

Facebook HopeAdvocatesforSustainability
Twitter HC_Green

Green Commute Week 2020 will take place October 5-9. The event will look a little different this year, with the commute challenge focusing on active and socially distant forms of green transportation. This includes walking, biking, telecommuting, driving a fully electric vehicle, or any other form of green transportation that involves physical activity (rollerblading, long boarding, skateboarding, etc.). All types of trips are encouraged, whether they are to and from a destination like work or school, or simply recreational.

How It Works:

There will be five commute categories:

Walking
Biking
Telecommuting
Electric Vehicles
Other – Any other form of green transportation (rollerblading, long boarding, skateboarding, etc.)

Trip and Mileage Logging

Log each commute trip throughout the week, including miles and mode on the MACC website. Each trip should be entered individually.

Participation and Prizes

This year’s commute challenge is based on participation. At the end of the week, there will be a random drawing for $50 West Coast Cash within each commute mode category.

Each trip logged = one entry in the corresponding mode category. The more trips recorded and the more modes you choose, the higher your chances are of winning.

Example: If you log three trips by bike and four trips by skateboard, you will be entered three times into the bike category and four times into the “other” category.

The trip tracking form will close at noon on Saturday, October 10th, to allow Friday’s commutes to be logged. The winner in each category will be announced on Monday, October 12th.

Living Sustainably: Holland’s Energy-Saving Trees Program Adds 500 Plantings

By Anne Saliers, Holland Board of Public Works
Holland’s Energy-Saving Trees Program grew from 300 to 500 trees in this the second year of the program. A partnership of Holland Board of Public Works and the City of Holland, the program saw 500 trees planted recently by homeowners, bringing the two-year total to 800 trees.
Developed by the Arbor Day Foundation, the Energy-Saving Trees Program educates homeowners about the energy-saving benefits of strategic tree planting. Using an online mapping tool when reserving a tree, homeowners are able to see their property and utility lines, select one of four species, and position it in an optimal spot. The software calculates estimated annual energy savings.
Holland was the first site in the state to offer the program. The trees are free to any HBPW residential electric customer.
The City of Holland has a goal to increase its tree canopy from the current 24 percent to 36 percent.
Private property plantings have been, and will continue to be, vital in reaching this goal.
The benefits of increasing the tree canopy are many. In brochures created by Hope College student Katelyn DeWitt, an intern who has helped the city build a tree inventory, she provided homeowners information about the species they selected and detailed how trees:

– Reduce greenhouse gasses
– Make saving energy simple

– Clean the air
– Clean water and reduce the impacts of flooding
– Cool communities
– Make people happy.
Reducing greenhouse gasses is also the focus of Holland’s long-range Community Energy Plan. Trees help. A single large neighborhood tree removes over 100 pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year. In 10 years’ time, this is enough to offset the carbon produced by a single jet flight from coast to coast.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the 20-year projected values of the impact of the 800 trees planted includes:

– 800 households engaged
– 307,023 kilowatt-hours of electricity saved
– 4,629 pounds of air pollutants absorbed
– 1,894,132 pounds of carbon sequestered/avoided
– 3,375,408 gallons of storm water filtered.

Holland Board of Public Works and the City of Holland plan to offer the program again in 2021.
Watch for an announcement in the city’s newsletter or check HollandBPW.com in February.
Anne Saliers is the community energy services manager at Holland Board of Public Works and Holland resident.

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.

With distribution of 800 trees over the past two years, the Holland BPW Energy Saving Trees Program has made major impacts on energy saving, clean air and other positive results for the Holland community.
Through the Energy Saving Trees Program, Holland BPW customers received 500 trees to help reduce energy use and clean the air.

Living Sustainably: Green Commute Week – Let’s Work Together to Build a Healthier Community

By Mara Gericke, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
Green Commute Week is an annual event designed to promote awareness about green transportation options that benefit the environment, the budget, and both personal and community health.
If you regularly participate in Green Commute Week, you may have noticed that spring came and went this year without mention of the event, which is usually held in spring. Most things look a lot different these days, and this event is no exception.
For the health and safety of our participants, the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council made the decision to postpone the event until fall and modify the structure to focus on active and socially distant forms of green commuting including walking, biking, telecommuting, driving a fully electric vehicle, or any other type of green transportation that involves physical activity like rollerblading, skateboarding, or even kayaking.
Here’s how it will work: Green Commute Week will be Oct. 5-9. Unlike previous years, no registration is required, and all participants will participate as individuals. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t form your own teams within a workplace or other group and hold your own in-group challenges. We encourage it!

