Climate

Detroit River Institute Dispatch from the Road: Day Two

The Detroit River crew continued their adventures on Friday with a day focused on rivers, wetlands, water quality, and conservation efforts.

Check out the Storify synopsis of Day 2 of the Institute!

Institute Announcement: Detroit River

The Detroit River and downtown skyline. Photo courtesy Flickr user rexp2

IJNR invites applications for its Detroit River Institute, an expenses-paid learning expedition that will explore natural resource, agricultural, economic and human health issues in and around Detroit, Michigan. Content of the fellowship program will be relevant not only to journalists in the Great Lakes Basin, but to those working throughout North American cities as well. Radio, television, print and online journalists of all ages and experience levels are eligible to apply.

While the agenda for the Detroit River Institute is still being completed, current planned stops will introduce journalists to:

  • The Detroit River, which holds the hopes of a proposed redevelopment highlighting its ecological and economic comeback, while also bearing the burden of outflow from one the nation’s largest single-site (and most problematic) wastewater treatment plants.
  • Life in the 48217 zip code, a neighborhood of Arab, African-American and Latino residents surrounded by heavy industries like steel plants and the Marathon Petroleum refinery. The EPA’s toxicity score for the area is 45 times higher than the state average, leading to myriad health and environmental justice concerns.
  • Eastern Market, a historic urban marketplace working to not only connect consumers to locally grown, fresh food but to also procure some of that food from Detroit’s urban gardens and help inner-city agriculture flourish in the city.
  • The city planners, farmers and organizations working to grow and organize Detroit’s urban agriculture landscape now that unused land is plentiful and official zoning regulations are on the books.
  • Ford Motor Company’s Wayne County Plant, where the industry that gave birth to “Motor City” is attempting to reinvent both itself and the technology that made Detroit possible by building new electric and hybrid cars and planning for a much different auto industry future.

These are just a few of the issues currently being considered for an Institute that will use Detroit as its hub and visit several locations both in and around the city over the course of four to five days. The trip may also include programming like: Lake St. Clair dredging and its impact of Great Lakes water levels and the shipping industry; Belle Isle, the newly created Michigan state park in downtown Detroit, and the move to adopt more “deconstruction” versus demolition of abandoned houses.

2014 Shale Country Institute Preview

We're just two weeks away from the start of our 2014 Shale Country Institute, which will bring 18 journalists from around the country to learn all about fracking in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. As usual, we'll be posting daily dispatches from the road during the Institute, and you can follow along virtually right here on The Nooze. We'll also be tweeting about the program at #IJNR_shale.

Curious about the route we'll take and the topics we'll cover? Check it all out here:

[googlemaps https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/embed?mid=zOb4U1zJNCrY.kKw_PH9aUExA&w=640&h=480]

And, last but not least, we'd like to congratulate and welcome the fine journalists who have been selected to join us on this journey:

Pat Bywater - Meadville Tribune Stephen Cunningham - Bloomberg News Mary Esch - AP John Finnerty - Community Newspapers (PA) Peter Green - Freelance Kalea Hall - The Vindicator Kathi Kowalski - Freelance Martin LaMonica - Freelance Joe Mahoney - Daily Star Stephanie Ogburn - KUNC Steve Orr - Democrat and Chronicle Joanna Richards - WCNP/Ideastream Lonnie Shekhtman - The Boston Globe Lisa Song - InsideClimate News Miranda Spencer - Freelance/Daily Climate Lana Straub - Freelance Dave Unger - Christian Science Monitor Patricia Villone - CTV News

Earth Month, Day 13: Four-part Lake Series

Today on Earth Month, a dynamic duo of alumni present a four-part series examining threats to the quality of Wisconsin lakes, and ambitious new efforts that seek to improve them.  Also, how can you not love the incredible quote they got to lead off the story?

“There are no trends in the lakes. The lake water quality is not getting better. It’s not getting notably worse. It’s as if the interventions we’re doing are just holding the line, running in place like the red queen in Alice in Wonderland.”             - Steve Carpenter, University of Madison

 

Kate GoldenJessica VanEgerenWithout further ado, here's Kate Golden, with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and Jessica VanEgeren with The Capital Times, partnering up to bring you:

 

Murky Waters

PART 1: BEACH BUMMER Yahara beach closures highlight algae, bacteria threats statewide

PART 2: MANURE MESS Manure digesters seen as best hope for curbing lake pollution, but drawbacks remain

PART 3: URBAN POLLUTION Leaky sewer pipes could export viruses to lakes

PART 4: CHALLENGES AHEAD Lake scientists to Kegonsa: Lower your water quality expectations

A experimental boom surrounded Madison’s B.B. Clarke beach in 2010 to keep out algae, though it ended up being closed June 24 for high E. coli levels. Algae and bacteria are the prime causes for beach closures throughout the Madison area and the state. Mike DeVries/The Capital Times

Earth Month, Day 11: Fire and Ice

Two stories for your reading and listening pleasure on this Monday morning installment of Earth Month. kirk sieglerFirst, from Kirk Siegler with NPR, a look at how researchers are trying to unlock the mysteries of wildfire, as fire season bears down on the Southwest:

Ahead of Wildfire Season, Scientists Study What Fuels Fires

As fire managers in the drought-stricken Southwest gear up for another long and expensive wildfire season, federal fire scientists are trying to better understand the physics behind what makes blazes spread.

At a U.S. Forest Service fire lab in Riverside, Calif., a team of scientists is conducting daily experiments over the next few months on different fire behavior conditions. They hope to hand off their findings to fire managers, who have to make the quick decisions on where to deploy resources that could protect lives and property.

The centerpiece of the lab is a 30-foot-long, 10-foot-high wind tunnel and inside is a layer of wood shavings meant to mimic a dry, forest floor. Above them, resting on a shelf, are freshly picked green shrubs, the live green trees in this soon-to-be simulated forest fire.

"OK, collect in three, two, one. Start!" shouts lab technician Christian Bartolome, a graduate student at nearby UC Riverside... Read more.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY-aH1XYoIc?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

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Lizzie GrossmanAnd Elizabeth Grossman writes in High Country News about the risk oil spills pose to people living in the Arctic:

The Growing Concern about Arctic Oil Spills

Standing on the snowy  shore of the Bering Sea in the village of Gambell, Alaska (population 681) on a blindingly bright but frigid day, I watched skiffs load and launch for the first whale hunt of 2014. Ice piled high along the shoreline and the horizon was rimmed with sea ice beyond the open water. A cluster of snow-machines was parked above the beach as boat crews arrived and families and dogs watched the action. Life centers on the ocean here so it’s appalling to imagine what would happen if this community that sits on the western edge of St. Lawrence Island were to find itself beset by an oil spill... Read more.