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
This summary provides an overview of a project focusing on Slum Redevelopment in India.
Today, 65 million people in urban India live in extreme poverty. Most inhabit squalid and overcrowded urban areas, known as slums, without proper sanitary infrastructure or access to drinking water. To address this pressing need, India recently proposed an ambitious new program, Housing for All, designed to provide every person living in slums with access to adequate housing by 2022. The Dow Fellows student project team developed recommendations to ensure the successful implementation of the Housing for All program through the analysis of previous housing policies in India, and the study of city-wide housing schemes.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, University of Michigan, Slum Redevelopment, Housing for All, affordable housing, clean water, adequate sewage disposal, Mumbai
This project will support the development of new, innovative visitor displays at three national estuarine research reserves - the Guana Tolomato Matanzas, Mission-Aransas, and Delaware Reserves. The reserves will partner with students at the University of Delaware to produce gesture controlled, educational computer games that promote interactive, learning opportunities. The experiential games will be designed for use on interactive screens that will be available for public use in each reserve’s exhibit hall. This project will provide communities with relevant, accessible science while offering civic-minded solutions and resources that encourage participants to take conservation-based action promoting ecosystem resilience.
Keywords: Guana Tolomato Matanzas, Mission-Aransas, and Delaware Reserves, University of Delaware, students, learning opportunities
Sea-level rise and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change currently impact Maine’s coastline and are anticipated to increase in frequency and strength. Beach-based businesses, a powerful economic engine for Maine, are generally little prepared for storm surge and coastal flooding. Yet lessons learned from previous disasters underscore how important the recovery of businesses is to the overall recovery of a region’s economy.
This project will adapt and transfer the Tourism Resilience Index, previously developed for the Gulf of Mexico, to southern Maine. Coastal businesses in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk will be facilitated through a process to assess their ability to maintain operations during and after a disaster. Through this project, the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve will collaborate with business leaders, municipalities, and regional climate adaptation professionals to generate outcomes that decrease Maine’s beaches business community’s vulnerability to natural disasters.
Keywords: Maine, coastline, businesses, flooding, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve