Urban, poverty-stricken, and disinvested communities are struggling to reliably and affordably secure the energy services they need. At the same time, the moral and economic case for distributed renewable energy technologies promises transformative change for how electricity is created and consumed. Soulardarity, a grassroots community organization centered in Highland Park, Michigan, is working to make this vision of energy democracy a reality. The Dow Sustainability Fellowship team partnered with Soulardarity to assess the feasibility of installing a community-owned and operated solar project in Highland Park.
Keywords: Solar energy, community, community power purchase agreement, solar co-op
Our Dow Sustainability Fellowship Program team (the Dow team) partnered with the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) to investigate drinking water quality and affordability issues at the community level to better inform statewide efforts to empower citizens and address water access concerns. The locality of focus, Benton Harbor, Michigan, shares similarities to Flint, Michigan – a city thrust into the spotlight when lead contamination was discovered in its drinking water. Benton Harbor, like Flint, has experienced an economic depression, a strained city governance, and aging infrastructure.
Keywords: water, infrastructure, Michigan Environmental Council, City Planning
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System has a proven record of successfully transferring and translating reserve science to a broad suite of educators through teacher workshops. In recent years, teachers expressed a need for curricula, data sets, and professional development related to climate change.
This project enabled Northeast reserves to develop and over a series of free, high-quality Teachers on the Estuary workshops for sixth through twelth grade teachers focused on climate change impacts on coastal habitats, using Sentinel Site and System-Wide Monitoring Program data collected at the reserves.
University of Michigan campus efforts to eliminate solid waste include composting food. The Zero Waste Program involves the entire campus community and is led by both U-M students and staff. This infographic was produced in partnership with the Office of Campus Sustainability and the Student Sustainability Initiative.
Keywords: food waste, composting, U-M Waste reduction sustainability goal
The University of Michigan (U-M) Graham Institute Undergraduate Sustainability Scholars Program provides unique opportunities to expand and explore your interests in sustainability while engaging in leadership training. In addition to taking a nine-credit sequence of courses and participating in co-curricular activities, students can receive up to $3,500 to pursue a field-based sustainability experience. This fact sheet provides an overview of the program requirements and application process. Learn more about the U-M Undergraduate Sustainability Scholars Program.
Keywords: Sustainability scholars, interdisciplinary, sustainability leadership, field-based experiences, co-curricular activities
Undergraduate Sustainability Scholars Program Fact Sheet:
Fellow Mary Jones and Lanfei Liu from the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability share the team’s idea for a communication tool for the government and residents of Washtenaw County, MI to provide affordable housing recommendations for all income brackets.
The project team includes other fellows from U-M School of Public Health, School for Environment and Sustainability, U-M School of Information, U-M School of Social Work and U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, fellowships, housing
Fellow Kenneth J. Fennell Jr. from the U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy shares the team’s idea to increase accessibility to shared use mobile technologies for high risk, low-income communities in Detroit, MI by enacting Caravan, a social platform tool allowing users to find and access transportation.
The project team includes other fellows from Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, U-M School for Environment and Sustainability and U-M School of Social Work.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, fellowships, Detroit, transportation
Fellow Harry Wolberg from the U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy shares the team’s idea for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and organic waste at U-M through a biodigester, a facility that captures the methane gas from decomposing waste to be used to generate renewable energy.
The project team includes other fellows from the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, U-M Law School and U-M Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, fellowships, waste reduction.
Southern California lagoons are complex environments that require informed management practices. In their natural states, many of these lagoons periodically open and close to the sea. However, watershed alterations and lagoon inlet modifications have reduced their capacity to open and close as they usually do.
In response, coastal managers have begun to manage these lagoons to remain open for water quality purposes. However, scientists and managers have recently been reconsidering this one-size-fits-all approach to lagoon management. Managing a lagoon mouth to be continually open can be expensive. It also may compromise the lagoon’s unique biodiversity and ecosystem services.
This project analyzed existing lagoon mouth literature and long-term monitoring data from the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve to provide managers with the information needed to improve the health of Southern California’s coastal lagoons.
This article about the Crow House project highlights the effort to address both the need for energy efficient housing and access to healthy food. A University of Michigan (U-M) team of graduate students interested in urban socioecology developed the Crow House project. Inspired in part by the settlement house tradition popular at the turn of the 20th century, students began implementing a plan that focused on creating common ground for community and college collaboration among local activists, agencies, and scholars living in neighborhoods. Also, see the project summary.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellowship Program, University of Michigan, Detroit