There will be five commute categories including walking, biking, telecommuting, driving a fully electric vehicle, and other (including any other form of active transportation). Participants will log each commute trip throughout the week on the MACC website at www.the-macc.org/green-commute-week.
This year’s commute challenge is based on participation:  Each trip logged equals one entry in the corresponding mode category. The more trips recorded and the more modes you choose, the higher your chances are of winning. At the end of the week, there will be a random drawing for $50 West Coast Cash within each commute mode category.
We hope you enjoy this opportunity to get outside, soak up the beautiful West Michigan fall weather, and contribute to the improvement of our health, our air, and our community!
 Mara Gericke is assistant planner at the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

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.

COVID-safe, socially distanced green commuting is the goal of this year’s Green Commute Week, coming up the week of Oct. 5.
Bicycling is just one of the green commute possibilities that can include walking, skateboarding, driving an electric vehicle or even telecommuting for the Green Commute Week beginning Oct. 5.

Living Sustainably: Put nature to work for more effective gardening

By Kelly Goward, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
The urban environment is dominated by buildings, pavement, lawns, and other non-natural elements.
We constantly struggle against nature to maintain our built environment, especially our lawns and gardens.
This can include the use of fertilizers and pesticides that, if used improperly, can cause environmental harm. Our built landscapes can also be very water intensive, which can lead to high demand on our public water utilities.
However, there are ways to work with nature to create an attractive, low maintenance landscape that will help protect the environment, conserve water and provide places for urban wildlife.
Gardening with nature starts with careful planning. Take an inventory of what you already have.
What are your soils like? Are they dry and sandy, or wet and clayey? How much sunlight does your yard get? Are there problem areas where plants struggle to grow? These are a few questions to get you started.

Next think about what your goals and objectives are for the property. A goal is what you want to achieve, such as, “I want to create a water efficient landscape.” Objectives are what you will do and when to meet your goals, such as, “Reduce my lawn and plant a butterfly garden next spring.” It helps to write down your goals and objectives, because from there, you can outline the steps necessary to bring your goals to reality.
There are some specific things you should think about when gardening with nature. They include selecting the right plants for your soil and sunlight conditions, minimizing pesticide and fertilizer use, and conserving water.
Using native plants can help with all of these as they are adapted to local conditions, do not require fertilizers or pesticides, and should not need to be watered once established.
Also, look for alternatives to fertilizer, like compost or compost tea. Not only does compost add nutrients, but it also supports healthy soil biology, which can help plants take up nutrients and fight off disease.
Water conservation can be achieved by first selecting the right plant species, but also by adding mulch to reduce evaporation from the soil. Also, consider installing a rain barrel to capture rain water for irrigation.
The Sept. 22 Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Virtual Event will explore some of these ideas and more. The event will discuss gardening practices that help manage stormwater on your property as well as tips for conserving water. We will also hear about some work the City of Holland is doing to manage community stormwater.
The online program, “Gardening with Nature,” will be Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Register at https://libcal.herrickdl.org/event/6876773.
Speakers will include Kelly Goward, environmental program manager at the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, and Emily Damaska, conservation program specialist at the Holland Board of Public Works.
Kelly Goward is the environmental program manager at the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council. She works with the local communities to improve, restore and protect Lake Macatawa and the surrounding landscape.

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.

Native milkweed, here in a garden by the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council office, grows naturally with little need for the gardener’s assistance.
Using the right plants, like these cardinal flowers and brown-eyed susan, can produce healthy gardens that minimize need for pesticide, fertilizer and water.
Using plants well-suited to the region, like black-eyed susan and purple coneflower, lets nature help the gardener.

Living Sustainably: Webinar to offer economists’ approach to environmental

By Regan Corum and Sarah Estelle, Hope College
Environmentalists and economists agree: Sustainability of natural resources is an important, timely issue. It’s worth our best efforts now to conserve and wisely utilize society’s scarce resources.
This Labor Day, Hope College’s Markets & Morality program is hosting a virtual event on stewardship, environmental health, and markets featuring economist Dr. P.J. Hill. Hill is a senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, and professor emeritus of Wheaton College.
His lecture “Stewardship for Everyone: An Economist’s Proposal for Environmental Health” will consider effective strategies for reaching our environmental goals. In the process, Hill will draw on three distinct but complementary perspectives – conservation, Christian thought, and economics.
Economics is, at its core, a science of resource allocation. The economist’s toolkit is designed to consider competing uses of society’s limited resources. Basic economic principles, therefore, readily apply to issues of environmental degradation in ways that account for the full cost of natural and environmental resources.
Hill is likely to discuss the relative strengths and weakness of private initiative, market mechanisms, and government regulation, both in theory and as born out in practice. Environmental economists have had notable success in facilitating resource conservation with practices and institutional structures that are “incentive compatible.”
Put simply, people have greater incentives to conserve what they have a stake in. These stakes should be protected by a rule of law characterized by broadly held and legally enforceable property rights.
Recent examples of the success of property rights can be found in emissions trading, riparian water rights, fishing and aquaculture, and megafauna conservation.
What is especially promising about the economic way of thinking as applied to the environment is that it only complements stewardship efforts motivated by otherwise sincerely held environmental concern. By focusing on and implementing effective strategies for resource conservation and environmental sustainability, economists provide a practical toolset of value to environmentalists of all stripes.
Community members from Holland and beyond are invited to the online event, cosponsored by Hope’s Department of Economics and Business, Hope College Green Team, and the Acton Institute. Hill’s lecture will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 7 and will be followed by time for audience questions.
For more information on this public lecture event as well as a link to register for free online access, visit the Hope College’s calendar at https://calendar.hope.edu/event/stewardship_for_everyone_with_dr_pj_hill or email
marketsandmorality@hope.edu
.

