Survival of the Steepest

Most textbooks tell you that the evolutionary process is really quite simple: three rules are all that’s necessary: inheritance, variation, and selection. It is indeed true that these three rules are all that’s needed for evolution to occur, but that does not mean that the evolutionary process is simple. In fact, quite the opposite. Real systems evolve in …

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New Scholarship Arguing, “Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments”

Mark Squillace, Eric Biber, Nicholas S. Bryner, and Sean B. Hecht have posted “Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments” on SSRN. Here is the abstract: By any measure, the Antiquities Act of 1906 has a remarkable legacy. Under the Act, 16 presidents have proclaimed 157 national monuments, protecting a diverse range …

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New Divisions In Indian Country Over Energy Justice

Here: The new administration’s undoing of the Obama administration’s clean environment rules, especially hydraulic fracking regulations and the Clean Power Plan, portend great division in Indian country as the few dozen energy tribes, whether they like it or not, stand apart from the remaining tribes. Energy tribes, such as the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, had sued the government to undo the …

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Indian Country And Climate Change After DAPL Law360, New York (February 27, 2017, 12:01 PM EST) —

In the chaos of the early weeks of the Trump administration, the president managed to highlight his support for the natural resources extraction industry by strongly encouraging the imminent approval of the Dakota Access pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline, circumventing additional environmental review. The U.S. Department of the Army quickly issued a notice of intent to grant an easement …

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Standing Rock’s Other Pipe Problem: The North Dakota pipeline protesters, and other marginalized groups, need access to communications technology

Link to Slate article by Greta Byrum here. Excerpts: The potential impact of FirstNet on First Nations’ broadcast sovereignty has many potential repercussions for both telecommunications independence and the integrity of journalism. If AT&T were to shoulder out competitors like Standing Rock Telecom and exercise control over content broadcast on its network, that could once …

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Getting Wasted

I have been meaning for months to raise the issue of the great waste ignored by us in this community. There are numerous reminders, but the one that sets me off the most is the ongoing construction near the MSU Federal Credit Union’s headquarters off State Road and US 127. Driving by the rising structure …

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Remembering 9/11

I’m going to take a “time out” from the usual September theme today to remember what I was doing 15 years ago on September 11. I had gone into my office at Purdue University a little earlier than usual, and I was busily working on something that dealt with a front page story in the …

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Grand Traverse Band Press Release on Dakota Access Pipeline Protests & Enbridge Line 5

PRESS RELEASE: STANDING ROCK SIOUX OPPOSITION TO DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE AND GTB’S OPPOSITION TO ENBRIDGE LINE 5. Peshawbestown, Michigan, SEPTEMBER 2, 2016.  The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB), by Tribal Resolution 16-34.2792, and a letter to President Obama, joins in the Standing Rock Sioux opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline in …

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Be in the know, now back on the grind

Over the past few weeks, I have grown from a perpetually disheveled data scientist and learned to dress slightly better than a sack of potatoes –an added benefit of my summer of experiential learning in the DC area. I was graciously hosted by my guidance committee member, Dr. Abigail Lynch, at the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change …

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One Last One on Food Waste

I have to bring this series of diatribes about food waste to a close, but there was one more thing that I wanted to write about when I started this thread six weeks ago. I’m reminded of a fascinating talk I heard from the former Vice President for Sustainability at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. It was …

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Forum on Sustainable Energy in Michigan

Sustainable energy is an increasingly pressing issue as the world’s finite resources deplete, and the environment continues to feel the effects of waste and pollution. In March of 2015 Governor Snyder highlighted a plan for the future of Michigan’s energy production. Included in this plan was a goal for 30-40 percent of Michigan’s energy to …

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Interview with Soren Anderson on Energy Policy

IPPSR Policy Fellow Fabiola Yanez interviewed IPPSR Forum speaker and Faculty Affiliate Soren Anderson, an economics professor and expert on energy and environmental economics. Fabiola Yanez: At the IPPSR forum, you focused a lot on the Clean Power Plan, the options for cutting emissions include investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, natural gas, nuclear power and …

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EPA publishes Revised Interpretation of Clean Water Act TAS Provision

On May 16, the EPA published a final revised interpretation of the Clean Water Act’s TAS provision in the Clean Water Act, concluding that the Treatment as State provision includes an express delegation of authority by Congress to Indian tribes to administer regulatory programs over their entire reservations, subject to section 518(e)’s eligibility requirements.  This …

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Interview with Zeenat Kotval on the Gordie Howe International Bridge

Dr. Zeenat Kotval-Karamchandani (ZK) is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University. Her areas of research and teaching include sustainable development and transportation. Alexander Swindle is a policy fellow at IPPSR graduating in May 2017. A lightly-edited transcript of their interview follows. AS: At the IPPSR forum, you turned our …

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Time for a Leap?

