At least one city in the region has passed a controversial law that would ban or severely restrict the use of pesticides. Environmental activists are calling the move a great victory. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Dan Karpenchuk reports:
At least one city in the Great Lakes region has passed a
controversial law that would ban or severely restrict the use of pesticides.
Environmental activists are calling the move a great victory. The Great
Lakes Radio Consortium’s Dan Karpenchuk reports:
For years, environmentalists have warned of the dangers associated with the overuse of
pesticides and herbicides, claiming that those chemicals are poisoning the land and
Now Toronto’s city council has passed a bylaw aimed at reducing pesticide use.
Katrina Miller of the Toronto Environmental Alliance says it’s an amazing win.
“We have a bylaw that’s going to protect children, it’s going to protect the environment.
We saw a city council that has decided to listen to the citizens of Toronto and the doctors
and nurses instead of falling under pressure from the industry lobby.”
The debate leading up to the vote was bitter and emotionally charged. One
representative of a lawn care company was ejected.
Lorne Hepworth is a spokesman for the pesticide manufacturers. He says the ones to
suffer from the new bylaw will be homeowners.
“At the end of the day what this amounts to is a deterioration in their property values,
you know, score one for bugs and dandelions and zero for the property owner.”
Under the bylaw anyone wanting to use pesticides will have to make a case to an advisory
board. It will be made up of representatives from the city, environmental groups and
lawn care companies.
The new bylaw will not be enforced until 2006.
For The Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Dan Karpenchuk.
According to a new study, property next to a clear lake is worth more than property next to a murkier lake. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Christina Shockley has more:
According to a new study, property next to a clear lake is worth
more than property next to a murkier lake. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Christina Shockley
Researchers from Bemidji State University looked at 37 lakes in upper
Minnesota. They collected sale prices on homes, and compared them to
pre-existing water clarity levels. Patrick Welle is a professor of
Economics and Environmental Studies at Bemidji State. He co-authored the
“So we ran the model not only over the twelve hundred and five sales, but
we also ran it by the six different regions separately, and in each case water
quality is one of the most significant predictors of the sale price of the lakeshore
So, the clearer the lake water, the higher the property value. Researchers say
landscaping, clearing vegetation up to the shore, and fertilizing can decrease
water clarity. They say a manicured lawn can boost property value right away,
but in the long run, it could be a detriment.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Christina Shockley.
Final regulations requiring all ports to be secure against terrorist attacks will be released next month by the federal government. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mike Simonson reports that port officials are hoping the new rules come with some new money:
Final regulations requiring all ports to be secure against terrorist attacks
will be released next month by the federal government. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Mike Simonson reports that port officials are hoping the new
rules come with some new money:
With 50 nations using the St. Lawrence Seaway,
hundreds of ships, dropping off and picking up
goods, Great Lakes ports have a lot
to make secure.
The Marine Transportation
Security Act makes sure all ports big and small assess risks and come up
with a plan to make things safe from terrorism.
Duluth-Superior Port Security Official Captain Ray Skelton has been working
with Washington on these new regulations. He doesn’t expect any surprises.
“The final regs, if they came out that we have to have armed guards
at piles of limestone, I’d go back to Washington and start a fight. But if
everything stays reasonable, we’ll just go ahead and comply.”
Tighter security may mean some guards, surveillance cameras, fences and alarms.
Skelton says these things are costing ports money without much financial
help from those making up the new rules. Skelton won’t say how much
Duluth-Superior has spent, but he says so far they’ve had to foot the bill.
Ports will have one year to comply with the Marine Transportation Security
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Mike Simonson.
A Republican congressman is calling for stricter control of mercury emissions. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
A Republican congressman is calling for stricter control of mercury
emissions. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham
In Representative Mark Kirk’s congressional district on the
north side of Chicago, samples of rain water have shown mercury
levels as much as 32 times higher than the mercury levels that the
Environmental Protection Agency considers safe
Mercury is a naturally occurring element, but much of the
mercury in precipitation comes from coal-burning power plants.