 Regan Corum is a junior business and economics major at Hope College where she is a member of Markets & Morality. She attended the selective PERC Student Summit in 2020. Sarah Estelle is the director of Markets & Morality and associate professor of economics at Hope College.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Economic Development: Businesses and the local consumers are driving engines that generate capital for growth and development. We want to be a location of choice for new business and industry.

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.

Dr. P.J. Hill, senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, talks about economics and environmentalism when on campus in this 2017 photo.
The Hope College Markets & Morality series presents a webinar on an economic approach to environmentalism.

Living Sustainably: Child’s words clarify career goal

By Mia Lindberg, Ready for School
They say sometimes you just need to talk to a 4-year-old to understand life. For me, this could not be more true. I chose my career path of public health over lunch with a 4-year-old.
My relationship with Ready for School began as a volunteer the summer before my senior year in high school. We worked each day addressing gaps in access to nutrition and early learning opportunities.
My specific contribution was working at a Meet Up and Eat Up site.
Traditionally, these federally funded Summer Food Service Programs give daily meals to children in areas of greatest need. In Holland, we decided to build upon this existing program. Ready for School led a community collaborative incorporating reading and educational activities to fuel children with both food and a love of literacy.
That’s the summer when I had that eye-opening conversation with a 4-year-old. Sitting on striped beach towels laid out in the grass, I joined a group of children taking turns reading to each other. With a grin on her face and nachos in her hand, one young girl turned to me and explained why this was the best part of her day. Between bites, she told me she loved coming since her mother could not feed her at home.
Even now, I feel the weight of that statement.
Growing up in Holland is a very different experience for each child depending on many circumstances far beyond his or her control. I have been blessed to receive adequate nutrition, healthcare, learning materials, and guidance on how to take advantage of the resources in our community.
However, this isn’t true for every child growing up in Ottawa County. I learned at Ready for School how, “Potential is evenly distributed across a population. Opportunity is not.”
Ready for School taught me that high-quality early education sets the course of a child’s life and benefits the community as a whole. This realization led me to pursue a degree in public health to gain the knowledge and skills needed to address similar situations.
Distinguishing kindergarten readiness as a public health necessity unifies multiple sectors to rally around families with young children. Working with the medical, educational, public health, and business communities, Ready for School provides scholarships, a summer kindergarten readiness boot camp, books and learning materials, professional development for early childhood educators, and more.
These combined efforts have increased the measure of school readiness from 49 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2019. Yet, 30 percent of our incoming kindergarteners are still in danger of not reaching their full potential.
Three years later, I am back with Ready for School as a summer intern preparing for my junior year at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. I am so grateful to live in a community where our youngest members are valued and supported.
Using my degree in public health, I will follow the lead of Ready for School and its mission to help create systems in which everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. I will be forever changed by my time serving nachos with a side of literacy.

 Mia Lindberg is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Community and Global Public Health. She grew up in Holland and has enjoyed giving back to her community this summer as a research intern at Ready for School.

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.

By volunteering and interning with Ready for School, Mia Lindberg discovered her career calling in public health. She has learned the positive impact of early childhood education on a child’s future. Mia helped as Ready for School led a community collaborative incorporating reading and educational activities to fuel children with both food and a love of literacy.

