Hear the Conversation 31:39 – 18.1 mb mp3
Kirk Heinze hosts a sustainability roundtable discussion that touches on topics like renewable energy portfolio standards, energy efficiency, the decrease in wind energy costs, hydraulic fracturing, water quality management and invasive species.
Heinze’s guests are Dianne Byrum, Doug Buhler and Marc Schupan.
“We live in a culture now that knows the world’s resources are finite and that doesn’t want to put things in landfills; we want to be able to use things again,” says Schupan. “So we’re going to do whatever we can to make that happen. But you have to balance the costs of doing the right thing, too.”
Another important issue, says Byrum, is how we go about feeding the growing world population. “And how we do this by using less land, water, and nutrient inputs to meet this demand that has geo-political implications, too.”
“I think the really important point to remember is that there isn’t really one solution to our energy needs,” Buhler adds. “We have massive energy needs, and an integrated approach that takes everything into consideration has to be our ultimate solution.”
“They’ll find better ways to protect the environment (from fracking), and if there are areas where drilling will cause danger they won’t be allowed to drill there,” adds Schupan.
When Schupan looks at Michigan’s economic future, “Michigan is going to be very attractive to business growth because of our proximity to so much water. There are areas of the country that aren’t going to be able to grow industrially because they do not have access to water.”
“Water will define Michigan’s economic future,” adds Byrum.
“Michigan has been ahead of the game when it comes to protecting our water,” adds Byrum. “And we’ve done so by being proactive through sound research science and collaborative approaches so that all the uses of our water are taken into consideration and there’s a balance.”
“We practice good agronomy in Michigan all with an eye toward water quality.”
Climate change is impacting Michigan agriculture.
“We’ve seen real changes in weather patterns in Michigan,” says Buhler. “We can debate what the causes are, but the changes are real.”
“The realization that it’s here has happened in Michigan,” says Byrum. “Now we’re starting to take the next steps of recognition and resiliency strategies to combat our increasingly unpredictable weather.”