Mike Murray is with the environmental group National Wildlife
which supports Congressman Kirk’s legislation. Murray says forms of
mercury are taken up into the food chain, where its toxic effects multiply.
“Fish concentrations can be millions of times higher than the
in the surrounding water, and that’s where it becomes a problem.”
Mercury contamination can cause neurological damage in fetuses and
children, leading to decreased intellect and problems with language
skills, among other things. High levels of mercury have been found in a
number of areas throughout the Great Lakes states.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.
For many people, the meaning of spirituality comes from revering a higher power. But in northern Ohio, there’s a group of nuns working to make spirituality a little more grounded. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Renita Jablonski introduces us to the woman who helped start it all:
For many people, the meaning of spirituality comes from revering a higher
power. But in northern Ohio, there’s a group of nuns working to make
spirituality a little more grounded. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Renita Jablonski introduces us to the woman who helped start it all:
Sister Mary Shrader drives to work every day in a Honda Civic. It runs
on natural gas. When she pulls into the campus of the Sisters of St.
Joseph, she parks right in front of two compressed natural gas fueling pumps. With a flip of her gray hair, she gets ready to refuel.
“This is very easy and it’s very convenient to come in to work, plug your car in, and when you come out, it’s all filled. (sound of plug being put into car) In a few seconds, the compressor will kick in.”
(sound of compressor)
The Sisters of St. Joseph have 12 CNG cars so far. They’re members of the Northeast Ohio Clean Fuels Coalition. The addition of alternative fuel vehicles to their fleet was one of Shrader’s first projects when she was elected to
the congregation’s leadership council five years ago. That’s when the sisters
first adopted a resolution to pursue unity with the earth.
Shrader entered the convent when she was 17. It was 1960. She says back then, the congregation’s teachings often considered the natural world separate from the spiritual world.
“But they are, they’re totally integrated and the respect that you get from
your spirituality flows into the earth entities and Earth gives us the awe and the inspiration.”
Before coming to the Cleveland diocese, Shrader worked in Alaska in the Diocese
of Fairbanks. It’s when she first started to realize that environmental work was
her true calling.
“I’ve always wanted to live in the country, I’ve always wanted to be with animals and well, I got there and it was not exactly as I had envisioned it because much of the
economy of the state is run on oil business and on military and on tourism.”
Before she knew it, Shrader found herself joining an environmental group,
doing work opposing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As an
English teacher, she made it a point to teach Thoreau’s Walden to get her students to think about their relationship with nature. And now, she’s leading her sisters in Cleveland on a very green path. Shrader’s latest project is a wind power study.
Last week, Green Energy Ohio installed a 130-foot wind energy-monitoring tower on the congregation grounds.
“We have done an energy audit so that we can lower the amount of energy that we use, and use it more efficiently.
They’ve also met with a consultant to evaluate every product used on site to make sure everything’s earth-friendly. Shrader is trying to integrate this environmental ethic into the sisters’ daily lives.
“I would hope we would be able to complete the educational program that we’ve
begun for residents and staff here so that they understand that this is a part of everything we do here. So no matter what area they work in, the kitchen,
maintenance, secretarial staff, health care, the priority of earth-friendly
should be a part of the decision making, the choices, and the actions that are here.”
Shrader is working with other community and religious organizations to promote
environmental awareness. The sisters are also busy reshaping their campus to become a nature trail system with special wildlife areas.
(sound of birds)
They’ve already applied to be an official bird sanctuary.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Renita Jablonski.
A volunteer at re-Cycles looks for a replacement. Volunteers teach bike repair to amateurs and novices. Their goal is to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes. Photo by Lisa Routhier.
