See our right-hand column for announcements and news briefs. Scroll down the right-hand column to access the Archives -- links to articles posted in the main column since 2007.

Friday, March 04, 2011

New slide show: Barnelöpet 2011

By Michele Bourdieu

Skiers head across a bridge on the Maasto Hiihto River Trail during the 2011 Barnelöpet Ski Race on Feb. 13. The 6-km race offers the opportunity to enjoy views of Swedetown Creek, running through the gorge. (Video clip by
Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The 3rd Annual Barnelöpet Ski Race, sponsored by the Sons of Norway, was a great success -- a non-competitive family event attracting about 40 skiers of all ages to the Maasto Hiihto Ski Trails on Feb. 13, 2011.

While parents skied or snow-shoed with younger children, intermediate or more advanced skiers enjoyed the 6-km race that included views of the picturesque River Trail. All participants received a large enameled, dated, BARNELOPET medal upon completion of their race.

A young skier displays her Barnelöpet medal after the race. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

"About 8 dozen cookies and 70 cups of hot chocolate were consumed," said Wayne Stordahl, event director. "We had 30 adults who helped with registration, as trail monitors and timers, with awards and at the refreshment table. I believe that the event went very well, the weather was good and the kids liked their medals and refreshments. Every one seemed to have had a good time."

Moms and Dads ski with their kids during the 2011 Barnelöpet Ski Race.

Connie Julien, member of the Ulseth Lodge, Sons of Norway, said some of the 30 adult volunteers included some older Ski Tigers (a local cross-country youth ski group).

"We would also like to thank the older Ski Tigers who helped out with the Barnelöpet," Julien said. "These younger skiers really look up to those older skiers so their help was greatly appreciated by all."

Click here or go to our top right column to view our Keweenaw Now slide show of the 2011 Barnelöpet.

Ski, eat at 3rd Annual Glide-N-Gorge Mar. 6

Skiers sample some of the tasty morsels provided by one of the generous sponsors at last year's Glide-N-Gorge fundraiser. (Photo courtesy Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club.)

HANCOCK -- The Third Annual Glide-N-Gorge will take place from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, 2011, at the Maasto Hiihto Ski Trails in Hancock. This family ski and eat event, sponsored by the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) covers 3 and 1/2 miles of skiing, beginning and ending at the chalet at the Houghton County Fair Grounds.

In between, skiers will have three food stops. The first will be near Tomasi Road, where appetizers will be served. After skiing further down the trail into the Swedetown Gorge, skiers will stop for tasty soups and chili before heading back to the chalet, where they will enjoy desserts and live music. The suggested donation for this event is $15 per person, $40 per family, kids 12 and under free with an adult.

View of Swedetown Creek from Maasto Hiihto River Trail (gorge). (Feb. 2011 photo by Keweenaw Now)

Tickets can be purchased from any KNSC board member, Down Wind Sports and Cross Country Sports and should be purchased by TODAY, Friday, March 4, 2011. All ticket prices will increase $10 if purchased Saturday or Sunday, the day of the event. If you can’t stop by those fine businesses, just email any KNSC board member or Tickets support the cost of maintaining the Maasto Hiihto Trails.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Tim DeChristopher: "We will not be divided, and we will not back down"

From Peaceful Uprising:

SALT LAKE CITY -- Peaceful Uprising has posted a video of Tim DeChristopher speaking to his supporters after receiving a guilty verdict.

"What the world wanted to see, is how we would react, and you all have reacted with joy and resolve. You’ve shown that your power will not be intimidated by any power that they have, and that's the most important thing that has happened here this week..." Click here to see the video and read the full text of Tim's statement.

UPDATE: Editor's Note: Robert Redford on Tim: "There's something radically wrong with this picture." Click here for Huffpost article.

Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher found guilty

Tim DeChristopher. (Photo © Daphne Hougard and courtesy Peaceful Uprising. Reprinted with permission.)

