89.1 WEMU

Issues of the Environment

Wednesdays during Morning Edition
Richard Rood
University of Michigan / umich.edu

Joe Biden will be sworn in today as the 46th President of the United States.  University of Michigan professor Richard Rood is one of many experts expecting the new administration will undo the damaging environmental policies of the Trump administration and advance the effort to combat the climate crisis.  Dr. Rood discussed his predictions with WEMU's David Fair in this week's "Issues of the Environment."


Ashley Payne
University of Michigan College of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering / clasp.engin.umich.edu

One of the few certainties about weather is its uncertainty.  So far, the winter of 2021 is off to a rather mild start.  But, the weather phenomenon known as "La Nina" and other factors could bring  serious snowfall to the region.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair explored the possibilities with Dr. Ashley Payne, assistant professor in climate and space sciences and engineering at the University of Michigan. 


Donna Murray-Brown
Michigan Nonprofit Association / mnaonline.org

Nonprofit organizations have been among those forced to adapt change and overcome survival challenges in 2020.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair called Donna Murray-Brown, president/CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association. to discuss what was learned in 2020 and how that will carry forward in 2021.  

  

Erin Rowan
Audubon Great Lakes / gl.audubon.org

With so many people staying home during the pandemic, levels of outdoor activity have been on the increase.  That includes bird watching.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment,"  WEMU's David Fair speaks to Erin Rowan, conservation associate for Audubon Great Lakes, about the growing popularity of bird watching and its impacts on Michigan's bird conservation and environmental protection efforts.  

  

Mike Tenbusch
International Samaritan / intsam.org

Millions of people around the world live near major garbage dumps.  Such conditions are a public health and environmental danger. The Ann Arbor-based nonprofit International Samaritan has been working for decades to help the people and improve the environmental conditions.  The organization's president, Mike Tenbusch, discussed the efforts with WEMU's David Fair in this week's "Issues of the Environment."

  

Gregory Keoleian
University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability / seas.umich.edu

The automotive industry is shifting to electric vehicles.  Right now, only about two percent of American automobile sales are in the electric sector.  But reducing waste, increasing recycling, and making the shift to electrification move more quickly will only have a positive impact on CO-2 emissions and climate change.  For the first time, a circular economy is being built to accelerate and enhance the process.  Dr. Gregory Keoleian from the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability joined  WEMU's David Fair to discuss his team's academic reseach into a new circular economy in the industry. 


Rebecca Esselman
Huron River Watershed Council / hrwc.org

After study and gathering community feedback, Ypsilanti City Council voted in 2019 in favor of removing the Peninsular Paper Dam from the Huron River.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," Huron River Watershed Council executive director Rebecca Esselman joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss progress toward that end.  Phase II of the removal project is just getting underway. 


Slow Farm
Slow Farm Organic U-Pick / Facebook

The pandemic has impacted all parts of our economy, including the local agricultural community.  But, there are positives that have resulted and reasons for giving thanks, too!  Kim Bayer is owner of Slow Farm in Washtenaw County.  She joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss COVID-19 impacts on local farming for this week's "Issues of the Environment." 


Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

THRIVE Colloborative founder Matt Grocoff imagined a community built around affordable housing and sustainable energy, and he called the project "Veridian at County Farm."  Ann Arbor City Council, in October, gave final approval to the project.  Grocoff joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss where the project is, when it will be ready for move-in, and the broader and more grand vision for the future of sustainable development. 


Natural Areas Preservation Program / storymaps.arcgis.com

A countywide ballot issue will be decided next Tuesday, and it deals with land preservation.  A 10-year, quarter-mill tax renewal would sustain the Natural Areas Preservation Program (NAPP) for another 10 years.  For this week's "Issues of the Environment,"WEMU's David Fair talks with Washtenaw County's park planning and NAPP supervisor, Ginny Trocchio, about what the preservation program has meant to the county in its first 20 years, and what lies ahead--pass or fail--on Tuesday. 

