Sustainability in the news

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Go green: local communities’ sustainability efforts

Wayne State University’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Daryl Pierson, thinks that bringing students together who are studying different subjects, and faculty who are in different areas, to form a multidisciplinary approach about sustainability is important. “You can't really just look at it from one side in order to get something that's truly sustainable,” he said. Pierson said that those who think things are moving too slowly need to be patient and not get frustrated, but continue to share the message of efficiency and the benefits of its work. It will ultimately lead to a big difference all around. Ashley Flintoff, director of planning and space management at WSU, said there’s also interdisciplinary sharing with students, who bring in fresh ideas and teach them while also being taught. Collaboration is vital to sustainability moving forward. Flintoff hopes that sustainability is able to get woven into the everyday vernacular and become less of a thing where people toot their horn about and have banners every time they achieve something with sustainability. "You just work it into your everyday life so that eventually the goal is that everything that you do has the sustainability aspect to it,” she said. “You don't have to think about it, you just do it. It just becomes kind of normal.”
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Researchers progressing in fatberg study

A fatberg discovered in a Macomb County sewer had led to a more introspective look on the subject, courtesy of a pair of Wayne State University researchers. Barely more than a year ago, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller stood at a podium and discussed how a 100-foot long, 19-ton fatberg was discovered in a sewer 50 feet underground as part of the Lakeshore Interceptor along Interstate 94. A few months later, Wayne State University researchers acquired an $86,000 National Science Foundation grant that has allowed them to study how fats, oil and greases, or FOGs, lend themselves toward these environmental blobs. It also helps compile a model, aimed to predict future situations when fatbergs might arise — not just in Macomb County, but anywhere. “We’ve been working very closely with the Macomb County Department of Public Works to investigate the whole fatberg phenomena,” said Carol Miller, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Healthy Urban Waters at WSU. “Macomb County has been really helpful, and we have a wealth of information regarding system characters, and data regarding pressure flows of pipes before and after the fatberg.” Carol Miller works alongside Tracie Baker, assistant professor in WSU’s Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Their research as part of the grant will continue for about another four months.
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Activists host faith, WSU leaders for ‘World Water Day’ in Detroit

Dozens of grassroots organizations on Friday are hosting interfaith leaders in Detroit to speak about water shutoffs, concerns over environmental contamination and other water-related issues across the state. Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders plan to speak at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History about water access and affordability, privatization, environmental contamination and Line 5 — an Enbridge oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac. Wayne State University also has agreed to offer a 90-minute workshop at the event, with professors and graduate students educating attendees on how to “advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources,” according to the university.
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Opinion: Three 2018 resolutions for a more prosperous metro Detroit

Last year brought news of upheavals in the world, around the country and in our backyard. News of hurricanes and the California fires made me more grateful than ever to claim southeastern Michigan as home. It also makes me concerned that not everyone in southeast Michigan benefits from our region's riches. Worse, I fear that we are being reckless with our treasures. Thus, I offer this resolution for southeastern Michigan: Let's think like a region in 2018.