Stateside: Lake Erie’s cyanobacteria blooms; a net-zero neighborhood; “rights of nature” movement
Today on Stateside, we hear about the plan for a unique “net-zero” community in Ann Arbor. Plus, dispelling the stereotype that Michigan wine can't compete on the world stage.
Listen to the full show above or find individual interviews below.
Churned-up sediment from Lake Huron causing damage down river in Lake Erie
- Each summer, bright green and blue cyanobacteria blooms show up in Lake Erie. Those toxic blooms are largely fed by nutrients from farmland runoff in Ohio and southeastern Michigan. But a new study finds there’s another significant source of nutrients: Lake Huron. Don Scavia is co-author of that study and a professor emeritus of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. He joined us to talk about how Lake Huron is contributing to Lake Erie’s persistent cyanobacteria problem.
Ann Arbor development aims to be model for climate-friendly neighborhoods of the future
- For a few years now, a group of people have been working to get a net-zero community up and running in Ann Arbor. That hasn’t always been easy. The proposed development challenges a lot of government’s rules and regulations about buildings and neighborhoods. It’s called Veridian at County Farm. The project is the brainchild of Matthew Grocoff, founder of the green building company THRIVE collaborative. He discussed the vision behind Veridian at County Farm, and how the development would eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and conserve resources like water.
Should ecosystems have rights? Exploring the legal logic behind “rights of nature” movement.
- You might recall that the City of Toledo approved something called the “Lake Erie Bill of Rights” earlier this year. This was the first time in the U.S. that a municipality approved a “rights of nature” for a distinct ecosystem, but it’s part of a broader international movement. We talked to Oday Salim, director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Clinic at the University of Michigan, about the legal logic behind the “rights of nature” movement, and how granting ecosystems personhood might help protect them.
Mapping the people and places in Michigan most vulnerable to climate change
- Climate change is not some future problem. It’s happening here in Michigan in lots of different ways. University of Michigan researchers have been looking at what’s changing and who is most vulnerable to the effects. Stateside talked to Trish Koman, a research investigator at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, about mapping climate change vulnerability.
Roundup: Former lawmakers skirt lobbying laws by labeling themselves consultants
- Michigan lawmakers can’t serve more than two terms in the state Senate and three terms in the House. Because of that, many former legislators look to capitalize on their experience by becoming lobbyists after leaving office. But, according to a report in the Detroit News by Craig Mauger, some of those registered lobbyists don’t report whom they represent as required by law. That's because they say they aren't actually lobbyists—they're consultants.
- We discussed the distinction with our Friday political commentators. TJ Bucholz is president of Vanguard Public Affairs, a progressive political strategy firm, and worked for both Governors Engler and Granholm. Ken Sikkema is a Senior Policy Fellow for Public Sector Consultants, and a former Republican Majority Leader of the Michigan Senate.