Issues of the Environment

Wednesdays during Morning Edition
battery recycling
Wikimedia Commons

Recycling batteries aren't always as easy as you might think. All too many end up in our landfills, and have the potential to cause serious environmental damage. In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, you'll learn the environmental issues, the barriers to better recycling and what you can do about it.  


Sharing and exchanging skills is not a new concept, but the A2 TimeBank hopes to corral locals into organizing into a true community resource, building for the future.  

  

WikiMedia Commons

Last week, stores in Washtenaw County sold out of bottled water due to an influx of residents from the Toledo, Ohio area where local tap water was declared unfit to consume after toxic algae blooms infected Lake Erie.

Courtesy Image / Mitchell and Mouat Architects

Two  affordable housing projects are planned in Ann Arbor that aim to create  sustainable and healthier lives for low-income residents. If it works as planned, it will also add economic and community benefit to the neighborhoods in which they reside. 

Overview

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards
oilfreebackyards.org

A Grassroots Organization Vows To Fight On To Prevent Oil Drilling Despite Court Loss 

 Residents of Scio Township are somewhat divided about drilling for oil in their neighborhoods.

In this week's installment of 'Issues of the Environment', we explore the growing benefits of salvage wood and the difference it's making right here at home.  


Jason and Julia Gold / www.ourhandmadelife.com

Meet the Gold family from Superior Township. They've turned their land into an innovative,  self-sustaining property. 

  Overview   

The Gold family owns and operates a farming “homestead” in Washtenaw County known as “Our Handmade Life”, where they live a self-sustaining, green life and they offer courses to the public on how they do it.

The farm, on Vreeland Road, features a bio-intensive passive greenhouse (no fossil fuels!), the Michigan Folk School, dozens of varieties of organic produce, mushrooms, goats, and chickens.

Jason and Julia Gold have operated “Our Handmade Life” since 2011, and both the farm and the school have expanded every year since. They are currently offering classes on chicken butchering, earth ovens, soap making, fermentation, ale brewing, and much more.

Flickr

Boaters Can Take Responsibility for Mitigation of Environmental Harm

Overview

  • The I-75 Green Corridor Project began with the goal of allowing  drivers to traverse any portion of I-75--which runs from Sault Ste. Marie to Miami, Florida--making the entire trip on biofuel, either E85 and B20.

  • While ethanol fuels do significantly reduce air pollution and GHG emissions, their environmental benefit may be less impactful than originally hoped..

Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance

Deer overpopulation in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County is responsible for increasing home and vehicle property damage and is threatening the area's ecological balance.

This week, David Fair talks with Maurita Holland about the issues creating the problem and the potential solutions.

Wikipedia

Thousands have taken to the City of Ann Arbor's expanded composting program. It now allows residents to add all food scraps to their composting carts, and keeps the material out of landfills, benefiting the environment and, ultimately, the budget. WEMU's David Fair discusses the early successes of the program with Ann Arbor Solid Waste Coordinator, Tom McMurtrie 

Courtesy Photo / sciotownship.org

   Overview

Scio Twp residents living near the intersection of Zeeb and Dexter-Ann Arbor roads have received inquiries about leasing the mineral rights on their property from Traverse City-based West Bay Exploration Company.

creatingsustainablelandscapes.com

In this week's installment of "Issues of the Environment,"  WEMU's David Fair talks with Drew Lathin about the environmental benefits of sustainable landscaping. Lathin is Principal Owner of Creating Sustainable Landscapes.  

  

Wikipedia

Michigan ranks dead last among Great Lakes states when it comes to the rate of recycling. Governor Snyder Snyder is taking the first step forward to try and change Michigan's standing. 

In this week's installment of  Issues of  the Environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Michigan Recycling Coalition Executive Director Kerrin O'Brian about where that first step may lead. 

Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

  

Overview

On May 6th, voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township will weigh in on a ballot proposal for new 0.7 mill property tax to pay for expanded public transportation services, primarily AAATA busing.

