The Spartan Podcast


edpanel17.jpg Hear the conversation 34:14 – 19.6 mb mp3

“Forty-seven years ago, on April 22, 1970, we celebrated the inaugural Earth Day, and the New York Times cover read: “Millions Join Earth Day Observances Across the Nation.” Closing in on five decades later, Earth Day is an international observance and global sustainability issues are constantly in the news,” Kirk Heinze says on Greening of the Great Lakes as he convenes his annual Earth Day panel discussion.

Joining Kirk to talk about the significance of Earth Day and several associated topics is a distinguished panel—three individuals who have devoted much of their lives to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of our planet. Read more »


kcdnrsp.jpg Hear the conversation 15:33 – 9 mb mp3

Back at the helm of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources after a demanding tenure leading the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Director Keith Creagh and I resumed our annual conversation on a variety of salient natural resources-related topics. And as our conversation unfolded, I got the distinct impression he is very pleased to be back ‘home’ at the DNR.

A new initiative Creagh is especially excited about is “wetland mitigation banking.”

“Wetlands help filter out many of the nutrients and contaminants in our water. It’s extremely important to have highly-functional and high-value wetlands in Michigan. So, we’re partnering with the townships and counties such that as they start improving their infrastructure, we’re going to use public lands as a wetlands mitigation bank. This is an opportunity for public land to provide a solution to taxpayers.”

Creagh says he, like most Michiganders, is gravely concerned about potential federal cuts to programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Read more »


klhpk.jpg Hear the conversation 12:35 – 7.2 mb mp3

Food for Thought is a show about starting or changing the conversation about hunger and food security within the state of Michigan,” Phillip Knight tells Kirk Heinze on Greening of the Great Lakes. “We believe we can be the first state in the entire U.S. to solve hunger.”

Knight is executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan and host of Food for Thought, Sundays and 9 p.m. on News/Talk 760 WJR.

He explains the difference between hunger and food security.

“Hunger is that physical pain that you feel when you haven’t had enough to eat. Any food will solve hunger. But for people who don’t have a lot of economic choice, it’s a terrible thing to have to choose between paying utility bills or buying food or getting medical care or fixing the car.” Read more »


satish.jpg Hear the conversation 8:59 min – 4.1 mb mp3

Michigan State University has launched a “MSU Mobility” initiative which has a number of components but an overarching goal of safety.

“Every day over 50,000 students, staff, faculty and visitors come to campus, and MSU Mobility will ensure even greater safety for pedestrians, cyclists and those who drive,” says Dr. Satish Udpa, MSU executive vice president for Administrative Services.

As with most initiatives at MSU, researchers from multiple disciplines will collect data, develop simulations, and test smart and connected systems for improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

“We want to take advantage of every bit of our intellectual capacity with respect to a number of mobility issues, including autonomous vehicles, networked smart signals and parking redesign,” Udpa explains. Read more »


msutsp.jpg Hear the Show 52:54 min – 30.3 mb mp3

WKAR Public Media has launched a new, free, localized 24/7 children’s service – WKAR’s latest initiative to support early learning in the community.

WKAR broadcasts PBS KIDS shows 24 hours a day on an additional television channel called WKAR PBS KIDS, making it easy for local children to watch their favorite series during primetime and after-school hours when viewing among families is high.

“Our partnership with Detroit Public Television and with Michigan State University is really special to me because it really allows us to build the foundation about what our programming is all about,” director of Broadcasting and general manager of WKAR Public Media Susi Elkins tells MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis on MSU Today. Read more »


forbush.jpg Hear the conversation 5:40 min – 7.8 mb mp3

Todd Forbush grew up in Byron, Michigan on a dairy farm. He replaced his desire to be a hog farmer with being an engineer. “So there was a building called the Agriculture Engineering building at Michigan State University. I had come up to different things with 4-H and FFA and I thought ‘Ag Engineering. I like mathematics, I like agriculture—that’s the career for me.’ Michigan State University and the education I received here is really the foundation for everything I’ve done in my professional career since that day.”

Farm Lane Society member Forbush received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering at MSU. “I’ve taken part in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources as a board member and chairman of the board of the Alumni Association.” Read more »


Closs2.jpg Hear the conversation 14:38 min – 8.4 mb mp3

“Supply chain, particularly from a Michigan State perspective, means the end to end movement of product from the raw material from a mine or the ocean, through all the production processes, and to the consumer,” Professor David Closs tells Kirk Heinze on Greening of the Great Lakes. “And increasingly today with the greening of the economy, we also deal with recycling and returning those products.

“So we view it all as a very end to end process and try to manage that to meet the needs of the consumer and at the same time keeping cost and waste down.”

Closs chairs MSU’s renowned Department of Supply Chain Management and is The John H. McConnell Endowed Chair of Business Administration at MSU’s Broad College of Business. He spoke with Heinze after making remarks at the Great Lakes International Trade and Transport Hub (GLITTH) Initiative’s March 29 briefing titled Autonomous Vehicles – Where Research and Innovation Hit the Road. Read more »


mwenkel.jpg Hear the conversation 10:01 min – 5.7 mb mp3

The Michigan potato industry accounts for about 3,400 jobs and an approximately $550 million annual contribution to the state’s economy.
And, according to Mike Wenkel, manager of the Potato Growers of Michigan, producers are increasingly committed to wise water management and soil health to ensure the long-term vitality of the industry.

“Soil health is a major management and research focus,” Wenkel explains. “How do practices like crop rotation, tillage and fertilizer applications affect the soil microbes vital to productive soils?”

As for water stewardship, most of Michigan’s 46,000 potato acres are irrigated and monitored by high-tech tools that measure rate, pressure and moisture levels to ensure water is used as efficiently as possible. Read more »


klhkob.jpg Hear the conversation 10:25 min – 6 mb mp3

Two recent reports have major implications for increasing Michigan’s recycling rate while decreasing solid waste in our landfills. Kirk Heinze discusses these reports, recommendations and key next steps with Kerrin O’Brien, executive director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition, on Greening of the Great Lakes.

The MRC represents recycling and composting interests statewide and is applauding the simultaneous release of two separate reports and sets of recommendations that would shift the focus of Michigan’s waste management strategy to increase recycling. The long-awaited reports show how Michigan can support and benefit from doubling the state’s recycling rate.

The Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel report calls for revamping Part 115 of PA 451 of 1994, the law governing solid waste and recycling activities in Michigan, to better align with the Michigan Solid Waste Policy. The Governor’s Recycling Council report outlines how to achieve the governor’s goal of doubling Michigan’s current recycling rate from 15 to 30 percent. Read more »


jaklh.jpg Hear the conversations 25:35 min – 14.6 mb mp3

Over the eight years Greening of the Great Lakes has aired, we have remained largely steadfast in our efforts to educate, not advocate. However, controversies occasionally arise which are so fundamentally deleterious to our sustainability ethos that it is morally imperative we take a strong position. Such is the case with the Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal calling for the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Read more »

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