When it comes to bicycles, many of us are weekend warriors. The thought of riding a bike to work is intimidating – especially given the chance it might break down. Now, some cycling advocates are helping ordinary people become amateur bike mechanics. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Karen Kelly visited a community-run repair shop and has this report:
When it comes to bicycles, many of us are weekend warriors. The thought of riding a
bike to work is intimidating – especially given the chance it might break down. Now,
some cycling advocates are helping ordinary people become amateur bike mechanics.
The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Karen Kelly visited a community-run repair
shop and has this report:
(ambient sound in shop)
It’s the perfect day to work on your bike.
Rainy and cold. But the forecast says warmer weather is ahead.
And that’s why people and bikes are packed into a so-called
bicycle cooperative based in Ottawa, Canada. It’s called Recycles.
And it’s a bike repair shop that’s open to everyone.
Its walls are lined with cookie tins filled with greasy bicycle
parts. Fenders and inner tubes hang from the ceiling.
For just a few bucks an hour, you can get a bike stand, access to
tools and advice from mechanics.
The shop is run by ten volunteers who keep it open two nights a
week and on Sundays.
Mark Rehder is the coop’s director. He’s a firm believer that anyone can fix a bike.
“If they’re a complete novice, we’ll start. We’ll sort of,
‘here.’ We’ll do it or show them and hand them the screwdriver or
the wrench and say ‘you keep doing that and when you get that part
off, let me know.’ And then so the head mechanic will move on to
someone else and the person, ‘okay, I’ve got the thingamajig off’
and we’re ‘okay, now you have to clean that out’ and just step by
step…guide them through the thing.”
The coop was started seven years ago by a group of dedicated
cyclists. Lloyd Deane is one of the coop’s founders. He says their
mission is simple – to get people out of their cars.
“There is an alternative out there and it’s quiet, it’s
healthy, it’s cheap, it’s uncomplicated and you can actually fix
it yourself and we’re a living testament that people with no
mechanical skills whatsoever can come in here and fix their own
Volunteer mechanic Rob Galdins focuses intently on the bicycle
wheel spinning in front of him. He works on one side of the bike
as a client tightens nuts on the other.
“We’re putting on some new brake pads and we’re just sort of
centering the brakes so that they hit the rim squarely…
And yeah, tighten that nut. There’s already a nut there. Okay….”
Nearby, volunteer Jennifer Niece is making the wheel true on her
own bike. She says this experience has changed the way she uses
“I do a lot of touring and I wasn’t really able to do that by
myself until I started volunteering here because if I got a flat
tire or if my brakes busted or something out on the road, I
wouldn’t have been able to fix it. So it’s really valuable for me
to learn that.”
When the volunteers aren’t helping other people, they’re refurbishing
used bikes. They sell them to keep the operation going. But the
group also receives some outside support.
Most of their tools and parts are supplied by the Mountain
Equipment Co-op, a Canadian nonprofit that sells outdoor gear.
Mark Vancoy is the social and environmental coordinator at the
Ottawa store. He says they support Recycles because it fills a void in the
“If you were to go to a bike shop, a lot of times … the
shop rate is, for most people, sort of out of range for them. So this
really empowers people to be able to one, afford to have a bike
and two, to keep them up in working order.”
The bicycle co-op is probably one of the smallest volunteer
organizations in Ottawa. It has a tiny budget, no rules, and virtually no
hierarchy. But the leader of this band of volunteers, Mark Rehder, is
convinced it’s an ideal way to change society.
“It’s great to go up on parliament hill and wave the signs,
‘down with Bush’ or whatever, but at a local level is where change
is most effective. It’s just little groups like us, doing little
things and connecting with the other little groups and maybe every
now and then sort of pulling out a pillar that was propping up
something society didn’t need anyways.”
(sound of bike shop)
Rehder says sometimes they’ll talk about politics. Mostly, they’re focused on
flat tires and broken chains. But many of them share the same dream –
they look forward to a day when cyclists will have the roads to themselves.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Karen Kelly.