Environment Picture
Topic: Environmental History

Toxic taps: Hazardous chemical plumes are growing at a former Air Force base in northern Michigan

Last fall, Kathy Abernathy and Doug Trittin plunked down $720 to replace the pump that delivers groundwater to the taps in their Oscoda Township home, just a few blocks from Lake Huron. A couple of weeks later, they learned their well water was contaminated and were advised not to drink it or cook with it.
View ArticleSpring / Summer 2017 - Michigan Environmental Report

First #HowYouDune freshwater dune summit celebrates Michigan’s coastal treasures

More than 60 scientists, natural resource professionals, outdoor recreation enthusiasts and others gathered in Muskegon on May 7–8 for the Freshwater Dune Summit, organized by Michigan Environmental Council and our partners at Heart of the Lakes and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.
View ArticleSpring / Summer 2017 - Michigan Environmental Report

Mona Hanna-Attisha: Unwavering voice for Flint’s children

Some pediatricians give kids a lollipop after a checkup. The deal’s a lot sweeter at Mona Hanna-Attisha’s clinic at Hurley Children’s Center in Flint. “Dr. Mona,” as she’s known around town, sends patients’ families out the door with a $10 voucher to buy fresh, healthy food at the Flint Farmers’ Market—no extra trip required, since the clinic is on the second floor of the market building. It’s also across the street from the bus station, providing an important connection in a city where 40 percent of residents live beneath the poverty line and many families don’t have a car. It’s a setup that embodies Hanna-Attisha’s integrated approach to medicine and her belief that quality pediatric care can’t be separated from good nutrition and a healthy, stimulating environment. That prescription is needed more urgently than ever in a city whose children already faced daunting struggles before their drinking water was contaminated with toxic, brain-damaging lead.
View ArticleSpring/Summer 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

President's Column: Lessons learned from serving on the Flint Water Advisory Task Force

Last October I received a phone call that would dramatically impact me professionally and personally. It was Gov. Rick Snyder’s office calling, asking me to serve as co-chair of the governor’s Flint Water Advisory Task Force. The task force’s charge was to determine what happened in Flint and why, and to provide recommendations on how to prevent this from ever happening again. The group would meet for five months, release three letters to the governor and issue a final report that contained 36 findings and 44 recommendations.
View ArticleSpring/Summer 2016 - Michigan Environmental Report

Milliken Award recipient Andy Buchsbaum: Accomplished Great Lakes guardian

Early in Andy Buchsbaum’s college internship, Ralph Nader dropped by to say hello. The position was with Congress Watch, part of Nader’s consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. The political activist’s remarks to the interns were brief, but they marked a turning point in Buchsbaum’s life. “He said, ‘How can you see something that’s wrong and not do anything about it?’” Buchsbaum remembers. “That’s always stayed with me. After that moment, that was it for me. That’s what I was going to do.”
View ArticleSpring/Summer 2015 - Michigan Environmental Report

Cleaning Up White Lake

I don’t think most people would imagine the picturesque White Lake area, situated in the northern portion of Muskegon County, as a polluted toxic hot spot. But that’s what it was at one time. It isn’t anymore, and that’s truly a good story.
View ArticleSpring/Summer 2015 - Michigan Environmental Report

Funding Michigan's natural resources

At the Michigan Environmental Council’s 2014 annual meeting of member groups, we assembled a panel of experts to tackle one of the most challenging—and least understood—aspects of Michigan’s environmental and natural resource policy arena: funding. Rather than dive deeply into all the specific budgets of various departments and divisions, we took a different tack, and asked our speakers to think about big trends, philosophies of funding for environmental priorities, and options for the future.
View ArticleWinter 2015 - Michigan Environmental Report

Author challenges environmental groups to reimagine black relationship with nature

There’s plenty of evidence that American popular culture takes an off-kilter view of who cares about the environment and belongs in the outdoors. On the first night of MEC’s annual meeting in northern Michigan, members gathered around a stone fireplace in a cozy riverside lodge surrounded by woods to explore that concept with geographer and author Carolyn Finney.
View ArticleWinter 2015 - Michigan Environmental Report

DNR dinner spotlights wildlife funding gap

The numbers confirm what we Michiganders know from experience: We love wildlife. Michigan’s 3.2 million wildlife watchers add $1.2 billion to the state economy every year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
View ArticleSummer / Fall 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

Historic climate march creates ripples of hope

With the sun setting on the New York City skyline behind us, Bill Latka, a filmmaker and leader of the Traverse City chapter of 350.org, read the following passage over the loudspeaker to the 55 exhausted and exhilarated travelers as we began our 18-hour bus ride home: “Organizing a big march is like throwing a rock in a pond: the splash is exciting, but the real beauty is in the ripples.” It was written by one of the organizers of the People’s Climate March, and it rings so true.
View ArticleSummer / Fall 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

