December 7, 2022

How Crucial Was 2022 Election? Thank You Sane America

BENZONIA – This could have been a miserable Thanksgiving. It’s not. On November 8 sane Americans voted their disapproval for the dreadful politics of MAGA America. Never more so than in Michigan. Even in our three-county corner of the lower peninsula Democrats and sufficient numbers of disgusted Republicans voted to reject election-denying, Trump-supported candidates and re-elect the incumbent Democratic governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Having cast off the psychic weight of election dread, …

Read More

Opposition to CAFOs Mounts Across the Nation

For decades, Americans mostly turned a blind eye to the industrial-scale livestock production operations that churn out cheap supplies of meat and dairy for the masses. Occasional opposition to local pollution problems and the casual animal cruelty that characterize conventional US dairy, hog, and poultry production did little to alter practices that are embedded in the rural landscape. That may be changing. A wave of frontline resistance is now breaking across the Upper Midwest and …

Read More

Agriculture’s Toxic Nutrient Pollution — A National Scandal

In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified phosphorus and nitrogen discharges from U.S. farmland as “the single greatest challenge to our nation’s water quality.”  That assessment followed years of confirming high concentrations of farm nutrients in surface and groundwater reserves, and dozens of peer-reviewed epidemiology studies that cited both compounds as a “threat to public health.” The agency proposed to identify those responsible and develop strategies to reduce nutrient pollution.  That plan died the following year. …

Read More

Platte Lake Sets National Example For Solving Toxic Algae

HONOR – On a bright autumn afternoon Platte Lake is a stirring statement about the excellent condition of Benzie County’s natural resources. Its broad waters are stunning alpine blue. Its shoreline brims with the splendor of maple leaves, a fluttering hoard of yellow, orange, and red.  But more than the fortunate convergence of thick forest and fresh water is at play on and around the 2,500-acre lake. The commanding beauty also is the result of …

Read More

Brandon Rushton’s Examined World

“When the celestial passes close everybody will stop and want to be the comet.Maybe then the type of mattress won’t matter.”Brandon Rushton from What If There’s Something Out There BENZONIA — Brandon Rushton, who is 33 years old and a poet of national distinction, writes with the awareness and power of a young man determined to diagnose America’s endemic bafflement. His collection of essays and poetry, “The Air in the Air Behind It,” was published …

Read More

Carlos Antonio Santiago – 1955 – 2022

Carlos Antonio Santiago was born on September 29, 1955 in his mother’s home in Ponce, Puerto Rico, the ninth of 12 children and the eighth of ten boys. His mother, Ana Rivera, rented rooms in her two houses and cooked for her tenants. His father, Carlos Santiago Fraticelli, was a commercial fisherman by day and operated entertainment enterprises around Ponce. When Carlos was eight years old, his parents moved with three of his brothers and …

Read More

Yvon Chouinard’s Gift to Northwest Michigan

Earlier this month, last week in fact, Yvon Chouinard announced he and his family are changing ownership and management oversight of their company to enable more investment in securing the global environment. It’s a novel and enlightened business strategy for Patagonia, executed by a man who’s led an adventurous life of real value to the world. I write this to note that Yvon brought his gifts to my home region in Northwest Michigan in 1999 …

Read More

Earth Day 2022 – Resisting Panic

More than 30 years ago James E. Hansen, the eminent American physicist, told a U.S. Senate hearing in the hot and dry summer of 1988 that the Earth was warmer than it had ever been since the invention of modern instrumentation, and that “with 99 percent confidence” the cause was human-induced global warming. As a moment in contemporary American environmental history, Hansen’s appearance before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ranks with the …

Read More

Moving In To Benzonia

It was chilly and sunny the April day earlier this month when the truck from Kentucky arrived in Michigan. It held all of Gabrielle’s belongings. Over the next several hours we carried them into the Benzonia house. Though we’ve been married nearly five years, this transport of furniture and appliances, books, clothing, and all manner of other goods formalized a momentous change in our lives. For the first time we’d be living together at a …

Read More

Arizona’s Water Supply Peril

Due to the first-ever formal federal water shortage declaration issued in August 2021, Colorado River deliveries to Arizona this year are cut more severely than in any state. Arizona will lose 170 billion gallons. That’s a third of the water that is transported each year in the Central Arizona Project, and 8% of the state’s annual water consumption. More losses are projected. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation warns that Colorado River flows will continue to drop. …

Read More