Living Sustainably: Traffic safety awareness needed by all

By Kerry Irons, Pedal Holland
As people look for socially-distanced recreation close to home, the growing numbers of families and individuals out for walks or bike rides makes this a good time to review bicyclist and pedestrian traffic awareness.
The safety of active transportation users depends on traffic awareness by all involved.
Bicycle and pedestrian safety advocates often say that you should assume that drivers do not see you and take appropriate defensive actions. Some bicyclists go so far as to say (only partly joking) that cyclists should assume that they have a flashing light on their helmet that says “10 points.” A paranoid bicyclist in an urban setting can be excused for assuming that cars “are out to get them,” but that concern can promote greatly improved safety behavior by the rider.
A common complaint from some motorists is that bicyclists should be on the sidewalk because of their “dangerous behavior.” Yet, a recent study shows that bicyclists contributed to the cause of car/bicycle injury accidents only 2 percent of time by disobeying a stop sign or traffic light. Wearing dark clothing at night is a potential collision cause in about 2.5 percent of cases, and failure to use lights at night was mentioned 2 percent of the time.

Some motorists are not looking for cyclists, and cyclists are expecting motorists to see them when in fact the drivers don’t. Distracted driving (phone use, among other activities) only makes this problem worse.
Unfortunately, these same issues exist for pedestrians.
Sidewalk users need to be aware of motorist behavior and not just assume that the cars will yield appropriately. It does the pedestrian no good to be legally in the right but hit by a car.
Curb cuts have been a great benefit for disabled sidewalk users, but they tempt sidewalk bicyclists to blow through street crossings and can create a hazard if the bicyclists are not traffic aware. Pedestrians should try to establish eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
All sidewalk users are considered pedestrians, even if they are riding a bike, in-line skating, using a power chair, or skate boarding. They must practice traffic awareness at intersections and crosswalks in anticipation that drivers are often not looking for them on the sidewalk. Simply entering the street because the pedestrian has the right of way can result in easily avoidable collisions.
Likewise, drivers being distracted by a phone or conversation can put pedestrians in danger.
Drivers need to scan the sidewalks on both sides of the street they are on and the street they are crossing to anticipate pedestrian behavior. A bicycle on the sidewalk can easily be traveling at 10 mph, so drivers need to “look ahead” and anticipate.
Just as pedestrians cannot assume that drivers see them, drivers cannot assume that pedestrians will behave correctly. And in both residential and business areas, where there are many parked cars on the sides of the street, drivers must assume that a pedestrian will sometimes decide to cross mid-block, emerging from between the cars. Drivers should look at the pedestrian’s face, which will often give clues about what they are going to do.
When road users and pedestrians make traffic awareness their first priority, everyone’s safety will improve dramatically.
  Kerry Irons is a retired chemical engineer who has lived in Holland for five years.  Irons is a lifelong cyclist who commuted to work by bike year-round for 30 years in central Michigan. He is a member of Pedal Holland, which advocates for bicycle safety in Holland.

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.

The safety of pedestrians and bicyclists depends on traffic safety awareness by everyone – active transportation users as well as motorists. Photo courtesy Jerry Foster
When road users and pedestrians make traffic awareness their first priority, everyone’s safety will improve dramatically. Photo courtesy Jerry Foster

Living Sustainably: Families are helping families with #StayHomeFightHunger

By Mike Goorhouse, The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area
I am inspired by all of the quarantined individuals seeking out opportunities to connect and support one another during this time of social distancing.
People are engaging in impromptu concerts on balconies, coordinating two minutes of applause for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, or sewing face masks to donate.
In the Holland/Zeeland area, there are plenty of ways to help from the safety of your own home. One of those is the #StayHomeFightHunger campaign.
This family-friendly project was started by Community Action House, and I loved the idea so much I jumped on board to help promote it. It’s a great opportunity for kids of all ages to learn about and practice philanthropy!
Following a set of packing and delivery instructions found under the “Volunteer at Home” section of www.careottawacounty.com, families pack boxes with high-need items like pasta noodles and sauce, cans of meat, canned vegetables and fruit, paper towels, and soap. They can then decorate the box and add a caring note from their family.

