December 9, 2022

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Earth Day At 50 — A Planetary Warning

In 1905, a year before he died, Nathaniel Southgate Shaler published a highly regarded book that advocated “a change in the point of view from which we commonly regard the resources of the earth.” In Man and Earth the famed Harvard scientist described the sun, clouds, soil, and water as a kind of life-giving membrane, a placenta, from which Mother Earth sustains all living creatures. Mindful of the coal dug out of the Appalachians, timber …

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Trump’s Reckless Bid For History and Re-Election

At this point the Covid-19 peril is well understood. The metrics are plain. On March 15, two days after President Trump declared a national emergency,  the United States counted 3,100 cases and over 50 deaths. Today: 49,594 cases and 662 deaths. The economic menace also is crystal clear. Tens of millions of Americans shelter inside, shops and restaurants are closed, city streets and airports lie vacant. A ‘closed until further notice’ sign appears on the …

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Bill Milliken Was A Great Leader And A Good Friend

William G. Milliken, the longest serving governor in Michigan’s storied history, died in October at the age of 97. One of the rare gifts of my life was knowing Bill and his wife Helen as friends and mentors. Both were terrifically helpful in getting our new northern Michigan land use policy group going in the 1990s. Helen was a board member. Bill was an active supporter. In 2000, when I stepped down as director of …

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Alli Gerkman, Lawyer Who Worked To Reform Legal System, Buried In Michigan

OLD MISSION PENINSULA, MI — On a sun-bright day, with a breeze that stirred leaves and a hawk that wheeled overhead, family and friends paid their respects and laid Alli Gerkman to rest yesterday. In a graceful ceremony of poetry, letters, love, and song, about 50 people gathered in a small cemetery here to honor a life cut short by cancer, but filled with Alli’s courage, and distinctive spirit, her humor and splendid judgment. Alli’s …

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AppHarvest’s Big Idea: Bringing Food Production Indoor At A Mammoth Kentucky Greenhouse

MOREHEAD, Ky. – Almost 70 percent of American consumers, including those who love fresh tomatoes, are a day’s drive from eastern Kentucky. That proximity to big markets is the primary reason AppHarvest is building the largest greenhouse in the United States in a big field in Rowan County just outside this university town. Sometime next summer, when production commences, the $97 million, 60-acre building will begin shipping 45 million pounds of fresh produce annually, primarily …

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Lessons From The Garden

BENZONIA — The tiger lilies are fading. But the pink blossoms of the rose of Sharon began to bloom this week. So did the blue blossoms of the butterfly bush. It’s mid-August. Just as in every month since early May when I raked the leaves out of the gardens, taking care not to injure the yellow daffodils, flowers are coming into view while others slip away. Odes to gardens and gardening almost always are exuberant …

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Steve Sawyer, A Titan of Environmental Activism

Steve Sawyer, one of the great environmental activists and strategists of our era, died July 31 from cancer. It came as a shock. Steve was a classmate at Haverford College, a friend for 45 years, and a heroic figure to me in our shared allegiance to safeguard Mother Earth. Though his years were too short, what he accomplished in 63 has few peers. He was an important figure in stirring attention to the Earth’s deteriorating …

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