89.1 WEMU

Issues of the Environment

Wednesdays during Morning Edition
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.


Kenneth Rosenman
Michigan State University Department of Medicine / medicine.chm.msu.edu

Slowly, the economy is beginning to reopen.  All businesses will be required to conduct more stringent cleaning and sanitizing protocols to protect works and the public from COVID-19.  And, we will continue to use more of these products in our homes.  That means far more chemical exposure for all.  That, too, is a threat to public health.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair speaks to Dr. Kenneth Rosenman, chief of Michigan State University's Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, about the dangers, and measures we can take to mitigate health impacts.


Evan Pratt
Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

It's been forecast that this spring will be quite wet.  That could bring flooding to portions of Washtenaw County.  Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss planning for such issues and the proactive nature of work already underway on this week's "Issues of the Environment."


Joe Diglio
Michigan Milk Producers Association / mimilk.com

Food production has been seriously disrupted to the coronavirus pandemic.  It has forced producers, including dairy farmers, to dispose of more of their supplies, which has led to more food waste.  Joe Diglio, president/CEO of the Michigan Milk Producers Association, has a conversation with WEMU's David Fair about how the problems are being addressed in this week's "Issues of the Environment."


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

Today marks the 50th Earth Day in the United States, which traces its origins to Ann Arbor.  Normally, there would have been a huge celebration, but the coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to that.  For Part 2 of a special, Earth Day edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair spoke with Jonathan Overpeck, dean of the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability.  They discuss an online celebration of Earth Day and look ahead to what the future may hold.  


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

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  A group of environmentally aware and concerned students at the University of Michigan formed the group ENACT during a rather heady time on campus in 1969.  Through activity and organization, it led to the first-ever Earth Day in 1970.  In Part 1 of a special, Earth Day edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair caught up with David Allan to look back at the five decades since that event.  Allan was a founding member and co-chair of ENACT and an organizer for the first Earth Day. 


Theo Eggermont
Linkedin / linkedin.com

The Centers for Disease Control continues to recommend wearing gloves and masks while in public.  More and more people are following recommended guidelines.  However, getting rid of those personal protective equipment (PPE) items is often being done improperly.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with Washtenaw County Public Works manager Theo Eggermont about proper disposal to protect public health and the environment.  


TheRide
Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority / theride.org

Many aspects of daily life have been dramatically changed due to COVID-19, and public transportation is certainly no exception.  Although services like the Ann Arbor Area Transportion Authority (AAATA) promote a cleaner environment, they still have financial obligations and public health matters to consider.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," AAATA CEO Matt Carpenter explains how his organization and other forms of public transit in Michigan are adapting to the pandemic in a conversation with WEMU's David Fair.


Brian Steglitz
City of Ann Arbor / a2gov.org

Maintaining water service and safety remains an essential service during Governor Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with the manager of Ann Arbor's water treatment services, Brian Steglitz, about managing the system to filter out virus and chemical contamination. 


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

The coronavirus pandemic has lead to major changes for homes and businesses, including more frequent use of chemicals and disinfectants.  While they do help, some can be dangerous to human health and the environment.  Professor John Meeker, senior associate dean for research at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health, spoke with WEMU's David Fair about how best to safely use these products on "Issues of the Environment."


Argus
Argus Farm Stop / argusfarmstop.com

Many services have felt the sting of the coronavirus outbreak.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," Kathy Sample, founder/owner of Argus Farm Stop, joins WEMU's David Fair for a conversation about the importance of local food during this unprecendented time.


Ed Rivet
Michigan Conservative Energy Forum / micef.org

A series of "energy freedom" bills, which would allow customers to diversify energy generation and usage is before the Michigan Legislature.  For this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with Ed Rivet, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, about a new strategy to move the measures forward. 


Debbie Dingell
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Since President Donald Trump took office, 58 environmental protection policies have been rolled back or rescinded.  37 more are in the process of being taken off the books.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair checks in with 12th District Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about efforts to thwart federal policies that threaten environmental health and sustainability.  


Noah Weaverdyck
Noah Weaverdyck / Facebook

In an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint, the University of Michigan has pledged to freeze its investments in fossil fuel companies.  This move has drawn praise from such activist groups as the U-M's Climate Action Movement (CAM).  But it also says the school needs to go much further.  CAM member and U-M doctoral student Noah Weaverdyck discusses it all with WEMU's David Fair on this week's "Issues of the Environment."


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