The Green Room

Monthly 6:50 a.m. and 8:50 a.m.

The Green Room radio show is a collaboration between the WEMU News Department and the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division. Through her work with the County, Barbara also co-produces a monthly Green Room  television show with Ann Arbor's CTN, Channel 19.

The Green Room will take listeners out into the community as reporter, Barbara Lucas, explores important, local environmental topics. Lucas will not only get to the heart of these issues, but will provide a soundscape that supplements and enhances the subject matter, and advances the story in the minds of listeners.


89.1 WEMU News Director, David Fair, serves as Executive Producer for the monthly feature which will air at 6:50 a.m. and 8:50 a.m.


Noelle Bowman

While the repeated use of cloth bags makes them a better choice for the environment, the free throwaway bags at checkout are hard to resist.  Is this really a problem?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores why the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners is looking into a reusable bag ordinance.

Mary Ferguson

Now’s the time of year a few Snowy owls might arrive in Michigan, if we’re lucky.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores a few of Michigan’s owls:  the dangers they face, and why we should care.

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Whether honeybees or native bees, local or global—bees are in trouble.  And since nearly a hundred of our crops are pollinated by them, their trouble is our trouble! What can we do?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas talks with a few of the many people in our local area working to save bees.

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Americans spend less of their household budget on food than do citizens of any other country.  Should we spend more, to reduce long-term impacts to the planet?  How do we decide what products are “greenest,” anyway?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s  The Green Room, Barbara Lucas explores two perspectives regarding the sustainability of foods grown right here in Michigan.

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Driverless Cars are in the news: On July, 20th, the University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center unveiled its test track for connected, automated vehicles. Once thought of as fantasy, driverless cars are real and are being researched right here in our backyard. In this installment of 89.1 WEMU's 'The Green Room,' Barbara Lucas looks at the environmental implications of this cutting edge technology. 

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Some consider breastfeeding to be one of the best ways to promote both human and environmental health. In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores the benefits and challenges of ensuring that all babies have access to breastmilk.

Richard Neitzel

The average American household has twenty-four electronic devices—most are destined for the dump when we’re done with them.  We are upgrading at ever-increasing rates, and challenges to getting our discards recycled safely are mounting.  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at what we can do to lessen the environmental impact of our love of the “latest and greatest” in electronics.

89.1 WEMU

Michigan’s maple syrup industry is growing at a time when climate change is both shortening the sap collection season and moving northward the range of sugar maples.  But new technologies have increased efficiencies, and the recent cold winters have been great for maple sugar farmers. 


Things are sweet in Michigan’s Sugarbush!  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores the environmental considerations of this homegrown industry.

Tara Habeck

Are today's children spending too much time indoors and online? Might a year-round, outdoors education serve them well? Find out as The Green Room explores 'Learning Without Walls.' 

Barbara Lucas

To decrease its carbon footprint, the Climate Action Plan of Ann Arbor calls for increasing walking, biking and public transit.  But heavy precipitation events have increased 37% in the Midwest in the last century, and keeping pathways clear can be a challenge.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” we explore local attempts to make sustainable travel viable, year-round.

Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon / NASA Earth Observatory.

Toxic algae has been plaguing Lake Erie—why, and what can we do to stop it?  Perspectives abound, especially when it comes to whether or not measures to prevent it should be voluntary or prescribed by law.  In this month’s “Green Room” show Barbara Lucas explores this simple organism and the complex problems it’s causing.  

Leah Wiste

Michigan gets more sunlight than Germany. Why does that matter? Germany happens to be the world leader in solar installations.  But we lag far behind Germany in terms of how much of our solar energy we harness.  In this segment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at factors that may spur more local folks to go solar.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In today’s world, most of our food comes in packages at from the grocery store, and few of us have a real connection to how it got there.  The locavore movement is all about  the benefits of knowing your foods. In the November installment of 89.1 WEMU's 'The Green Room', we  look at local groups reaping myriad benefits of from working to grow their own food.

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Bats are in double trouble:  Bat species that migrate long distances are being killed in wind turbines, while White-nose syndrome is devastating bat species that migrate shorter distances.  Meanwhile, homeowners routinely kill bats when they find them in their houses.  But we need bats (just not in our attics!), so safe and humane removal can be done via a “bat exclusion.” That's the focus of the Halloween installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room".   

Jane Purslow

DDT wiped out Osprey from Southern Michigan, but a reintroduction program has resulted in over fifty breeding pairs in the region.  It is reason to celebrate, but several challenges remain. Listen for more in the September edition of WEMU’s “The Green Room”. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

After years of industrial contamination and economic stagnation, things may be turning around in Ann Arbor’s Lower Town, thanks to a new recreational feature in the Huron River, and the soon-to-be-announced DTE proposal to develop the Mich-Con property across the river.  Community responses are mixed, ranging from cautious optimism to elation.  

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Michigan's bee population has been devastated. Monarch Butterflies are in swift decline. Our food, and landscaping habits, may be to blame.

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Approximately 15 percent of Americans under age 70 have preventable noise-related hearing loss. New research is showing that seemingly benign levels of noise can have impacts, and the effects can go far beyond just hearing loss. In this month’s edition of 89.1 WEMU's “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores sound in our environment and it’s potential effects. 

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Water is life-giving, but too much, too fast is destructive. Climate change is causing more severe rainstorms, creating challenges for both homeowners and municipal governments.

On May 6th, voters will decide a millage to fund expanded bus services in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township.  While disagreeing on the question of a tax increase, both supporters and opponents support expanded services.  Environmentalists say buses help communities achieve their climate action goals, and so increasing ridership is crucial.  This month’s “Green Room” hears from a variety of local residents about what improvements they would like to see in our local bus system.

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In nature, Chimney Swifts nest in large hollow trees, but when the logging of Michigan did away with those, the swifts adapted to large chimneys.  

Now, suitable chimneys are also in short supply, and Swift numbers are dwindling.  In the March installment of The Green Room​, Barbara Lucas looks at what we can do to help out.

Barbara Lucas

 Energy conservation is low-hanging fruit--no new technology, power plants or pipelines are required.  But it can be a stubborn nut to crack if there is no financial motivation to conserve, and the question of motivation all depends on who pays the bills. 

Additional Resources:

Barbara Lucas

What plans do you have for your body after death? More people than ever are looking for ways to better serve the environment in their post-life decisions. What are the options? Which is better for the environment? That's the focus of this month's installment of WEMU's The Green Room. 

Andrea Matthies

High numbers of White-tailed deer in the southern Lower Peninsula are causing concerns about deer-car collisions, rising auto insurance premiums, crop losses, Lyme Disease borne by deer ticks, lack of forest regeneration, and ecosystem imbalance, to name just of few of the many issues.  Opinions on what to do about the abundance of deer are even more wide-ranging.  In this installment of WEMU’s The Green Room, Barbara Lucas examines some of the complexities involved, and some of the solutions offered.

Barbara Lucas

Collegiate athletic events are big generators:  of excitement, of revenue, and of waste.  How can we cut down on the trash, while leaving the finances and fun intact?  In this month's installment of The Green Room, WEMU looks at game-day waste at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, and Michigan stadium in Ann Arbor.

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