Time for a leap, that was the message last night from Naomi Klein as she spoke at Michigan State University. In addressing both the seeming conflicting euphoria and dismay that followed the recent Paris Climate Agreement she summarized it as: on the Euphoria side that the world had agreed to a plan to keep climate …

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Oedipus the Scientist

We’ve been doing “ways of knowing” in my class at Michigan State, and I’ve been resisting the temptation to drag my undergraduates through a tangent on Sophocles. Blog readers are not so lucky. You’ll recall Sophocles’ play about King Oedipus from your freshman class on world literature. The plot gets rolling because Creon, his brother-in-law and …

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And Still Another Key Blog

We set aside the Sunday after Thanksgiving every year for the key blog. It’s a tone-setting effort that reiterates the environmental theme that is intended to be the overarching orientation to all the other blogs, serious and irreverent, that get written every other Sunday of the year. There is a backstory to the key blog …

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Whatever Will Bee, Will Bee

I warned you last week that I was heading to a meeting about the difficulties of industry-generated science, so you shouldn’t be too surprised that I am following up on that this morning. Here’s the context: we just don’t trust claims made by representatives of the food industry, even when those claims are putatively backed …

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The night life

This fall, our field team is out conducting electrofishing surveys on sixteen lakes in Michigan (video). Our goal is to determine if changes to shoreline habitats are impacting the growth, reproduction, and population sizes of Largemouth Bass. When we catch Largemouth Bass, we also compare what they were eating to the habitats in which they …

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Amik Minis

Just in from a weekend at Beaver Island. I was up there with my friend and colleague Kyle Whyte, and my student Zach Piso. Kyle is scoping out the possibility of a workshop/retreat focused on environmental philosophy, and he has the idea the Beaver Island might be a good location for it. There are some …

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Emissions &

So I’m afraid that this is one of those weeks when I’m going to send you backwards to catch up. Like to last week when I couldn’t get started because the whole thing was just too confusing, or to a few weeks ago when we were all giving out a big shout-out to Pope Francis. But while it would …

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Climate Ethics

Are you confused about the climate ethics of your diet? Me, too. I don’t doubt that humans are having a significant impact on global climate systems, but I have some limited sympathy with the climate-change skeptics. It’s going a bit too far when you claim that this is all something that Al Gore (remember him?) …

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Letter from Rome

In case you missed it, the major food ethics newsflash for last week came out of Rome. Pope Francis issued an encyclical entitled Laudato Si’. At first I thought it was from a crowd chant heard when the Allman Brothers Band played stadium gigs in Italy: Alberino fustigazione, laudato, si! [Tr: Whipping post, louder, yes!], …

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Book Tour

I spent most of last week on a mini book tour to promote my new book From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone. It was fun and pretty well received at all four of the West Coast locations. In Berkeley, CA a skeptical gentleman asked me to talk a bit about the case for …

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Essay

  Edge by Marcia Aldrich In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibration of beauty. —Christopher Morley Start with a dead deer at the side of Hamilton Road. A major artery between Okemos and Dobie roads, it is my route to work, to the supermarket, to the post office …

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High Tunnel Time

After a full week of when daytime highs rose well above forty degrees and nighttime lows remained above freezing there is quite a bit of muddy green showing in the Michigan landscape this morning. There is also still a fair amount of snow in my yard. I doubt that the areas along the curb where …

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Global Divestment Day

Are we performing an exercise in futility here? Is this a further saga in David vs. Goliath? Preparing for a talk on divestment from fossil fuels for today I’ve been reading much on the pro’s and cons of the debate. Almost all of the negative writing  I have found comes from sources funded by the …

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