When the box is dropped off at Community Action House, their staff will add fresh fruit and veggies, dairy products, bread and meat. One box can feed two people for seven days.
The need is high. Community Action House is currently providing 100 boxes each day to those struggling with food security, which is four times the amount of food they were serving before the COVID-19 crisis. Thankfully, our community is stepping up in big ways. Shoreline Container donated 4,000 of the perfect-size boxes, and more than 250 family food boxes were packed and delivered in the first week!
As an additional incentive to encourage others to participate in #StayHomeFightHunger, my family and I pledged a financial contribution to Community Action House, and later added Hand2Hand Ministries, for each family who packs a box. We’ve been joined in this commitment by four additional generous companies: Holland Doctors of Audiology, Lakewood Construction, PeopleIT, and The Insurance Group – Stacy Segrist-Kamphuis.
All together, each box that is donated leverages another $45 donation! All we ask is that you use the tag #StayHomeFightHunger on social media with a photo or video showing your box being delivered, and we’ll each make a donation.
As we all prioritize staying home to help slow the spread of COVID-19, let’s not forget those individuals in our community struggling with housing, food, and basic needs. Now is the time to act and join the fight against hunger. We can make it through this if we do it together.
 Mike Goorhouse is president of The Community Foundation of the Holland Zeeland Area.

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.

Residents’ donations help their neighbors as Community Action House provides 100 boxes of food each day to people struggling with food security, four times the amount of food it was serving before the COVID-19 crisis.
Shoreline Container donated 4,000 boxes as part of the community support of the #StayHomeFightHunger campaign in Holland.
The Dolbow family, including children (left to right) Mary, Jackson, James and Eli, packed and decorated a food box as part of Holland’s #StayHomeFightHunger campaign.

Living Sustainably: CareOttawaCounty.com highlights hope, positivity

By Mike Goorhouse, The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area
Life can change so fast. Just two weeks ago, local school districts closed and people began to self-isolate amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Earlier this week, Gov. Whitmer issued the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order which suspended activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.
The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic are global. Communities everywhere are feeling the economic and social impacts and doing their best to navigate these turbulent times. There are plenty of reasons to feel anxious, but let’s try our best to embrace hope and positivity.
Examples of good can be found everywhere: Salons donating gloves and masks, teachers driving through neighborhoods and waving to students, Hope College donating PPE supplies to the hospital, and breweries and distilleries creating hand sanitizer to combat shortages.

Another example of hope can be found in our local nonprofit sector. COVID-19 presented a major hurdle, as human service agencies had to balance their missions with unexpected expenses and logistical headaches of social distancing and decreased volunteers.
These organizations are already well-versed in collaboration and innovation, and they stepped up in a big way! Each day, local leadership shares resources and ideas to keep people housed, fed, and healthy.
Recognizing the need for a rapid, efficient and effective response to the impact of COVID-19, The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Greater Ottawa County United Way, Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance, Community Spoke, and others formed a coalition.
We created a website: www.careottawacounty.com, that launched within 24 hours. The site provides a consolidated list of resources for those who need assistance or those looking for ways to help, such as making a financial gift or donating goods. In just 10 days, the website received over 15,000 unique visitors, and 250 people used the volunteer portal provided by Greater Ottawa County United Way.
Financial donations to the newly created Emergency Human Needs Funds, created with seed money from the Holland/Zeeland and Grand Haven area community foundations and United Way, have exceeded $400,000. These donations are then distributed in real-time to the human service agencies in our community that are struggling to keep people fed, housed, and healthy. So far, 18 local organizations have received grants to help bridge the increased demand for assistance.
We’re in this together, so visit and share the site: www.careottawacounty.com. Help everyone in our county learn about this resource – whether they need assistance or want to find a way to make a difference.
The need is great, and no gift of time or resources is too small. There are even opportunities to help from the safety of your home! Let’s join together in hope and positivity and keep our community strong.
 Mike Goorhouse is president of The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.

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.

Living the volunteerism that’s part of the Care Ottawa County Coalition, Zeeland teacher Missy Nellis packs boxes with groceries being given out in curbside pickup at Harvest Stand Ministries in Zeeland.
Local businesses have joined the response to the COVID-19 crisis, including New Holland Brewing and Coppercraft Distillery, using their facilities to make hand sanitizer.