Jim Frey
Resource Recycling Systems / recycle.com

Several bills are pending in the Michigan Legislature, regarding the future of recycling.  The overall goal is to increase recycling fromt he current 18% up to 45%.  The Michigan initiative "NextCycle" is working to make sure the goal is achieved.  WEMU's David Fair discussed the work being done with Jim Frey, the  CEO of Recycling Resources Systems (RRS).  RRS is managing and facilitating the "NextCycle" initaitive. 


Jeff Gearhart
The Ecology Center / ecocenter.org

Do you like the occasional Big Mac or Whopper?  It turns out the packaging those fast food favorites come in contain the toxic, forever chemicals known as PFAs.  For this week's "Issues of the Environment," Jeff Gearhart from the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center speaks to WEMU's David Fair about all you need to know to protect yourself and the environment and the work underway to remove PFAS from food packaging and other consumer products permanently.


Evan Pratt
Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

Maintaining dams became part of the national conversation again when two collapsed in mid-Michigan this year and caused severe flooding.  The state of Michigan has now established a new commission on dam safety, and Washtenaw County's water resources commissioner has been appointed as an inaugural member.  Evan Pratt discussed his new role and the local and statewide implications with WEMU's David Fair on this week's "Issues of the Environment."


University of Michigan
University of Michigan College of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering / clasp.umich.edu

The wildfires along the United States West Coast continue to devastate homes and the surrounding environment.  Many environmental experts consider this more evidence of climate change, and yet some politicians constantly dispute those claims.  Dr. Richard Rood, professor of climate and space sciences and engineering at the University of Michigan, discusses his thoughts on this conflict, as well as the effects the fires have had on southeast Michigan, with WEMU's David Fair on this week's "Issues of the Environment."


Benjamin Goldstein
Erb Institute / erb.umich.edu

A new University of Michigan report studies 93 million homes in America to explore where, and how, we live impacts climate change.  The results show greenhouse gasses are produced at much higher levels in areas of affluence.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair discusses the report in greater detail with lead author of the report, Dr. Benjamin Goldstein. 


Mara Herman
Erica Bertram / The Ecology Center

Michigan passed new standards for PFAS back in July, and, in August, the most strict regulations in America went into effect.  On this week's "Issues of the Environment," Mara Herman, Health Policy Specialist for the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, will discuss the new standards and what it means to environmental and public health with WEMU's David Fair. 


Brian Steglitz
City of Ann Arbor / a2gov.org

For decades, a 1,4 dioxane plume has contaminated groundwater in Scio Township and Ann Arbor.  Legal battles have been ongoing with the original polluter, Gelman Sciences, and its subsequent owners.  Now, a new consent judgement has been reached and it is expected to improve the situation.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with the City of Ann Arbor's water treatment services manager, Brian Steglitz, about the agreement and what needs to happen next to get the settlement approved and implemented. 


Paul Mohai
University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability / seas.umich.edu

Michigan currently does not have a statewide approach to school siting that takes into account environmental quality.  More than 40 percent of schools in Michigan are located near major sources of air pollution.  What can be done about it now?  On this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with Dr. Paul Mohai from the U of M's School for Environment and Sustainability on ways to address these questions.


Bryan Weinert
Linkedin / linkedin.com

Recycling operations will soon become more localized in the Ann Arbor area.  The Materials Recovery facility, or the MRF, has been closed for processing for about four years.  It will be overhauled, and processing functions are expected to be operational in summer of 2021.  Recycle Ann Arbor has a 10-year contract to run the MRF.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with Recycle Ann Arbor’s director of strategy, Bryan Weinert, about localizing recycling once again. 


Tuesday's primary election saw two countywide tax issues win voter approval.  One for road funding and  non-motorized paths, the other to help fund the Washtenaw County Soil Conservation District.  Both millages passed by about a 3-1 margin.  In a post-election edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair discussed the benefits and outcomes with Washtenaw County Commissioner Andy LaBarre. 


Jeff Roberts
Linkedin / linkedin.com

New state regulations will change the way some firefighting operations are conducted in Michigan.  Firefighting foams can contain high levels of PFAS.  Those forever chemicals are not only detrimental to the environment but also to human health.  Jeff Roberts is chief of the Wixom Fire Department and president of the Michigan Fire Chiefs Association.  He joined 89.1 WEMU’s David Fair to discuss the new regulations and their impacts on training, operations, and safety.


