The EPA has announced the rules for the 6th annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a design competition open to U.S. colleges and universities. Through the challenge, the EPA seeks to engage undergraduate and graduate students in designing innovative green infrastructure for stormwater management to showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.
This summer, UW Study Abroad and the College of Engineering are offering a study abroad program that stays close to home.
Imagine a floating mass of plastic twice the size of Texas spanning thousands of miles in the open ocean. Now realize that actually exists. Located between Hawaii and California and stretching all the way to Japan, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest floating ocean garbage site in the world, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one. And that’s not the only garbage disposal on the planet – there are four more gyres in the oceans where plastic pollution collects in large quantities.
The UW relies primarily on freshwater purchased from Seattle Public Utilities to water landscaped areas on campus. A group on campus wants that to change.
A team of students, faculty and staff are proposing to alter the existing irrigation system to distribute rainwater as opposed to fresh drinking water, and they received a Green Seed Fund grant to help make it happen.
Over six million gallons of water is used to sustain the assortment of trees and flowers in the Washington Park Arboretum, much of it along Azalea Way, the main pathway through the Arboretum. But a group of UW students, staff and faculty are hoping to significantly reduce the amount of water used.
Jessica Kaminsky is an Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Washington. A scholar of engineering projects and organizations, she conducts research on infrastructure for developing communities with a particular interest in topics of social sustainability. As part of the UW's Earth Day celebration, she gave a talk on how cultural values impact sustainability. Read the text below:
UW Earth Club president Aaron Tam introduced the club's "Tap That" campaign during the Earth Day celebration, a project that is working to reduce the use of plastic water bottles on campus. Tam is a currently a senior at the University of Washington studying Environmental Science: Wildlife Conservation and Political Science. He's passionate about environmental and socioeconomic justice, and is proud to have contributed greatly to climate action in Washington and campus sustainability efforts.
Barbara Clabots of the Seattle Surfrider Foundation was the introductory presenter at the University of Washington's Earth Day celebration. Clabots is a social scientist focused on improving ocean conservation. Locally, she serves the community as Seattle Surfrider's Volunteer Coordinator to improve water quality in the Puget Sound, leading a program to eliminate cigarette litter.
Project Tap That is a student campaign to educate UW students about the harmful effects of plastic bottles and promote the use of reusable bottles with tap water.
They'll be kicking off their education and outreach campaign during the Earth Day celebrations on Red Square. Stop by the UW Earth Club or UW Sustainability tables to learn about the benefits of using a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water, and you might have a chance to pick up a Tap That reusable water bottle of your own!
The average American uses nearly 100 gallons of water a day, for drinking, washing and more. Demand for water continues to grow with the population, and climate change means water sources are subject to droughts and other uncertainties. Each of us can take small steps which add up to big water savings over time.