Green Visions

A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m.  Green Visions is brought to you by All Energy Solar, Minnesota Power Energy Conservation Program, and Energy Plus.

©Kevin Stanke. Used with permission.

Duluth is surrounded by beautiful parks, and after a year or more of staying home, we're all ready to get outside.

But for some folks, the yearly state park pass or even the day permit isn't in the budget.

The solution?  Head to the Duluth Public Library, present your library card and check out a free pass to a state park - any state park - for up to a week.

More information about the MN State Parks Library Program is available here:

Ecolibrium 3

Ecolibrium3 is at it again.

Lincoln Park's sustainiability and revitalization hub plans to welcome an expanded cohort of VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) volunteers in August to serve 26 non-profit and public agencies all across northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began to dredge contaminated sediment out of Howards Bay in Superior, Wisconsin.

© June Brenneman/NRRI

Alexis Grinde thinks she has the best job in the world.

And if you love birds, being paid to study them and talk to people about them isn't a bag gig at all.

There's good news to report, including fewer species with the plummeting numbers we saw back in the day with eagle and other raptor populations being ravaged by DDT.  But the slow decline of many other species means bird lovers need to act now.

Rob Levine/Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

The Minnesota Supreme Court's decision to  rescind PolyMet's permit to mine in essence, returned both mining and environmental advocates to their respective corners - but both are claiming victory.

PolyMet is hoping they can avoid hearings on the "upstream" mine waste dam and its majority owner, Glencore.

But environmentalists, who have found problems with additional project permits since 2018 are hoping this is a good place to stop, reassess and ask the hard question: Can this project move ahead legally at all?

Michael Milligan/US EPA

No stops in Duluth for the Research Vessel (R/V) Lake Guardian this year, but they're anything but out of touch.

The April mission to sample water and biological organisms in all five Great Lakes left Milwaukee April 1, and the 11 scientists aboard have been working 12 hour shifts to collect samples and data.

Dr. Ben Santer's life changed that day he got a phone call from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), asking him to be the lead author of a chapter on the causes of climate change for the 1995 Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The world changed the day these words were published: “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

Johnny Silvercloud/Flickr

No one's particularly surprised to discover a big corporation or entity is lying to the public.

Actually, we kind of expect it.

But Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is blowing past that kind of defeatism by filing suit last summer against Big Oil, charging they knew in the '60s about climate change, deliberately lied to Minnesotans about it, and made about $775 billion dollars in the process.

The fossil fuel companies had hoped to move their case to federal court, asserting that it was a suit about climate change and most appropriately tried there.

Barb Barton/Flickr

It's not that people ignore news stories about climate change ... it's just that the information seems to really sink in when folks hear someone talk about how the climate crisis is affecting them.

So to that end, environmental activist Tone Lanzillo is coming up with ways for people to tell their stories - and there's even a newsletter and a podcast in the mix.

International Wolf Center

When Chad Richardson's son announced that wolves had been added to the newest update to the online video game Fortnite, the family paid attention.

Richardson is the communications director for the International Wolf Center, so he was curious about how wolves were presented in the game.

Turns out it's perpetuating a couple of troubling stereotypes: wolves as snarling predators that attack humans or as animals that can be tamed and turned into pets.

Andrea Pokrzywinski/Flickr

Here's what we know: Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are getting into Lake Superior and getting into fish.

Here's something else we know: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) are the most common of these chemicals and they bio-accumulate - which means they move through the food chain.

Kira auf der Heide/Unsplash

Old, energy-inefficient houses are bad enough.  But add some dangerously cold weather and people needing to stay home thanks to a pandemic and you've got a triple-whammy for homeowners and renters.

Eli Duke/Flickr

Yes, here in the upper Midwest, our wind turbines are winterized. And unlike texas, Minnesota is connected to a larger power grid.

But back during the"polar vortex" of 2019, we had trouble up here pulling the power we needed from the grid down south.

And Isabel Ricker, the Senior Clean Electricity Manager of Fresh Energy, says the key is connections: infrastructure connections like new and upgraded wiring, and connections in the form of creating relationships.

Ecolibrium 3

Everything from "personal awareness" to city-level action: that's what the Duluth Citizen's Climate Action Plan lays out for folks.

The plan aims to help our community reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a climate-resilient community without forgetting about considerations of equity and social justice.

You can read the plan here:

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