Border-to-Border
Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

Throughout the pandemic, more people are utilizing the outdoors for a sense of balance and peace.  On "Issues of the Environment" this week, WEMU’s David Fair caught up with Park Planner and Landscape Architect Peter Sanderson for a look at how the Border-to-Border Trail in Washtenaw County is expanding, improving and, creating even more accessibility to hiking and biking. 


Marie O'Neill
University of Michigan School of Public Health / sph.umich.edu

On its surface, there may not appear to be many connections between the coronavirus pandemic and the climate change crisis.  You don’t, however, have to dig very deep to find the parallels and the impacts on people of color.  Dr. Marie O‘Neill is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology at the University of Michigan, and her work has put her in the path of that intersection.  Dr. O’Neill joined WEMU’s David Fair this week to help connect the dots on this week’s "Issues of the Environment."


Christopher Taylor
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Despite this year's focus on the coronavirus pandemic and racial unrest, climate change remains a great threat to the world.  This past June, Ann Arbor city officials took a major step in fighting this crisis by approving the "A2 Zero Carbon Neutrality Plan."  The overall goal is for the city of Ann Arbor to completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030.  Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor details the plan further in a conversation with WEMU's David Fair for this week's "Issues of the Environment."


Yousef Rabhi
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

In 2019, a pair of state lawmakers introduced companion bills that would create environmental accountability by making polluters responsible for paying for the hazards they create.  State Senator Jeff Irwin and State Representative Yousef Rabhi are both Ann Arbor Democrats and have yet to see those measures get consideration in the Republican-led legislature.  Now, as we address systemic racism, environmental justice has to be a part of the conversation.  Representative Rabhi joined WEMU’s David Fair to discuss environmental accountability at the intersection of race and socioeconomics. 


Sandra Turner-Handy
Michigan Environmental Council / environmentalcouncil.org

Systemic racism touches all aspects of life in America.  There is police brutality, economic oppression, lack of access to health care, less opportunity to advance, and not enough political clout to be heard.  It’s all connected.  Another component is environmental justice, and it contributes to all of the above.  In WEMU’s "Issues of the Environment," Michigan Environmental Council engagement director Sandra Turner-Handy explains why this is the time where real progress can be made. 


Air Pollution
PxFuel / pxfuel.com

The COVID-19 shutdown took most people off the road for a couple of months.  That did allow for some air quality improvement in Southeast Michigan.  However, it wasn't enough to offset the generations of pollution that have resulted in terrible health conditions and outcomes.  For this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair has a conversation about this situation with Mary Ann Dolehanty, the director of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's Air Quality Division.


Marco Verch / flickr.com

When COVID-19 hit, Michigan almost immediately halted can and bottle returns.  Not only has it had an impact on local grocers and big box chain stores, it has affected recycling waste management and the companies that make cans and bottles.  Returns are now allowed again, but the ripple effect may last a while.  WEMU's David Fair has a conversation with Scott Breen, vice president of sustainability for the Can Manfacturers Institute, about the potential impact this will have on our environment and economy for this week's "Issues of the Environment."


University of Michigan
Taubman College / taubmancollege.umich.edu

Climate change has brought more frequent incidents of heavy rains and flooding.  Old and poorly maintained infrastructure is at risk as water levels rise, and we saw that play out in Midland where two dams broke and forced evacuation of 11,000 people.  On "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair catches up with U of M professor of urban and regional planning Dr. Richard Norton.  Together they explore what to consider about the aging dams in Michigan and how proper development planning in the future can serve as a measure of flood prevention.  


University of Michigan
University of Michigan School of Public Health / sph.umich.edu

The coronavirus pandemic is ongoing and will be for some time to come.  But it is not the only zoonoses we are dealing with globally or locally.  Zoonoses are illnesses spread from animals to humans.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair discusses these infectious diseases with Dr. Joseph Eisenberg, chair and professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health.


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