Living Sustainably: Value calculation improves for electric vehicles

By Barry Rutherford, Holland Board of Public Works
We all like to get value out of our hard-earned dollars. Whether we are buying groceries or data plans for our phones, or even determining whether to buy a daily or annual pass to a park, we are constantly calculating the best value.
Value calculations can change over time, and we are not always aware of the impact of those changes. When electric cars were introduced, the cost was high, the mobility was limited, and the convenience was limited. Now, however, those values have changed.
Let’s compare today’s electric car to a gas car powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE).
Cars and trucks powered by the ICE have been the workhorses of the transportation industry for a century. The ICE got us off the horse and buggy, and it serves our transportation needs well as we drive about.
The ICE, however, has a big drawback. Vehicles with the ICE are about 20 percent efficient, meaning that only 20 percent of the fuel actually goes to power the engine. The rest, or 80 percent, is burned up as heat. It does not help move your car down the road. What happens to that 80 percent? So much heat is made that cars need cooling systems (radiator) to remove the heat. Most us have seen a car on the side of the road with steam coming up from under the hood from a failed cooling system.
Until recently, there haven’t been any viable options to the ICE. Today’s electric vehicle’s (EV) motors are about 80 percent efficient, a huge improvement over an ICE. EV motors are more efficient because there are fewer moving parts with less friction giving off heat. This also means less maintenance because of fewer parts and no cooling system to break down.
In addition to the mechanical advantages, the price of electricity to fuel an EV is cheaper than gasoline to fuel an ICE. According to energy.gov, the average price of a gallon of gas in Michigan is $2.09 and the equivalent for electricity, the eGallon, is $1.47. It should be noted that electricity prices do not fluctuate like gas prices do, depending on global politics. When gas prices were over $4 per gallon, electricity prices barely moved.
Changing from an ICE-powered vehicle to EV supports the vision of the 40-year Holland Community Energy Plan, which envisions that 7 percent of our local transportation fleet will be EV by the year 2050.To encourage residents to adopt EVs, Holland Board of Public Works offers a $300 rebate for a home charger and a discounted rate for charging your EV at night and weekends.
In summary, the value of an EV over an ICE are: They are cheaper to fuel, they are cheaper to maintain, and they are more convenient to fuel (you can charge an EV at home). EV prices keep coming down and more models are becoming available every year.
Go to https://hollandbpw.com/en/electric-vehicles for more information about EV, rebates for EV chargers, and discounted rates for EV charging. Also, look for Holland BPW’s new Facebook group dedicated to all things EV.
 Barry Rutherford is Holland BPW’s energy efficiency engineer. He develops customer education and energy savings programs.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

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.

Better technology and more choices have improved the value of electric vehicles, such as this one operated by the Holland Board of Public Works.

Living Sustainably: Online Census count saves resources, benefits our community

By Esther Fifelski, City of Holland
The Constitution requires that every person residing in the United States and U.S. territories be counted every 10 years though a Census.
The data derived from the Census determines how billions of tax dollars are distributed to states, cities, and local organizations and individuals. Michigan also uses the data to distribute sales tax revenue to communities. More importantly, the population numbers determine the number of representatives our state has in Congress and is used to set congressional and state legislative districts.

Why participate? The Census impacts every person, every day.
Locally, Census numbers direct dollars toward roads, schools, healthcare, and many other areas.
Businesses use local demographic information to make the best decisions for their companies. The data help determine location, market size, and other demographic information to put them in the best spot to succeed. Developers use the data to determine housing and economic development needs. Employers use Census data to look at the local talent base.
Census figures even impact grants that fund everything from critical research to special initiatives serving the most vulnerable populations.
We take for granted the many services available in our community for residents, from the moment we rise in the morning to the moment we go to bed. Throughout our life, we benefit from Census data dollars. If you are interested in learning more about Census dollars, visit George Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy site that has an abundance of information.
Because it is used in so many ways, a complete Census count is important. As of Aug 3, the national participation rate was 63 percent. Michigan’s self-response rate was 68.8 percent, and Allegan and Ottawa county’s rates are 70.5 and 77.2 percent, respectively.
And the City of Holland’s participation rate was 74.6 percent – a higher level than the national and state counts; Holland is competitive! We understand the reality of what these dollars mean for our community.
In that competitive spirit, I challenge Holland city residents to have a 100 percent participation rate. Now more than ever, we need to be counted!
Census workers will start knocking on doors of those who have not responded in mid-August through Sept. 30. Remember, the Census will never ask for a Social Security number, bank or credit card numbers, or anything related to politics, and it will never collect money. While statistical data is shared, such as the number of people in a town, each individual’s response is confidential for 72 years.
Today, we have the luxury of speed, efficiency, and a more sustainable practice in doing the Census.
This year all residents in the United States and U.S. territories can submit their Census online or by phone. I encourage on-line participation, which creates less waste and reduces the impact on forests, energy use, climate change emissions, and air and other pollution.
To avoid knocks on your doors, save taxpayer dollars, and promote sustainable practices, complete the Census on-line at https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html.
 Esther Fifelski is human relations director for the City of Holland with responsibilities including the city Human Relations Commission, International Relations Commission, and youth services.

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.

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.

A high response rate online saves time as well as resources such as paper and fuel needed for in-person visits.
Residents can use a tablet, phone, home computer or library computer to respond to the Census in minutes.
Census takers will start going door-to-door this month to addresses that haven’t responded online. The Census will never ask for a Social Security number, bank or credit card numbers, or anything related to politics, and it will never collect money.