By Michelle Gibbs, Office of Sustainability
Glocal water. What in the world is that?
The term glocal refers to considering a particular topic from both a global and local perspective.
And, in our area, water certainly is a topic we should approach that way, thinking about how our choices are impacting our local water as well as global water.
For many Michiganders, part of our identity and culture comes from our connection to water. We live in a state that has the unique characteristic of touching most of the Great Lakes, which combined hold one-fifth of the world’s surface fresh water. Michiganders also tout that we have more than 3,000 miles
of shoreline, and we are never more than six miles away from a lake. So, it really isn’t a surprise that we hold this amazing natural resource close to our hearts. Water is this beautiful resource that is constantly moving and changing forms as it travels through the water cycle.
Yet, while we are surrounded by water, we don’t realize that this precious resource is in danger.
At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Herrick District Library, the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore planning team will kick off another year of fun, free, educational, and interactive events. This series aims to educate and empower residents in the greater Holland area to live more sustainably.
September’s event will have door prizes and offer material understandable for all ages, so we highly encourage youth to attend and learn ways they can get involved.
The topic that evening will be Glocal Water. The event will kick off with a presentation by Dr. David Van Wylen, the dean of natural and applied sciences at Hope College. Van Wylen will discuss the challenge of global water scarcity and some of the issues that arise as we deal with this challenge.
“Living next to Lake Michigan in a state with an abundance of inland rivers/lakes and sufficient precipitation, it is easy to be ignorant of the daily challenges faced by many in the world as they seek safe, accessible, and affordable water sources,” Van Wylen said.
The next presenter will be Paul Sachs, director of the Department of Planning and Performance Improvement at Ottawa County, speaking about the county’s challenges with groundwater depletion in the deep bedrock Marshall Sandstone formation.
His presentation will be interactive and will include a physical groundwater model showing how our unique geology is affecting local water recharge. Sachs’ presentation is based on recent research conducted by Michigan State University.
Our final speaker will be local author and Great Lakes advocate Mary McKSchmidt, who will lead us through the call to action about what we can all do. McKSchmidt’s presentation will be interactive and kid-friendly as she helps us understand that it is not okay that the health of Lake Michigan is at risk, nor that the number and magnitude of the issues are increasing.
“There are things we can do, as individuals, to make a difference. But if we want to drive needed changes faster, more efficiently, we need to link arms and form teams,” McKSchmidt said.
She will share the example of the impact of 42 fourth graders from Quincy Elementary School, and we’ll explore how more organizations in Holland can get involved in tackling everyday issues that threaten access to and the quality of our water.
Michelle Gibbs is the director for the Office of Sustainability at Hope College and is also the director for the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a collaboration of Hope College, the City of Holland, and Holland Board of Public Works.
What: Glocal Water, a Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore event
When: 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17
Where: Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme:
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability- institute for more information.