This project set out to understand key barriers to expanding compost programs in Ann Arbor, and to identify best practices to support the city in expanding these programs most effectively.
Ann Arbor’s composting facility, operated by WeCare Organics, has the capacity to expand composting to all current residents and businesses. However, if service were to be expanded to all households, the current mechanism for financing city composting programs is not sustainable. Under its current millage system, the city’s financing structure for composting does not facilitate opportunities for increased revenues. Additionally, low land ll tipping fees, challenges with the city Material Recovery Facility (MRF), and funding restrictions have further hindered the expansion of services.
Keywords: Composing, waste management, solid waste system, zero waste
Oroeco, a website and application-based service that allows users to track the climate impacts of their everyday decisions, recently launched a beta version of a new, interactive social platform that features sustainability ratings of individual publicly-traded companies. The Dow Sustainability Fellows team worked with Oroeco to develop a go-to-market strategy and improve the beta version of the platform. The goal of the platform is to promote sustainable corporate practices and to unlock more informed decision- making by mobilizing the interests of a range of stakeholders, including consumers, investors, and experts (including scholars and non-governmental organizations).
Keywords: Information management, carbon footprint, behavior, decision-making, climate impact assessment
Like many post-industrial cities, Detroit has an outdated and overburdened combined sewer system. In a combined sewer system, heavy rains overwhelm the city’s water treatment system, resulting in increased flooding and discharges of both sewage and stormwater into local rivers. In order to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSO), stormwater must enter the sewer system at a slower and steadier pace without high peaks caused by heavy rain events. In addition, Detroit has vast amounts of impervious surface, much of which is abandoned or underused, further contributing to stormwater runoff concerns.
Our project, in collaboration with Michigan Community Resources (MCR) and Eastside Community Network (ECN), explores whether a collective, place-based approach to green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) installations can result in joint stormwater credits towards fees in residential neighborhoods.
Soy production has led to deforestation in multiple regions of Brazil, including the states of Mato Grosso and Pará. A combination of laws, such as the Forest Code (1965), and voluntary agreements, such as the Soy Moratorium (2006), have been implemented to slow the rate of deforestation due to soy production in the Amazon. Although the overall deforestation rate has declined in Brazil from 2004 to 2013, it has increased along the BR-163 highway, also known as the “Soy Corridor.”
Keywords: agro-industrialization, soy, deforestation, Brazil, Mato Grosso and Para region, rainforest
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