Issues of the Environment

Wednesdays during Morning Edition
Lisa Denys

Spring is in the air, and it's tempting to clean up the yard.  Yet, starting too early, or cleaning too thoroughly, can be devastating to our pollinators, including bees, birds and butterfiles.  On this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair spoke with Lisa Denys, a seasonal environmental program assistant for Washtenaw County, about some tips for maintaining a clean and environmentally friendly yard. 


Lisa Del Buono
Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action / states.ms2ch.org/mi/micca

We know, with certainty, the climate crisis is negatively impacting our environment.  It is also having adverse affects on pubic health, particularly in communities of color and among low-income familes.  Dr. Lisa Del Buono is the founder of Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action.  She joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss her organization's advocacy of a carbon-fee plan to comprehensively address the issues. 


Janis Bobrin
Michigan League of Conservation Voters / michiganlcv.org

For 24 years, Janis Bobrin served Washtenaw County as Water Resources Commissioner.  Some of the programs she devised and implemented are now industry standard and the positive environmental impacts she's had in our community are quite tangible.  For the final Women's History Month edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair speaks with Bobrin about her remarkable career and the lasting impacts she has had on the health of our environment and quality of life. 


Donna Lasinski
Michigan House Democrats / housedems.com

Michigan State Representative Donna Lasinski has, among other things, stood up for numerous environmental causes.  That includes fighting the Gelman 1-4 dioxane plume to trying to prevent Enbridge Line 5 from causing catastrophic damage to the Great Lakes.  Now, as the top Democrat in the Michigan House of Representatives, Lasinski seeks to help rewrite Michigan's environmental history.  She joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the present and future she is working to create on this Women's History Month Edition of "Issues of the Environment."


Mary Beth Doyle
The Ecology Center / ecocenter.org

Mary Beth Doyle Park is a beautiful and serene area in which to spend time and enjoy the outdoors.  It is appropriately named after environmental advocate and activist Mary Beth Doyle.  She helped bring the Ecology Center to international prominence and improved the health of environment and inspired others to do the same.  WEMU's David Fair checked in with Doyle's mentee, colleague, and friend Rebecca Mueninck from the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor for a Women's History Month rememberance. 


Michelle Deatrick
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Throughout Women's History Month, WEMU is talking with women who are dedicated to creating new history when it comes to environmental protections.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair recognizes Michelle Deatrick.  The former Washtenaw County Commissioner was instrumental in forming the Washtenaw County Climate Council and has now founded and leads the Democratic National Committee Council on Environment and Climate. 


Rebecca Esselman
Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

The Huron River is a life force for the communities in its watershed.  Throughout the years, it is women who have been a driving force in improving its quality.  In this Women's History Month edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with the current executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council about some of the women who preceded her and how that serves as foundation for the work she is doing today and for tomorrow. 


Justin Onwenu
LinkedIn / linkedin.com

The movement towards racial equity is an ongoing fight.  Environmental racism has been an issue in our area since the industrial revolution, and it persists today, inflicting the most harm on communities of color.  In another Black History Month edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair and the Sierra Club's Justin Onwenu explore problems and solutions in the effort to bring environmental injustice to an end. 


Paul Mohai
University of Michigan / umich.edu

The concept of environmental justice can traced back to the 1970's.  But, it wasn't until the 1990's when the movement really began to take shape, thanks to the works of such scholars as Dr. Bunyan Bryant and Dr. Paul Mohai.  Dr. Mohai looks back at the work he and his colleagues have done over the last three decades in a conversation with WEMU's David Fair.


Donele Wilkins
Greendoor Initative / greendoorinitiative.org

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the the African-American community more in a variety of negative ways.  Among other things, it has highlighted the systemic issues that continue to support environmental racism.  Detroit-based "Green Door Initiative" was created specifically to fight such inequities.  Organization founder and CEO Donele Wilkins discusses progress and present and future challenges with WEMU's David Fair.  


Laura Sherman
Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council / mieibc.org

The cost of producing and distributing renewable energy continues to decline.  That is changing the energy marketplace.  Still, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome in both legislative policy and in the behaviors of individuals and communities.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair discusses the near and longer-term energy future with Laura Sherman, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council.


Bryan Ukena
Recycle Ann Arbor / recycleannarbor.org

Ann Arbor's Materials Recovery Facility has been closed for nearly five years due to safety concerns.  In 2020, the city hired Recycle Ann Arbor to handle recycling and charged it with reopening the facility.  Renovation and innovation measures are getting underway, and "The MuRF," as it's called, should open this fall.  Recycle Ann Arbor CEO Bryan Ukena joined WEMU's David Fair to update you on this week's "Issues of the Environment."


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.


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