Living Sustainably: Book project empowers, uplifts children

By Zahabia Ahmed-Usmani and Erin Davison, Diversity Rocks the Book
How do we empower and uplift children of all identities and backgrounds? How do we help children understand their peers’ experiences so they grow up empathetic to experiences outside of their own?
The City of Holland’s Human Relations Commission took up this charge through a program called Diversity Rocks the Book whose mission is to empower all children to see themselves and value others through books.
These “diverse books reflect the world as it is, not the way the world never was and the way the world never will be,” explains Ezra Hyland, of the University of Minnesota. The breadth of diversity our children can be exposed to through books is boundless as more and more stories are being published honoring many different identities and experiences.

Our community is changing and so is the world. The more we equip our children for this reality the better. The noted scholar S.I. Hayakawa pointed out that, “It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.”
To successfully share diverse books, parents, educators and care providers need to overcome the incorrect messages they have received their whole lives: That drawing attention to someone’s race, ability, or status is taboo; that we should just treat everyone the same; and that in 2020 we no longer have any biases or discrimination. These myths neglect to recognize each person’s unique experience, the advantages and oppressions that brings, as well as the beauty their lives bring into the worlds of others.
As mental health concerns rise in our youth populations, we can only grow from exposure to diverse stories. Stereotypes are rooted in limited information and a lack of exposure to counteract that limited information. Diverse books and talking about the very real diversity that surrounds us is a critical way to mitigate stereotypes and biases.
Diversity Rocks the Book does this by putting diverse books in the hands of our Holland school students and by providing educational opportunities for educators on how to share these books with students thanks to the partnership with Herrick District Library.
The program also offers guest readers to visit classrooms to share the books. Since Diversity Rocks the Book launched in 2018, the program has distributed more than 600 picture books and middle grade novels to Holland schools, sent 45 guest readers from the community to make 60 classroom visits, and reached more than 1,500 students.
As Diversity Rocks the Book looks to the future, it will focus on sustainability as well as sharing this model with other communities, creating inclusive communities for all. If you would like to find out more about Diversity Rocks the Book, please visit www.diversityrocksthebookholland.com
 Zahabia Ahmed-Usmani is program coordinator of Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University. Erin Davison is children’s librarian at Herrick District Library. They are members of the Diversity Rocks the Book Planning Team.

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.

Deb VanDuinen reads to 4th  and 5th  grade students at Black River Public School in the project aimed at growing children’s understanding of others.
Tim Marroquin reads to students at Gateway Preschool in the Diversity Rocks the Book project.
Patty Schoettley reads to 3 rd  grade students at Holland Heights in the project that uses books to help students better understand themselves and value others.

Living Sustainably: Holland can “carbon fast” faster

By Anne Saliers, Holland Board of Public Works
Many schools, churches, and community groups encourage people to use this time of year to look more closely at their consumption of energy and carbon. The term “carbon fast” has become popular as a way to highlight practices that conserve energy resources. Using less energy means your lifestyle emits less carbon into the atmosphere, hence, you are practicing a fast.
There are two key ways to carbon fast to reduce your carbon footprint – use equipment that is more energy efficient and change your energy consumption behaviors.
Examples of using more energy efficient equipment include changing your light bulbs to LED (light emitting diode) bulbs, buying Energy Star appliances, and driving an electric vehicle.

Examples of changing your behaviors to consume less energy include turning off the lights when you leave a room, playing outside instead of on your electronic game system, and learning to live with just one refrigerator.
Becoming a world-class energy efficient city is the goal of Holland’s long-range Community Energy Plan. Think of it as a carbon fast for the whole city.
In 2010, Holland’s carbon footprint was 24 metric tons per person. Before the Community Energy Plan was developed, we were on a path to reach 37 metric tons per person by 2050. Now, with the plan in place, if we implement it fully, we can absorb population and industry growth and still reduce our carbon footprint to 10 metric tons per person.
All users of energy from the Holland Board of Public Works benefited immensely from the building of the Holland Energy Park, with its combined-cycle natural gas technology instead of coal, plus BPW’s increased use of renewable energy. Also, much progress toward the goal has been made through your participation in Holland BPW’s and SEMCO’s energy waste reduction programs, and the completion of home energy retrofits.
Ten years into the 40-year plan, how are we doing? A recent calculation, based on calendar year 2018, shows Holland’s carbon footprint is 19 metric tons per person. To go from 24 metric tons to 19 is a big stride in eight years, and everyone should feel proud of how they have contributed. 2018 Calculation.

