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Re: E-M:/ What were the most important environmental issues/stories/events of 2007?


There are three critical stories not widely covered by the media in 2007.

1. The virtual disappearance of the benthic invertebrate, Diporeia, in all the Great Lakes except Lake Superior may signal
a "tipping point" in the slide to total ecological collapse of the lakes. Diporeia is a critical member of the Lake Michigan food web.
It's disappearance threatens the entire living system. Contact Dr. Donald Scavia, Director of the Michigan Sea Grant Program at the University of Michigan about this situation. And check out his testimony before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment on September 13, 2006.

2. The use of a SLAPP Suit by Meijer Corporation to stop local opposition to building of a supper store in Grand Traverse County.
Meijer also tried to secretly recall the township elected government (Acme Township) with unreported corporate funds, hired a PR agency to do a "astroturf" campaign of local letters to the editor, "researched" the Editor and Publisher of the Traverse City Eagle-Record, and attempted to muzzle a local attorney, Grant Parsons, who represented a township official. 

The Traverse City Eagle-Record has done a reasonable job covering this story. But the larger media, perhaps enthralled by the advertising revenue captured from Meijer stores, have ignored it. The story is important because it deals with the question of "who controls land use in a community?" -- the elected township government or anyone with enough money to buy/threaten whatever decision they want.

As the global ecological crisis deepens, more and more people with lots of money are going to attempt to take Michigan's resources, regardless of local opposition or even legal process. The Meijer story highlights this growing danger.

3. What actually happened with ethanol? The media hyped ethanol from corn throughout much of 2006-2007 without reporting on its serious environmental and economic problems. Right now, the most optimistic assessment says it takes one gallon of oil to make 1.66 oil equivalent gallons of ethanol. Ethanol is highly subsidized with a $.51/gallon going to the distiller. It does little to improve carbon emissions; ethanol is a carbon based fuel that tries to replace a carbon based fuel. It requires huge amounts of water. And the industrial growing of corn produces the worst water pollution caused by agriculture. Animal feed shortages are appearing because of ethanol production.  There is lots of more.

If "ethanol" is going to save us, I believe we need an objective look at how it really operates. The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan has had its press releases printed as news for too long. It's time for an objective assessment of a crop that is grown on over 2 million acres in Michigan.

These are my thoughts. Contact me if you want more experts and leads to contact.
Happy New Year.

Chris Bedford

Chris Bedford
Center for Economic Security
#6543 Hancock Road
Montague, MI 49437
231-670-4817 (cell)

The Center for Economic Security produces programs, media, and campaigns to build ecological understanding among consumers and to promote ecological intelligence in private and public decisionmaking. 

Chris Bedford

On Dec 26, 2007, at 10:17 PM, Eartha Melzer wrote:

Hi group,
I'm working on a story that will review the top Michigan environmental stories of the year, whether or not they received coverage.
Can anyone help out by sharing what you think the top items were?
Declining lake levels? Wider recognition of climate change? Plans for a UP nickel mine? Continuing surge in farmers markets?
I appreciate any ideas,
Eartha Melzer
(231) 933-3249
(231) 342-7796 cell