A Ready-Mix concrete company, McCoig Materials, is looking to open up a mine on a site north of Chelsea, between the Waterloo and Pinckney Recreation areas. The area has numerous bodies of water and natural areas that could be impacted by the move. McCoig wants to operate the mine for 22 to 30 years and remove 11 million tons of sand and gravel. 

This week on 89.1 WEMU's Issues of the Environment, Dr. Lynn Walter, Professor Emerita of Geology at the University of Michigan, will discuss the environmental impacts of sand mining and the controversial operation proposed for Lyndon and Scio Townships.

Road Salt
Sgt. Jorge Intriago / U.S. Air National Guard Photo

    

Overview

  • The Washtenaw County Road Commission reports laying down 50% more road salt this winter than last year and using twice as much as in 2012.
  • Although thus far no ill effects from salt in Huron River watershed have been detected, road salt has a number of environmentally destructive effects impacting water, soil, wildlife, and public health, and if extreme winter weather conditions become the norm the effects could escalate.
  • Ric Lawson, Watershed Planner for the Huron River Watershed Council, implements watershed plans in Washtenaw County and monitors water quality for salt and other sediments in our waterways.

http://053.housedems.com/

    

As Concerns About the Pall/Gelman Plume Linger, Rep. Jeff Irwin Pushes House Bill to Require the MDEQ to Align Contaminate Clean-up Standards with EPA Standards

  

Snowy Owls don't make it to Washtenaw County every winter. They made it this winter in greater numbers than usual. Why? Where might you see one?  In this week's installment of WEMU's Issues of the Environment, David Fair seeks out answers to those questions.

U.S. National Park Service

There has to be some good that comes from all of the snow, ice and frigid temperatures, right?  In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, WEMU's David Fair explores how the environment may benefit from these conditions, come the spring and summer.

Listen to David's conversation with LimnoTech Senior Scientist, Dr. John Lenters:

Drinking tap water in Ann Arbor is common practice. It rates rather highly in terms of quality and taste, and most find it difficult to tell the difference between city water and bottled water. Many may not know that research shows pharmaceutical drugs are making it into the water supply.

In this week's "Issues of the Environment"  89.1 WEMU's David Fair explores the issue and what it may mean for you. The guest this week is Larry Sanford, the city of Ann Arbors' Assistant Manager of Water Treatment Services. 


University of Michigan Ford Battery Lab, University of Michigan Partners with Ford Motor Company on an $8 Million Car Battery Development Lab
Joseph Xu / University of Michigan

 On this week's Issues of the Environment, Andy Drews, Technical Specialist at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, discusses Ford's partnership with the University of Michigan for car battery research and the future of car batteries and electric cars in Washtenaw County.

Listen to the extended interview here:

Space Science And Engineering Center- University of Wisconsin - Madison

Had enough of the cold and snow already? It has been the snowiest January in this area in history. Add in the polar vortex and frigid temperatures, and it's been a somewhat trying winter. Why is it happening, and will it continue to happen in winters to come? 

 This week on Issues of the Environment our guest is  Dr. Tom Kovacs, Associate Professor of Meteorology at Eastern Michigan University.  Kovaks teaches courses on the effects of climate change on weather and will discuss the consequences for our county.

Courtesy / Facebook / Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley

This week the discussion centers around dispelling the myths of affordable housing. New affordable housing is often equated with being "cheaply built."  We didn't have a definitive answer on the subject, so we went looking. We found that quite opposite is true.  

Our guest this week builds affordable homes in the Metro Detroit Region; quality and efficiency is what makes them affordable. 

Rob Nissly, Housing Director for Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley will discuss the connection between reigning in energy costs and homeownership for lower income residents of Washtenaw County.

We're halfway through the first month of 2014, and many of the those New Year resolutions have already fallen by the wayside....

With the New Year in mind, it's really never too late to consider new resolution and perhaps some that benefit the environment.  Sometimes it's the small things. Everyone pitching in can make a difference.  Melissa Sargent of Local Motion Green at the Ecology Center is our guest this week, helping identify some of those small personal actions we can take on as  new year resolutions to help create a healthier and more sustainable environment.

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