Rich Vander Veen: Guiding communities to clean-power prosperity

Corn and soybeans are the cash crops for brothers Kent and Olin Humm, seventh-generation farmers near the Gratiot County village of Breckenridge. But the payments they receive for the four wind turbines on their 3,000 acres sure don’t hurt. “We’re not out working in the field today,” said Kent Humm in his workshop on a wet spring afternoon, “but we’re still making money.” That’s music to the ears of clean-energy entrepreneur Rich Vander Veen, the 2014 recipient of the Michigan Environmental Council’s Helen and William Milliken Distinguished Service Award.
View ArticleSpring 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

Steve Hamilton: Spearheading a river’s recovery with sound science

Steve Hamilton was on his way to a meeting in East Lansing in 2010 when he heard about the oil spill. A pipeline owned by Canadian energy giant Enbridge had gushed more than a million gallons of heavy crude into a Kalamazoo River tributary. As details emerged, the startling reality became clear: The river Hamilton loves had just suffered the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history.
View ArticleSpring 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

Detroit’s Denby High School seniors examine city and their role in reviving it

Springtime in a high school student’s senior year is full of exciting rituals: the last day of school, the graduation ceremony, the open house. Students at Denby High School on Detroit’s northeast side started a new tradition this year: the Pathway to Transformation.
View ArticleSpring 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

President's Column: Show me your budget, I’ll tell you your values

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value,” Vice President Joe Biden is credited with saying. As a former State House Appropriations Committee member, my colleagues and I used to say “policy schmolicy.” All the policy in the world doesn’t matter unless you fund it!
View ArticleWinter 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

Michigan’s Archangel Ancient Tree Archive drawing national notice

For a tiny nonprofit headquartered in the northern Michigan village of Copemish, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive sure gets a lot of ink.
View ArticleWinter 2014 - Michigan Environmental Report

President's Column: Improving Michigan's abysmal recycling rate

Sometimes it feels like Michigan is stuck in the 1970s, especially when it comes to environmental and conservation issues. One glaring example is recycling. Michigan had one of the first and best bottle deposit laws, and one of the first curbside recycling programs in the country. Since then, some communities have invested in recycling, but not enough. Most of the nation has passed us by.
View ArticleFall 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

133 Michigan scientists have a message for Governor Rick Snyder: Just say no

We asked University of Michigan School of Natural Resources Professor Bradley Cardinale, PhD, to answer some of our questions about the anti-biodiversity Senate Bill 78. The legislation would redefine the term “biodiversity” in state law and prohibit state agencies from designating public lands to protect biological diversity. The bill passed the State Senate and was pending in the Michigan House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee at press time.
View ArticleSummer 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Is it time to take the Kirtland's warbler off the Endangered list?

The Kirtland’s warbler is North America’s rarest songbird. They winter in the Bahamas, and more than 90 percent return to jack pine forests in northern Michigan each spring. Sounds like a pretty nice life, but the warbler has had a rough go of it. Twice in the past 40 years its population has dipped below 170 breeding pairs as modern forest fire suppression changed its habitat by eliminating the newly grown jack pine scrub forests that emerge from fire-scarred landscapes.
View ArticleSummer 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Governor Milliken joins honorees at MEC's 15th annual awards event

Former Michigan Governor William Milliken headlined a roster of more than 175 friends and supporters who packed the City Club in Ann Arbor this summer for the Michigan Environmental Council’s 15th Annual Environmental Awards Celebration.
View ArticleSummer 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Success! State budget includes $1.25 million to help keep Michigan kids safe from lead dangers

More than $1 million to help keep Michigan children safe from lead poisoning was included in a budget bill signed in June by Governor Rick Snyder. The allocation was a direct result of advocacy and education efforts by the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing (MIALSH). MEC is part of the coalition’s core leadership team.
View ArticleSpring 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Dave Dempsey: Author, historian, policy expert and steadfast defender of the Great Lakes

The sound was like thunder. Bass-heavy, ground-shaking booms at rhythmic intervals. It lured Dave Dempsey from his sleeping bag one fine summer day in 1981. What he found mesmerized him and forever guided his career path.
View ArticleSpring 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Bob Andrus: Tireless champion for Michigan’s cold water trout streams

When MEC President Chris Kolb called Bob Andrus to tell him he’d won MEC’s Petoskey Prize, Andrus took the call standing waist-deep in the Holy Waters section of the frigid Au Sable River. That figures.
View ArticleSpring 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

In Memoriam: Helen Milliken

There’s a darn good reason that the state’s top environmental honor is not simply called the William Milliken Distinguished Service Award. It is properly called the Helen & William Milliken Distinguished Service Award in recognition that both the former governor and his wife made their own substantial legacies in protecting Michigan’s natural resources during the course of their careers. The award is presented annually by the Michigan Environmental Council.
View ArticleSpring 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Powerful op-eds and on-point letters: Key tools in standing up for Michigan’s natural resources

Providing the state’s newspapers, niche publications and blogosphere with strong voices on behalf of Michigan’s natural resources is a critical component of the Michigan Environmental Council’s work. We stand ready to provide professional communications and media relations advice to member groups.
View ArticleWinter 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

For a clean energy future, vote yes on Proposal 3!