Residential buildings were 16.4 percent of the City of Holland’s emissions in 2018. Industry was 43.4 percent, commercial businesses were 27.5 percent, and transportation represented 11.7 percent. 2010, 2015, 2018 Numbers.

The residential sector made the biggest stride with a 31 percent decrease in electric carbon emissions since 2010.
Some feel the community is not making progress fast enough, that science shows we don’t have until 2050, and that we need to reach for a goal of less than 10 metric tons per person. In other words, that we should carbon fast faster.
A faster carbon fast will happen if every person and every business make the next reductions happen.
It’s the accumulation of small, incremental steps taken sooner, rather than later, that will get us there faster.
So, think about what you, your family, your business can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Invest in energy efficiency and make wise energy choices. And if you want carbon-free electricity from your utility company, for a small premium per kilowatt hour, elect to have all of your electricity come from renewable energy. To learn more, visit hollandbpw.com.
 Anne Saliers is community energy services manager at Holland Board of Public Works and a City of 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.

Construction of the Holland Energy Park, with its combined-cycle natural gas technology, helped make a significant reduction in Holland residents’ carbon footprints.

Living Sustainably: It all starts with a turn of a page

By Beth Peter, MD, Ready for School
If you’re reading this, you can read a book to a child. Look around you at the children in your life and consider your big hopes for them. Now consider this: Making reading a part of every child’s day is your way to start simple and build toward bigger hopes.
As a physician who provides care to many children in this community, I am increasingly grateful for the work of Ready for School, recently named the West Michigan affiliate of Reach Out and Read (ROR), a national program that incorporates books into pediatric care and encourages families to read aloud together.
At the beginning of every well-child visit from ages 6 months to 5 years, ROR medical providers give each child a new, developmentally-appropriate book to take home. Handing a book to an anxious child or parent helps place their future success in their hands. It remains among the highlights of my work day. Following kids through the years, knowing they have nine high quality books (more if they have siblings!) by the time they reach kindergarten, is a tangible way to move my hopes for each kid to reality.

I have big hopes for kids – my kids, your kids, your grandkids, the neighborhood kids and all the kids in this corner of America. I hope they will grow into productive humans who strengthen our community through service and innovation. I dream they will help us be more kind and just. Reading aloud with a child, for 15 minutes a day, can change that child’s trajectory in life.
Reading aloud exposes kids to a wider variety of words and helps build vocabulary in ways that usual conversation does not. The more we read to our children, the more neurons make connections which then help build curiosity and memory. Reading aloud helps children cope during times of stress and anxiety, crucial skills in navigating future unexpected life challenges.
Reading enlarges and enhances their world, taking children to places and times they never experienced. It builds empathy for different backgrounds and perspectives.
Finally, reading aloud with kids creates an experience that nurtures a positive association with books, caregivers, and reading. The experience becomes the foundation for kids who become lifelong readers.
Despite the incredible potential of this simple habit, the most recent study from Read Aloud.org shows only 30 percent of American families read regularly with their children.
Reading to kids can be a challenge. I understand. Wiggly kids don’t seem to pay much attention to books. Read with them anyway. Parents may never have had a love of reading modeled in their own childhood. Model it for them anyway. Families are overworked and overscheduled. Read with your kids anyway.
Look around you at the children in your life. Then take a deep breath and open a book with a kid. It all starts with a turn of a page.
 Dr. Beth Peter, MD, is a family medicine physician in Holland with Lakewood Family Medicine. She also serves on Ready for School’s Board of Directors.

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.

Dr. Beth Peter is among doctors who give books to encourage reading among young patients.
Reading aloud with a child for 15 minutes a day can change that child’s trajectory in life – enhancing learning, building curiosity and memory, and enlarging their world and future possibilities.
Doctors are providing children with new books to take home because they know the many ways that reading aloud to a child enhances brain and social development.

Living Sustainably: Investing in sustainable economics benefits people, profit and the planet

By Ken Freestone, Holland Residential Energy Advisor
In any conversation that I have about “sustainability,” I can bring attention to benefits for corporate systems, environmental stewardship, and social equity. It is like a dial on an appliance where all the subjects can be separate but yet all connected. We can turn the dial depending on the subject and the audience.
Although all three categories look separate as you turn the dial, you may see that they are all grounded in the same foundational principles.
All three of those sustainability efforts are important, but much of what drives long-term sustainability is having forward-thinking economic practices. It is critical to understand that without sustainable long-term economic investments and strategies, the other two areas are much harder to achieve.

