Institute for Environmental Solutions
Shannon has been an Institute Associate at the Institute for Environmental Solutions for two years, where she works on advancing prevention of contaminants of emerging concern through community based social marketing. She conducts research on pollution prevention strategies and fostering sustainable behavior. She is also a water resources specialist with 17 years of professional experience in hydrologic, hydrographic, and water quality data collection and analysis, stream bank stabilization and stream restoration design, storm water and erosion control management and best management practices, Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting, and environmental impacts analysis for NEPA projects.
Shannon is currently an undergraduate student at Red Rocks Community College. She intends to earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from a 4-year institution in Colorado.
Reduce Your Chemical Footprint: Employing behavior change strategies to decrease the use of contaminants of emerging concern.
IES proposes to present our Reduce Your Chemical Footprint program to equip watershed managers, local governments, and community members with effective actions to reduce and prevent harmful chemicals found in common household and personal care products from polluting the water. IES uses scientifically proven community based social marketing to foster sustainable behavior. Strategies are voluntary, sustainable, and low- or no-cost. Communities can tackle and solve the problems of chemicals of concern that are harmful to human health and the environment but are not treated or regulated. Local entities can fix and prevent water pollution. IES will provide viewers with the opportunity to make their own contaminant-free home products.
Many household and commercial products contain contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) that are associated with negative human health and environmental effects. Many CECs are increasingly being detected at low levels in surface water, but most are not regulated because few risk standards have been set and the consequences of long term, low-level exposure are not yet well understood. While efforts are currently underway to develop criteria for evaluating potential human health and environmental effects, research demonstrates that using community-based social marketing (CBSM) methods to reduce harmful contaminants from entering source waters in the first place is cheaper and more effective than treating water already contaminated.
Through community-based preventive action, IES proposes a process for participants to:
• Account for chemicals, both known and hidden, in consumer products.
• Identify specific chemicals of concern in products.
• Commit to a personal chemical reduction plan.
• Take action to adopt specific alternatives that will reduce use of chemicals of concern.
The goal of the project is to empower individuals to reduce the size of our own chemical footprints.
For this pilot project, IES will work with a community and test the effectiveness of CBSM strategies to encourage participants to switch to using alternative products that did not contain the targeted CECs. Through this project, we focus on specific behaviors contributing to water pollution, identify local barriers and benefits to switching to alternative products, and test various CBSM strategies for their abilities to encourage community members to change their behaviors.