U-M Sustainability Expert Perspectives

The ConversationU-M sustainability experts regularly contribute to The Conversation, a free and independent source of news and views from the academic and research community. This Blog has received international praise for promoting content from university scholars and researchers with deep expertise in their subject.

Older victims of Hurricane Harvey may need special attention as Texas recovers
Sue Anne Bell, Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Michigan

News and social media reports from coastal Texas have shown many striking images of Hurricane Harvey flood victims, but few were as arresting as a photo of older women in a Dickinson nursing home, sitting in waist-high water in their wheelchairs. Although the women were moved to safety, the picture highlighted how vulnerable older adults can be during and after major disasters. Read More.

Red team-blue team? Debating climate science should not be a cage match
Richard B. Rood, Professor of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, University of Michigan

Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has called for a “red team-blue team” review to challenge the science behind climate change. “The American people deserve an honest, open, transparent discussion about this supposed threat to this country,” he said on a radio show, adding he hoped to hold the exercise in the fall. Read More.

Disasters can harm older adults long after storms have passed
Sue Anne Bell, Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Michigan

My phone rang around midnight: A major hurricane was predicted to hit a nearby coastal town, which was under a mandatory evacuation order. Many of the staff at a large hospital there had already evacuated, and an unknown number of patients from nursing homes and assisted living centers were being transported to the hospital. The remaining staff were desperate for help from experienced nurses. Was I available to assist immediately? Read More.

Nutrient pollution: Voluntary steps are failing to shrink algae blooms and dead zones
Donald Scavia, Professor of Environment and Sustainability; Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan

Summer is the season for harmful algae blooms in many U.S. lakes and bays. They occur when water bodies become overloaded with nitrogen and phosphorus from farms, water treatment plants and other sources. Warm water and lots of nutrients promote rapid growth of algae that can be toxic and potentially fatal to aquatic life and people. Read More.

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