Monday, May 19, 2014

Portage Library, Reading Council to host presentation on plastic water bottles May 20

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library and the Copper Country Reading Council invite kids, teens, their families and community members to learn about the
environmental impact they can have by making one small change: reducing or eliminating the use of plastic water bottles.

From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20, Michigan Technological University student Melissa Michaelson will discuss the impact that throwing things away has on the environment. She will show slides of a display of 600 plastic water bottles she created to illustrate how many bottles of water people consume in the United States every half a second.

Michaelson made this display for a social change project at MTU that was inspired by similar projects showing that Americans consume 1500 plastic bottles of water every second. With this astonishing rate of consumption, only a small amount of these bottles are recycled while the vast majority are thrown into landfills and end up in waterways and oceans. The end result is a great deal of pollution -- most of which we can’t see from where we live but which has immense impact on the environment.

"While recycling is important," Michaelson said, "my hope is to show how easy it is not to buy plastic water bottles. While they have their place in emergency situations when water quality is in question, the everyday use of bottled water is an easy habit to change."

Michaelson will explain how the goal of her project is to allow people to decide for themselves and to feel empowered to make a change one step at a time.

Michaelson is a wife, mother of two, and an undergraduate at MTU. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Anthropology because she loves learning about ways humans have interacted with their environment throughout history. She believes there is great value in learning from all cultures, traditions, and generations and that the earth is worth preserving for future generations.

This event is offered by the Copper Country Reading Council in partnership with the Michigan River of Words and the Portage Lake District Library. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.

Library programs are free and everyone is invited. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

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