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 Duluth Grill and Heritage Window and Door.

Rogotzke's Simple Gifts

Silver maple makes great syrup.

So does white and yellow birch.

Pines?  Not so much.

Who'd a thunk it?

The ins and outs of maple syrup - and maple sugar candy - from Dave Rogotzke, who tapped the first trees of the season just yesterday.

©lisa johnson/Thorsburg Photography

Back in 1998, a Canadian company kicked an international hornet's nest with its proposal to sell Lake Superior water to its customers in Asia.

It took ten years, but the eight Great Lakes states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec formed the Great Lakes Compact, which forbids, with few exceptions, any diversion of Great Lakes water.

© Will Steger

Polar explorer, writer, photographer and speaker Will Steger has been talking to people about climate change before anyone knew there was such a thing.

It's not usually a cheery topic; but Steger, who will be speaking at UMD tomorrow night in a program called "Eyewitness to Global Warming," is almost ebullient.

People are getting it, says Steger, now that they are experiencing the evidence first hand.  Far from being despairing, though, Steger is anxious to share his message of new opportunities; a booming economy in clean energy; world-wide cooperation in working toward a cleaner, better world; and something he says is more than hope: empowerment.


Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

We speak with Nelson French, a supervisor for the Great Lakes/Lake Superior Project of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, about the completion of a three-year pilot project that used 350,000 cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Duluth Harbor Basin by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help restore aquatic habitat in the St. Louis River estuary.

Andrew Miller

If you wait long enough, some fads come back around.

Take chaga fungus, for instance.  It's one of those folk medicine remedies that have been used in Russia and other Northern European climes for centuries but that modern-day purveyors have to be careful to say "isn't intended to diagnose, treat or cure disease."

The thing is, chaga fungus grows on birch trees and will kill them.  So harvesting it is good for the birches, at least.

Jereme Rauckman (modified)

On January 17th, Spirit Mountain opened up their slopes to the trendy new sport known as "Fat Biking." The bikes feature wide-rimmed, extra-large tires that provide improved traction on snow, allowing bikes roll where previously they could not.

Chris talks with Brandy Ream, Executive Director at Spirit Mountain about the new sport and how people are enjoying fat bikes on the trails, the slopes, and even as transportation on wintery city streets.

UMD's MPIRG chapter and the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club want to get you talking to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

They don't think Minnesota Power's 25 year energy plan does enough to get rid of coal plants and replace them with clean, renewable energy, and they want people to make their opinions known before the PUC  rules on Minnesota Power's proposal.

The public comment period closes at the beginning of March. 

Slow food.

Slow TV.

"Tractor porn."

Seriously.

Dave Anderson

Local meteorologist Dave Anderson weighs in on El Niño,  the possibilities of March blizzards and the Northland's possible weather comeuppance next winter.

IRPS/Facebook

If you can dream up a way to make the Iron Range a more sustainable place ... you can enter your idea in their Community Sustainability Initiative contest.  And if you win, you get to build it - and they will come!

Doug Eastick/Flickr

It's probably no surprise that a hockey program here in Duluth is the last one in North America where the mite level practices exclusively outdoors.

In addition to being cheaper than renting indoor ice time, "pond hockey" is a whole, almost-forgotten culture.

D B Young/Flickr

Weather is what we experience day to day.  Climate is what sets up the conditions that result in the weather.  Climate change isn't linear ... but it is intensifying.

So what can individuals do?  Dr. Randy Hanson is the Co-Director of the Program in Environment and Sustainability, and he says we start by making some demands.

In addition to 350.org, Randy recommends:

Short Answers to Hard Questions about Climate Change

Lake Minnesuing Farm

They eat invasive species like buckthorn and Canada Thistle.  They don't like grass, so they leave it alone.  They give milk, they're smart and have fun personalities.

So what could possibly be a downside to allowing goats - as pets or as livestock - in the city limits?  That's what the city of Duluth is trying to figure out.

MN Department of Natural Resources

Deer hunters who had to spend almost as much time hunting through the Minnesota DNR's web site for the information they wanted, take heart - the DNR's new interactive map - and the "detailed report" link - puts everything you need to know just a click away.

Trudy Vrieze, Vrieze Photography

What's sending bald eagles flocking to the the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center?

Whatever it is, it isn't good.

Sick and injured bald eagles - already 50 more birds this year than last year at this time - are crowding the center.   And the busiest hospitalization period - as eagles begin to show up poisoned by lead shot left in gut piles by deer hunters - has just begun.

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