Investment strategies have always included diverse assessments of conditions that have influence, and they include schemes that have positive as well as negative impacts on long-term outcomes. Today’s investment strategies are more diverse than ever, and influences swaying decisions are coming in ways that may not seem as obvious as past influences.
In our recent past, with an issue like apartheid, the demand for change from the public and from institutions motivated divestiture of investments related to apartheid. Pressures and outside influences played significant roles in ending apartheid and changed many investment policies.
Today, climate change and many global disasters are reasons some people are shifting to ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) investing or SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) in their long-term planning.
If anyone is still skeptical, a recent message from the world’s largest money manager and several other examples may influence thinking.
Larry Fink is CEO of BlackRock, an investment firm with more than $6.5 trillion in assets under management. He pointed out, “Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects. Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we’re on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”
Companies like Delta, Microsoft, and Klean Kanteen have committed to being carbon neutral, and Amazon has committed $10 billion to combat climate change.
In the public sector, universities, including the entire University of California system, have committed to divesting from fossil fuel.
Locally, Bill Stough, Holland’s Sustainable Research Group recycling consultant, points out, “A year and a half ago China put stringent contamination restrictions on any recycled material imported into their country. The City of Holland is identifying how to improve its recycling program’s efficiency and setting itself up to take advantage of recycling collection and processing innovations coming in the future, and supporting the capture of future economic returns available through recycling.”
Sustainable economics will be the topic at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, at Herrick District Library, at the next Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore event. Socially responsible investing, sustainable governance, and the impacts and opportunities of recycling on our future economies will be discussed. Speakers will include Bill Stough of the Sustainable Research Group, and Eric Emelander, of MKS Wealth Advisors of Raymond James.
As Michael Barbaro, host of the N.Y. Times Daily podcast, points out, “It’s interesting. In some ways, at this moment, corporations seem to be responding more lowercase ‘d’ democratically to the problem of climate than perhaps some governments. Because they’re actually responding to what their consumers want.”
If we are the consumers, and the demands we are making are being heard by some corporations, then we need to continue to speak out to influence future investments.

 Ken Freestone is the residential energy advisor for the City of Holland’s Home Energy Retrofit program and co-founder of GreenMichigan.org, a nonprofit dedicated to sharing resources to help people to implement sustainability best practices.

If You Go: Economic Sustainability
What: Living Sustainably along the Lakeshore forum
When: 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 10
Where: Herrick District Library, 300 S. River, Holland
Who: Public invited, free of charge

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.

Forward-thinking economic practices drives long-term sustainability that benefits business, people and the planet.

Living Sustainably: Film will explore science misinformation campaigns

By Jerilynn Tucker, Sustainability Film Series
What happens when the masters of spin, of the distortion and misrepresentation of information, go to work on public threats like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, or climate change?
Confusion and doubt.
And that’s the point, as explored in the film “Merchants of Doubt,” set to screen Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Grave’s Hall on Hope’s campus. Described as “a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin,” the film has been honored at major national and international film festivals.
It is part of the Free Film Series promoting a sustainable approach to our environment and offered through a collaboration of the Hope College Green Team, Hope Student Activities Committee, Macatawa Creation Care, Citizens Climate Lobby, and the League of Women Voters of the Holland Area.