By Scott Parkin of Rainforest Action Network

SALT LAKE CITY -- "I left with a smile. I knew that I was a convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime." --Martin Luther King, 1956

Today, after a four-hour jury deliberation, climate activist Tim DeChristopher was found guilty on two felony counts for derailing a Bureau of Land Management auction in December 2008.

Sentencing will most likely be a month or two away.... Read the rest of this article on The Understory (Rain Forest Action Network) and see a video below it that includes an interview with Tim DeChristopher and his attorney, recorded after the verdict today.

Editor's Note: You can vote in a Poll on Adventure Journal -- your opinion on whether Tim DeChristopher should go to jail.

Khana Khazana to offer Thai cuisine Mar. 4

HOUGHTON -- Dishes from Thailand are on the menu Friday, Mar. 4, at Khana Khazana (food treasure), a special ethnic lunch cooked by international students and served in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Food Court every Friday.

Parawee Pumwongpitak, a graduate student from Thailand, will cook Spaghetti Pad Kee Mao, spaghetti with spicy Thai stir fried chicken and herb (soya balls for veggie dish); Tom Seap Muu, tasty spicy and sour soup of northeastern Thailand served with pork or mushrooms; Khao Niew Sang, sweet sticky rice topped with a slice of creamy egg custard.

A complete meal costs $6 and includes coffee, hot tea or a fountain soda. Items are available à la carte for $2.

Khana Khazana is a cooperative effort of international students and Michigan Tech Dining Services.

White Water to perform Finnish Dance as "Rockland" fundraiser in Brownstone Hall Mar. 5

ATLANTIC MINE -- White Water (Dean and Bette Premo along with Emma, Carrie, and Susan Dlutkowski) will perform for a Finnish Dance from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, 2011, at the historic Brownstone Hall, 46925 Huron St. in Atlantic Mine. The dance will be a fundraiser for the Pine Mountain Music Festival (PMMF) New World Premiere performances of its new opera Rockland. The event will feature the rich dance music of composer Konsta Jylhä.

The Brownstone Hall, with its recently remodeled stage and dance floor, is now a favorite dance venue, thanks to owners Susi and Tim Landers, who have spent months remodeling the building. Here dancers do a lively Finnish schottische during the Pasi Cats' Pikkujoulu (Little Christmas) dance on Dec. 12, 2010. Click on photos for larger versions. (Keweenaw Now file photo)*

Rockland will be performed on July 15 and 17, 2011, at the Rozsa Center for Performing Arts at Michigan Technological University. This opera is based on a long-forgotten incident in Rockland (Ontonagon County) when in 1906 sheriff’s deputies confronted a group of striking Finnish copper miners. Shots were fired and two miners were killed. A survivor of the confrontation, miner Alfred Laakso, wrote an account that has served as inspiration for the opera.

Arts supporters John and Pauline Kiltinen championed the project with PMMF. The Kiltinens raised money for the commissioning phase, partly from themselves and partly from Gloria Jackson, who has family roots in Nivala, Finland (where the Old World Premiere will take place in early summer). Jussi Tapola, stage director at Finnish National Opera, was hired as librettist; and renowned composer Jukka Linkola was engaged to write the music.

In offering the fundraiser dance, White Water continues its longtime and diverse relation with the PMMF. Dean and Bette Premo have made music as White Water since 1985. For much of that time, son Evan and daughter Laurel have been part of the band. These days White Water takes on several forms (duo, trio, quartet, and more). For the special fundraiser dance Dean and Bette will be joined by Houghton-based "fiddlers" Emma and Carrie Dlutkowski and their mother Susan (piano). Despite their young ages Emma and Carrie are long-time members of the U.P. classical music scene and for the last three years they have been frequent performers with White Water.