Michiganders have an historic opportunity to move our state into a future of clean, Michigan-made energy by adopting the 25 by 25 renewable energy initiative. Proposal 3 on your ballot this November requires Michigan’s electric utility companies to generate one-quarter of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Voters should adopt the initiative.
View ArticleSummer 2012 - Michigan Environmental Report

President's Column: Don't believe the naysayers

Michigan’s utility companies are pouring millions into an expensive political ad campaign to confuse the voters on the renewable energy ballot initiative, Proposal 3. The proposal would raise our renewable electricity standard to 25 percent by 2025. There are plenty of great reasons to support Proposal 3 included in this edition’s special report. But it also is instructive to look at the most prevalent arguments against the ballot proposal and see why you shouldn’t believe the naysayers.
View ArticleSummer 2012 - Michigan Environmental Report

View from Cleveland: ‘It was no mirage, it was Michigan’

Occasionally, it takes an outsider to remind us how unique and spectacular our natural resources are in the Mitten State. Such was the case with Cleveland Plain Dealer travel writer Susan Glaser’s July 16 column sharing her awe and reverence during a family trip to Michigan’s West Coast sand dunes.
View ArticleSummer 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report

When our rivers caught fire

When Lake Erie – or more exactly the Cuyahoga River which flows into Lake Erie – caught fire in 1969, it ignited a firestorm of public outrage over the indiscriminate dumping of sewage and industrial chemicals into the Great Lakes. But the incident was not particularly unusual.
View ArticleJuly 2011 Online - Michigan Environmental Report

Becky Humphries: Steady hand at the DNR

Becky Humphries' most remarkable qualities were acquired at a tender age. Patience and perseverance were instilled during idyllic summer days at her father's side, fishing with an old-fashioned cane pole.
View ArticleSpring 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental History

Bell ringers: Environmental successes won in recent weeks

In each issue of the Michigan Environmental Report, we celebrate accomplishments by MEC and member groups.
View ArticleWinter 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report

End of an era

Glen Sheppard, the legendary editor of the North Woods Call, passed away in early January at the age of 74. The Call, his fiercely independent conservation newspaper, has ceased publication.
View ArticleWinter 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report

Michigan’s innovative new state park funding is providing a glimmer of good fiscal news amid a backdrop of budget woes

Since the Recreation Passport program was introduced in October 2010, almost 20 percent of Michigan drivers have opted to pay the $10 annual park pass fee during their motor vehicle registration renewal. The pass gives unlimited access to all of Michigan’s 98 parks and 1,000 boat launches. It replaced the previous system, which required the purchase of $6 daily park passes or $24 annual passes affixed to windshields.
View ArticleFebruary 2011 Online - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental History

Exhibit: A woman’s place is in the woods, and on water, and with the wildlife

The Michigan Women’s Historical Center in Lansing is going green with a new history exhibit entitled “Resourceful Women: 30 Who Worked to Preserve Michigan’s Water, Woods, and Wildlife” on display through February 19.
View ArticleFall 2009 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental History

Melodic “Michigander” preferred by readers over highfalutin’ “Michiganian”

Last issue, we asked an unbiased question and stood back disinterestedly to see the results: Did readers prefer the term Michigander and its melodic, friendly, open, harmonious ring? Or did they favor the term Michiganian, thus aligning themselves with nonnative, highbrow, overeducated socially sheltered wimps?
View ArticleSummer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental History

Second MEC historical trail marker to celebrate Kirtland’s warbler resurgence

The second historical marker for a Michigan Environmental Council-sponsored Michigan Conservation Trail was approved by the Michigan Historical Commission this spring. Efforts by communities, scientists and governmental agencies to restore the endangered Kirtland’s warbler are the theme of the marker, which will be installed in the Mio area.
View ArticleSummer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report

Environment Michigan pushes to revive Michigan’s waning wilderness program

Aggressive lobbying and public education by MEC member group Environment Michigan helped convince Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to create the state’s first wilderness designation in 20 years, permanently protecting part of Algonac State Park.
View ArticleSpring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report

Stark beauty of Michigan’s water, need to protect it, are theme of new book

The grandeur of Michigan’s waters is the theme of a new book by prolific author and Michigan Environmental Council advisor Dave Dempsey and photographer David Lubbers.
View ArticleSpring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report

Detroit River: Ruin and recovery

The incredible story of the Detroit River’s decline and resurgence was commemorated Sept. 1 with the placement of the first historical marker on Michigan’s Conservation Trail at the gateway to the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge in Trenton.
View ArticleFall 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
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