  The series seeks to inform and encourage the public to get involved in helping move our local economy towards a sustainable future. The event begins at 6:30 with networking and collaboration among citizens interested in creation care, sustainability and clean energy. The film screening is at 7 p.m.
A panel discussion afterwards will include Hope College professors Dr. David Myers, Dr. Lauren Hearit, Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, and Dr. Greg Murray, bringing perspectives from their fields of psychology, communications, religion and biology.
The film reveals how, even as the U.S. led the world in research on public health issues, a loose-knit group of high-level, politically connected scientists campaigned to spread doubt and confusion. Even as some scientists uncovered truths about the dangers of DDT, tobacco, acid rain and global warming, these “merchants of doubt” spread disinformation to the American public over a period of four decades.
The movie is based on the widely read, highly praised book “Merchants of Doubt,” published in 2010 by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Oreskes has a Ph.D. in geology and the history of science and is professor of history and science studies at Harvard University. Her work came to public attention in 2004 with the publication of “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” in the magazine Science, in which she wrote that there was no significant disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of global warming from human causes.
Erik M. Conway has a Ph.D in history and is the historian at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
The final movie in the series for the 2019-20 year, on March 31, will be “WALL-E” a PIXAR and Disney film that topped Time’s list of the Best Movies of the Decade in 2008.  The movie, great for children and adults, follows a solitary trash compactor robot left to clean up garbage on a future, uninhabitable Earth.
 Jerilynn Tucker is a member of the Holland Area Chapter of the League of Women Voters, the Citizens Climate Lobby, and the film series planning committee. The retired school psychologist at Holland Public School has had a long-time interest in social and environmental justice.

If You Go: Sustainability Film Series
What: The film “Merchants of Doubt”
When: 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25
Where: Hope College Graves Hall, 263 College Ave., Holland
Cost: Free
Next Film: “WALL-E” on March 31

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 film “Merchants of Doubt” explores how a small, loosely knit group of politically connected scientists has spread public confusion about issues like climate change, with its violent weather extremes.

Living Sustainably: Reconsider the disposable culture for Lent

By Peter Boogaart, Macatawa Creation Care
There was a time when grown men rhapsodized over “that new car smell.” Ahh, the ambrosia of success!
The experience went unchallenged. Nobody asked where the smell came from, or why it went away.
Likely, it came from off-gassing of the plasticized interior components. Could this be a problem? Nobody asked.
Plastics have come a long way since the days of Bel Air Coupes. Toys, shopping bags, furniture, medical equipment, fabrics – you name it, plastics are everywhere. They took over without anybody really noticing. In the nine years since 2011, the industry cranked out 28 million tons of plastic. Is there a problem? This time people are asking.
Methane, extracted from deep underground reservoirs by a process known as hydraulic fracturing, is the raw material from which most plastics are created. Diversion of scarce water supply, wastewater disposal, and toxic chemical dispersion are some of the problems with this process. Leaked methane, which in turn accelerates global warming, is another. The raw material for plastics is itself the source of multiple environmental problems.
Durability is plastic’s virtue and bane. Plastic debris turns up everywhere, even in the deepest ocean trenches. Plastic clogs waterways and is ingested by marine life. Biologists tell us that plastic never breaks down, it just breaks up, eventually forming a stew of plastic micro-particles which, in turn, bond to toxins. When mistaken for food, these particles can be fatal to marine life. Recycling has not been the answer either. Only about 8 percent of plastics are actually recycled.
Sasha Adkins, in a recent Sojourners magazine article, points out that single-use plastics are both cause and metaphor for a deeper spiritual problem. We’ve drifted into a form of disposable culture. Jobs, clothing, relationships, pleasures – everything is single-use and disposable. Use it once and throw it away.
The oceans can’t go on this way. We can’t go on this way. We need to turn back to the wholeness and interrelationships which God built into the natural order.
This Lenten season may be a good time to ponder that turning back. Lent is traditionally the season when the faithful are asked to give something up – not as penance or self-flagellation, but as a way of clearing the mind and focusing on what God is calling you to be.

So, how about giving up plastic for Lent, or at least working at it? Michigan Interfaith Power & Light has created a “Plastic Fast for Lent calendar.” Each day takes you deeper into the discussion. The calendar can be found at https://www.miipl.org/lenten_fast.
 Macatawa Creation Care is a Holland-based association of persons across denominational lines who believe and act on their understanding of environmental care as a willful expression of faith. Peter Boogaart plays the role of group coordinator.

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.

Plastic’s durability is its virtue but also its bane – as seen where it collects in waterways locally and around the world.
Plastic trash amounts to a large share of the materials cleaned up along local waterways every year.

RecycleMania 2020 – Hope vs. Kalamazoo Game 3pm

The Hope College Advocates for Sustainability present
RecycleMania 2020

February 15 at 3pm
Hope vs. Kalamazoo

RecycleMania’s GameDay Basketball Competition compares schools based on recycling and waste minimization efforts made during a single home basketball game. Schools plan outreach and education activities, and report the corresponding weights for recycling, food organics and trash generated during the designated game.