Underlying contributors to serious health and environmental challenges often don’t receive the attention they deserve. Two examples are toilets and cookstoves, which may not readily come to mind when contemplating global health issues. Yet these two household amenities, which many of us take for granted, facilitate the spread of disease, cause countless preventable and premature deaths, endanger the lives of women and children, pollute waterways, contribute to deforestation, and degrade the quality of life for billions of people. This fact sheet provides a summary about the development of better cook stoves and toilets for people in India and elsewhere.
Keywords: Cookstove, composting toilet, co-design, Dow Sustainability Fellows, University of Michigan, Dolatpura, India, BLUELab, Engineering, Setco Foundation
This fact sheet provides an overview of how the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve is leveraging approaches and lessons learned from the first “Bringing Wetlands to Market” project, which was developed by the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and supported by the Science Collaborative from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The project will boost support for restoration and conservation in several ways. It will connect Gulf Coast blue carbon end users with established blue carbon networks. It will provide long-term and sustained technical assistance opportunities and connections to carbon finance markets. And it will engage the public’s interest in blue carbon education through tours, videos or other media, and two “Bay Talks” lectures.
Keywords: Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, restoration, conservation, carbon finance markets
This paper highlights efforts to implement a pilot composting program at the University of Michigan. Evaluation results from the Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program (SCIP) will help determine if and in what ways composting efforts should be extended throughout the campus.
This paper presents findings from three years of data collection through the Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program (SCIP) at the University of Michigan (U-M). Authors highlight how behavioral research is used to address environmental issues at U-M and other organizations. The culture of sustainability reflects a set of attitudes, behaviors, and other factors among members of a community.
Green infrastructure (GI) systems are installed in strategic locations to capture stormwater runoff after a rain event. GI projects are placed in locations to slow stormwater flows to streams, reduce flooding or fast currents that erode stream banks, or filter pollutants from parking lots or roadways. This fact sheet highlights how GI projects such as rain gardens, permeable pavement, and tree filters are part of a stormwater runoff toolkit for local decision-makers.
With streams becoming one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet, we need restoration practitioners more than ever. Stream restoration often requires the collaboration of engineers, ecologists, and physical scientists. The science team makes decisions based on the weight of evidence of science and important social and environmental values guiding the restoration effort. Faculty members at the University of Michigan (U-M) have revised a stream restoration engineering course to bring together U-M students and faculty to study stream restoration in an interdisciplinary way. This fact sheet provides a summary about how a new course immerses students in this multidisciplinary, problem-driven profession.
Keywords: Stream Restoration, social and environmental values, engineering, Huron River, University of Michigan Water Center
This video describes how and why scientists use models and the benefits of using a multiple model approach for lake, ecosystem, and climate applications. A multiple model approach increases confidence in model results. Using this approach, scientists capture the range of potential outcomes while smoothing out extremes that might be present in any one model. U-M Water Center scientists used the multiple model approach to evaluate how the Maumee River watershed and Lake Erie water quality may be improved. In this case, scientists analyzed nutrient reduction scenarios for the Maumee River watershed and used results from multiple models to inform the development of new Lake Erie phosphorus targets under Annex 4 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Keywords: University of Michigan Water Center, multiple model approach, watershed model, ecosystem model, climate model, Lake Erie, nutrients, Great Lakes
The Graham Sustainability Institute is celebrating 10 years of engaging and supporting faculty and students from across the University of Michigan and integrating this talent with external stakeholders to foster collaborative sustainability solutions at all scales. The Institute recently launched a 10th Anniversary web page to mark the occasion. The Celebrating 10 Years slideshow is featured on this web page: www.graham.umich.edu/10
Keywords: University of Michigan Graham Institute, 10th Anniversary, Don Graham, Don Scavia, Martha Pollack, Lello Guluma, Kevin Boehnke, Jeremy Guest
This project team addressed two public health issues: sanitation and carbon dioxide, and received support from U-M Engineering through the BLUElab India Project and the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2.4 billion people lack access to sanitation facilities. Of these, 946 million defecate in the open. People use fields, roadsides, bushes, and water bodies as their toilet. Not only does this pollute the environment, but exposure to fecal matter has been linked to a dizzying array of illnesses. To address this complex issue, the team spent a year researching toilet technology, eventually settling on a composting toilet as the best design for this particular application.
Women and their families around the world inhale carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and lung-harming particulates from the simple act of cooking. The culprit? Traditional cookstoves, often situated atop open fires, and without ventilation or protection from toxic fumes. In 2012, WHO reported that exposure to cooking smoke generated from solid-fuel (e.g., wood, animal dung, or coal) burning stoves resulted in 4.3 million premature deaths–more than either malaria or tuberculosis. According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), it is the fourth-leading risk factor for disease in developing countries and has been linked to child pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and low birth weights.
Keywords: cookstoves, sanitation, India, women's health, cooking smoke, Dolatpura, HIV, Ebola, Gujarat
This summary provides an overview of a project to support Indian Farmers. For generations, agriculture has been the primary means of employment for over half of the population in Telangana, India. But climate change, the increasing frequency of drought, a lack of irrigation access, and volatile market prices for popular cash crops have left many rural farmers deep in debt. These changes, coupled with complex political issues, have led to high poverty and farmer suicide rates; more than 300,000 farmers have committed suicide since 1995, and over 60 percent of those farmers were from the semi-arid states of Maharashtra and Telangana.
The U-M project team, supported by a Dow Distinguished Award for Interdisciplinary Sustainability, proposes to establish big data frameworks appropriate for small farmers in Telangana to inform the best management practices and proper risk management for Indian farmers.
Keywords: Dow Global Impact Series, Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, University of Michigan, Telangana, India, Farmers, poverty, suicide