Working together to improve natural resources

Efforts to care for land and water can benefit from social networks and linking with similar organizations through an association or other social network.

Online platforms make it easier to connect across communities. Pictured: Jess Robinson at The Stewardship Network headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI. Photo credit: Monica Day, MSU

Online platforms make it easier to connect across communities. Pictured: Jess Robinson at The Stewardship Network headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI. Photo credit: Monica Day, MSU

Peter Walker in the Stanford Social Innovation Review summarized the central point of a seminal book Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World by Tina Rosenberg.

“People are fundamentally social animals. In isolation a person can never ‘be all that you can.’ When we are able to harness the power of being part of a group, supporting and being supported by those around us, we can achieve extraordinary things.”

Old networks in communities continue to contribute significant benefits and new social networks are being created every day. If your group is struggling to address a problem by itself, it might help to connect across groups.

An easy way to connect and create a stronger voice among people and groups working to improve water resources is to connect with the Great Lakes Clean Communities Network. This supportive online platform created by MSU’s Institute for Water Research is for anyone seeking to improve the health of the great lakes environment.

Once people have created a profile with the network, they’re added to the portal’s Great Lakes Map. The site makes it easy to find individuals working toward the same goals. Many water professionals have joined the network. Group leaders in particular find it a helpful ready-made online platform for connecting their members. While in the Great Lakes Clean Communities Network, users can search for similar groups. Users can invite others to join and initiate joint activities.

Networks help to overcome limitations of individuals and organizations. They stimulate creative solutions. Working together through networks, many small new activities could lead to the breakthroughs needed to address tough water management challenges.

Credit to Water Words That Work, LLC for inspiration for this article.

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