Environment

Flickr - BobboSphere

Last week, as much as 1,600 gallons of oil spilled into Lake Michigan from the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, 20 miles from Chicago. After a week-long cleanup, authorities say they have found no further trace of spilled oil in the area. However, the political ramifications of the spill are likely to remain long after this incident. The BP refinery processes oil from tar sands found in Canada. Tar sands contain a thick petroleum that’s gaining popularity as a new energy source. New technology is making it easier to mine tar sands, but some worry that could increase the likelihood of more spills like the one last week.

Flickr - poptech/John Santerre

While for some media outlets photography is taking a back seat, at National Geographic it continues to be a central part of the brand. The photos featured in the magazine not only take readers around the world, but they also help tell the story of our changing environment.

Neighbors in Action: Michigan Food and Farming Systems

Mar 26, 2014
Courtesy of www.miffs.org

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the Michigan Food & Farming Systems, or MIFFS. It’s a statewide organization based in East Lansing that advocates for and offers assistance to new and women farmers, as well as those from underrepresented groups in Michigan’s agriculture industry.

Flickr - chefranden

At the end of each month on Current State, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the Basin.

Grass carp, the overlooked Asian carp

Mar 18, 2014
Flickr - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Most people have heard about Asian Carp and the threat they pose to the Great Lakes. However, many don't understand what the label Asian carp means. There are many types of fish that fall under the Asian carp umbrella, each bringing their own unique peril to the Great Lakes basin. One type of Asian carp that is overlooked and underestimated is the grass carp.

Fickr - cseeman

The mercury is slowing climbing and Thursday marks the first day of spring. As the snow fades away it’s time to be aware of the dangers of flooding. High water can be a dangerous scenario for drivers on the roads and also for anyone in low-lying areas. First responders are getting ready for those potential hazards.

Models help communities plan for climate change

Mar 11, 2014
Flickr - Sagittariuss

Trying to determine the impacts of climate change is a difficult task. There are hundreds of different factors which could determine how communities are influenced. To more effectively understand the challenges associated with climate change, scientists are using system dynamics models. Current State’s Emanuele Berry spoke with Laura Schmitt-Olabisi, an ecologist and modeler at Michigan State University, about her latest project that explores how higher temperatures could impact Detroit.

When passenger pigeons filled Michigan skies

Mar 6, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Later this year, we mark the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon---the last being a resident of a Cincinatti zoo.  The well-publicized event capped the annihilation of a species whose population at one point was so overwhelming that one ornithologist believed there were more passenger pigeons than all other species combined. 

Efforts to bring the population under control began back in the mid 19th century, in part because enormous flocks wreaked havoc on trees and farms.

Could Michigan do more with its water resources?

Mar 4, 2014
Flickr - gbozik photography

With snow piled deep across the Great Lakes region, there are hopes that the upcoming melt will push lake levels higher. It’s a scenario envied by many in the American west, especially in California where residents are being hammered by the severest drought in three decades. 

Flickr - Yannick Bammert

How much longer?  That’s the question on most of our minds as March 1st and “meteorological spring” arrive.  Current State got a spring forecast preview from WILX’s Andy Provenzano.

NASA Goddard Photo and Video

At the end of each month we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review, we’re focusing on Governor Snyder’s environmental efforts and algae blooms.

Supreme Court hears arguments on EPA's reach

Feb 24, 2014
Flickr - SalFalko

The U. S. Supreme Court hears arguments today that will help determine the scope of what kinds of emissions the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate. The outcome could have a big effect on industrial facilities nationwide.

A wealth of water could shape Detroit's future

Feb 24, 2014
Flickr - cseeman

While the city of Detroit works to overcome its financial troubles, some see a bright future for the city because of  Detroit’s location.

Innovative urban tree farm to plant soon in Detroit

Feb 18, 2014
Flickr - Mr.Mac2009


After years of delays, Hantz farm is starting to take shape. In 2009, John Hantz, CEO of Southfield-based Hantz Group LLC proposed building the world’s largest urban farm in Detroit. After cutting through red tape and shifting plans to center on building an urban tree farm, the project is starting to unfold.

Ingham commissioners consider parks millage

Feb 13, 2014
Flickr - UGArdener

The Ingham County Board of Commissioners is looking at a possible county parks millage. Earlier this week, the body asked its County Services committee to begin work on a draft proposal. The focus of a millage would primarily be an expansion of Lansing’s Rivertrail network.

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