Environment Picture

Michigan Environmental Report

Summer 2007

Vol. 25 Issue 3

Seasonal produce! Your choices help make or break the planet

For those who love fresh food, summer is high season in Michigan. Farmers’ markets, roadside vegetable stands and rural vistas of fertile fields inspire a sense of abundance and provide a chance to sample food the way it used to be—locally grown and rich with flavor. If the future of food doesn’t recapture some of that spirit, however, the air, water and other natural resources of the planet will be in growing jeopardy.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: agriculture, food policy

Fuel for thought

An older British woman once described how as a child she would savor the first strawberries picked in season. Nowadays, she said, they just don’t taste as good because you can buy them any time you want at the supermarket. What, besides nostalgia for a simpler and sweeter time, do we really pay for year-round strawberries? For starters, consider the embedded energy resources they represent.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: climate change, food policy

College’s organic farm maintains link between growers and consumers

About 570 students graduated from the Michigan State University College of Agriculture this year, but only 10% studied the actual production of food. As the farming population ages, fewer young people learn historical or even cutting-edge farming techniques. MSU’s student organic farm continues to marry that cutting-edge learning with traditional agricultural practices.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: agriculture, food policy

Finding closest farmers’ markets only a few mouse clicks away

For Michiganders, summer means a chance to sample a wide variety of produce, much of it grown right here and available at roadside stands and farmers’ markets.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: agriculture, food policy

Food and farming on agenda in Lansing, Washington

Here’s a roundup of some notable recent or pending actions on food policy in the world of policy-making, politics and research:
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: food policy, legislation

Variety of strategies used to help keep Michigan farmland from disappearing

Michigan boasts some of the most productive agricultural soils in the world. The diversity of our farm production is second only to California, and farming contributes more than $60 billion each year to Michigan’s economy.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report

Massive factory farms must play by the rules, and tough new rules are desparately needed

Huge factory farms, known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), need to be more accountable to the environment and public health, contends a coalition including the Michigan Environmental Council, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan and many others.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report

Cultivating a saner federal farm policy

Farmers, livestock producers and private forest owners manage more than 30% of Michigan’s landscape. Their decisions dramatically impact water quality, the fate of rare wildlife and even the pace of sprawl.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: agriculture, food policy

A green products glossary

Tossing loads of paper into the recycling bin is half the battle. Choosing products made from recycled material closes the loop, creating demand that spurs new types of “recycled” paper goods and lowers prices as economies of scale kick in.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report

From the farm and Capitol: Awardees blaze own paths

One woman shaped policy from the corridors of power in the State Capitol. The other woman is changing Michigan from, almost literally, the grass roots of her rural farm.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report

Personal choices and Sen. Stabenow: Both factors in how farms protect or destroy our environmental values

I’m ashamed to admit it, but at dinner time I’m a pretty lousy environmentalist. I still eat too high on the food chain (environmental-speak for red meat and other animal flesh); and I seldom organize my weekend around getting to our farmers’ market.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: food policy, legislation

Road map to a better trail system

If citizens and state policy makers decide that a robust, interconnected system of recreational trails is a state priority, now they have a trail map to get them there.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: greenways

Great Lakes, Great Michigan coalition backs strong water protection legislation

Strong legislation to protect the Great Lakes from water diversion and the harmful impacts of water withdrawals and to commit Michigan to the eight-state Great Lakes Compact was introduced in early July. The Michigan Environmental Council and key allies are watchdogging this legislation as it begins its journey through the committee process, trying to garner bipartisan support and the strongest possible package to protect the state’s water-dependent heritage, economy and way of life.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: water protection

Recreational boaters asked to help thwart spread of invaders

Recreational boaters cannot stop international vessels from dumping Asian or European ballast water into the lakes they treasure. But they can take steps to prevent the spread of the invasive organisms that come with the ballast.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: water protection

Coast Guard, Smithsonian fail to provide ballast records to MEC

Records of ballast water uptakes and discharges by international vessels in the Great Lakes are received and processed by the United States Coast Guard and the Smithsonian Institution.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: water protection

GM breaks new ground with LEED certification

The automotive industry is a regular whipping boy for environmentalists in a lather over fuel economy standards and the beyond-petroleum “vision thing.” So what was a contingent from Michigan Environmental Council doing in clean room suits and safety glasses ogling General Motors’ new Delta Township plant outside Lansing in May?
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: clean energy, energy efficiency

Stranger than fiction

It sounded like a story from the tabloids. But there it was in Esquire Magazine: Disturbing stories of killing, mercenary work and covert government assassination by the former head of security at Palisades nuclear power plant.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report

Clean energy: It’s about the economy, dummy!

It’s the economy, stupid! And, the environment as well, according to a new University of Michigan study that shows the two go hand-in-hand when it comes to renewable power, reductions in global warming pollution and incentives for energy efficiency.
View Article2007-07-21  •  Summer 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
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