CNS Environmental budget, Jan. 3, 2022

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Jan. 3, 2022 CNS Budget – Environmental stories package

To: CNS Editors

From: Eric Freedman and David Poulson

For technical problems, contact CNS technical manager Eryn Ho at (616) 485-9295,

For other matters, contact Dave Poulson at (517) 899-1640; or Eric Freedman at (517) 256-3873;

NOTE TO EDITORS: This is our annual winter break package of Michigan environmental stories in collaboration with our partner, Great Lakes Echo. The 1st regular file of the spring 2022 semester will come on Friday, Jan. 21. 

WELCOME ALPENA AND PLANET DETROIT: We’re pleased to welcome the Alpena News and the nonprofit news outlet Planet Detroit as CNS members.


LIVING FOSSILS COMMENTARY: The writer reflects on his childhood move from Texas to South Haven and life lessons for himself and others from Petoskey stones and Western Michigan fossils, geology, streams and trails in the age of climate change. Commentary. By Nick Simon. FOR HOLLAND, PETOSKEY, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, BENZIE COUNTY, HARBOR SPRINGS, LEELANAU, CHEBOYGAN, OCEANA COUNTY and ALL POINTS.

NUCLEAR RISK: As Michigan moves away from coal and other brown energy sources, there’s growing interest in carbon-free alternatives, including nuclear energy, which now fuels 30% of the state’s electricity. Big Rock Point in Charlevoix closed in 1997 and has been fully decommissioned. Next spring, the Palisades Nuclear Plant in Van Buren County will close. Michigan also has nuclear plants in Newport and Bridgman. Among the dilemmas: what to do with nuclear waste. We talk to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists and an Indigenous environmental expert. Cameryn Cass. FOR MONROE, ADRIAN, BLISSFIELD, DETROIT, BAY MILLS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, CORP! and ALL POINTS.

w/NUCLEAR RISK PHOTO: The Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant in Charlevoix was decommissioned in 1997. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Editors: This seven-story package on climate solutions in Michigan was written by advanced reporting students at the MSU School of Journalism. Each story stands alone, but you may want to run them as a series or sub-package them by theme (Energy: LOW INCOME SOLAR and BUILDING CODES; Agriculture: SILVOPASTURE, CROP SHIFT and COMMUNITY GARDENS; Nature: TREE VACUUMS and INDIGENEOUS CLIMATE).

w/CLIMATE SOLUTIONS LOGO: Credit: Asher Freedman

COMMUNITY GARDENS: Community gardens can provide fresh produce to people without gardens of their own and help build a sense of community, although their overall impact on climate change may not be significant. We talk with a planner at the Western U.P. Planning and Development Region based in Hancock, a professor at MSU’s Department of Community Sustainability and the managing director of Project Grow, an Ann Arbor-based community garden nonprofit. By Hope O’Dell. FOR MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE, DETROIT, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, LANSING CITY PULSE and ALL POINTS.

w/COMMUNITY GARDENS PHOTO: A car filled with produce from the Western Upper Peninsula Food Systems Collaborative. Courtesy photo.

TREE VACUUMS: DTE Energy and the DNR have teamed up to use nature’s most powerful vacuums – trees – to suck up excess carbon produced and released into the atmosphere that is causing climate change. The project is taking place on 100,000 acres in “The Big Wild” of the Pigeon River Country State Forest. We talk to DNR, the director of the Forest Carbon and Climate Program at MSU, DTE and a climate solutions company. By Jack Falinski. FOR CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, MONTMORENCY, ALCONA, CRAWFORD COUNTY, DETROIT and ALL POINTS.

SILVOPASTURE: Growing crops, trees and livestock on the same land could help farmers battle climate change, a technique that is known as silvopasture. Extension educators in Clinton County and Cornell University and a Midland County farmer explain. By Caroline Miller. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS and ALL POINTS.

LOW-INCOME SOLAR: Low-income households consume three times the energy used by middle class families, and solar energy can provide them with cheaper energy. Constructing a more resistant grid and reducing energy output is crucial to ending climate change, especially in lower-income households. A Consumers Energy agricultural specialist, a member of the Public Service Commission and a solar company with offices in Grand Rapids, Wixon and Riverdale discuss . By Chloe West. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, WKTV, CORP! MICHIGAN FARM NEWS and ALL POINTS.

INDIGENEOUS CLIMATE: The Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and MSU are fighting climate change while preserving Anishinaabeg cultural practices. Incorporating Indigenous voices and working with the tribe has transformed their approach to science and research, including planned burns, according to a tribal wildlife biologist and an MSU fisheries & wildlife professor who co-lead the new Center for Cooperative Ecological Resilience. We also talk with a tribal assessment biologist who researches the impact of ishkode, or fire, on grouse in the U.P. ‘s Hiawatha National Forest. By Chloe Trofatter. FOR BAY MILLS, MARQUETTE, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, LEELANAU, ST. IGNACE, WKTV, CHEBOYGAN, HOLLAND and ALL POINTS.

CROP SHIFT: Climate change is shifting how far north crops can grow in Michigan, but don’t expect avocados. We talk with experts at the Michigan Climate Action Network based in Traverse City, MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners and the executive director of Michigan Agriculture Advancement. For news and agriculture sections. By Sheldon Krause. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, WKTV, GREENVILLE, IONIA, BLISSFIELD, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, CADILLAC, TRAVERSE CITY, MONROE, BIG RAPIDS, HILLSDALE, COLDWATER, ADRIAN and ALL POINTS.

BUILDING CODES: From insect-based dog food to fusion energy, proposed solutions to climate change vary wildly, but there’s one mundane solution that affects nearly everyone — building codes. Michigan’s are updated every six years, most recently in 2015, meaning the state Building Code Commission is working to establish new ones. Environmentalists say it’s an opportunity to tackle a relatively unaddressed driver of climate change but acknowledge the updates are unlikely to eliminate natural gas in homes, a move they advocate. We hear from the commission’s chair, a Michigan Environmental Council policy specialist and the executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s West Michigan chapter. By Jake Christie. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP! WKTV, HOLLAND, GREENVILLE, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, OCEANA COUNTY, THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, IONIA and ALL POINTS.


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