Whitewater band members Bette Premo (far left on stage) and and Dean Premo (right at microphone) are joined by young fiddlers Emma Dlutkowski (second from left) and Carrie Dlutkowski of Stanton Township during the June 2009 Finnish Music Festival in Covington. Dancers include Kay and Hal Seppala (left foreground) of Chassell. Kay Seppala's Kivajat Dance Group also performed during that festival. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Susan Dlutkowski)

The White Water ensemble will feature the music of Konsta Jylhä (1910-1984), a folk-virtuoso who made the traditional pelimanni-style folk music a Finnish cultural phenomenon. The current Kaustinen Finland folk-virtuoso violinist, Mauno Järvelä, has made it his life work to document and make available to fiddlers worldwide the music of Konsta Jylhä. Järvelä provided the music to White Water.

Finnish snacks and coffee will be available at the March 5 dance. Tickets will be available at the door for $10. For more information contact the PMMF at (906) 482-1542.

* See more photos of the Brownstone Hall in our Dec. 13, 2010, article "PasiCats' Pikkujoulu warms Brownstone Hall with song, dance."

Celebrate Youth Arts Month at Community Arts Center

Block print by Amber Liimatta, grade 11, Calumet High School. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center is featuring artwork from area elementary, middle, and high school students March 5-31. This is an exhibit not to be missed! The Youth Gallery and the Kerredge Gallery will be filled floor to ceiling with amazing youth art. March is a time where our young artists get to shine. It’s a time not only to celebrate youth art, but to appreciate the art teachers who work throughout the school year encouraging and inspiring their students.

A special thank you to the exemplary art teachers who went above and beyond by bringing in their students’ work for Celebrate Youth Arts Month: Houghton Elementary: Melissa Hronkin; Baraga Area Schools: Bob Foster; Lake Linden Hubbell Schools: Danielle Alfafara; Calumet High School: Susan Rosemurgy; Calumet Elementary School: Debbie Mues; Barkell Elementary: Karen Scholie; and Hancock High School: Kris Raisanen Schourek.

Plan to attend the opening reception at the Arts Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 5.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Call 482-2333 for more information.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

HUMANSCAPE: Paintings by Tomas Co at Reflection Gallery in March

Mingus by Tomas Co. Click on images for larger versions. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, will host an exhibit of paintings by Tomas Co March 1 to March 31, 2011. An opening reception and artist talk will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m Thursday, March 3, at the Reflection Gallery. The reception is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Titled "HUMANSCAPE: Explorations in Sumi-E," Co’s exhibit explores the human condition by combining eastern and western styles of painting and incorporating traditional and modern approaches to the aesthetics of philosophy.

Sumi-e ink and watercolor are Co’s mediums. Describing the use of these two water-based media together, he notes that, "the main thrill of the incomplete control of both these water-based media has given me a terrific and awkward scalpel to explore the genius and imperfections, beauty and ugliness, goodness and evil that surround us."

Amoureux by Tomas Co. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Co believes that art is the most human means of expression and communication. He says, "The purest forms of art stem from the primordial needs to externalize, articulate, and sometimes exorcise the internal struggles, confusion, rationality, and personal essence."

Co says his creative process entails sketching images recalled from the media, memories, and conversations, while drawing inspiration from shapes and brushstrokes that encourage him to explore his subject matter further.

With each sketch, the narrative of Co’s paintings grows and changes. He notes that, especially for subjects and characters that are already well-known, he researches them further, imagining their successes, failures, pressures, and conflicts, and the possible scenarios they might have experienced.

When asked to show his work at the Reflection Gallery, Co was at first unsure of what he could contribute. But after some encouragement, he accepted.

"I have seen some presentations and exhibits at the Reflection Gallery, and I found the artists and audience were very open with fresh enthusiasm and ideas. So I thought, why not?" Co says. "Maybe as an outsider of the art profession, I can offer a naive perspective, and I am sure that the community will be able to give some exciting and interesting perspectives."

The Warrior by Tomas Co. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Tomas Co is an associate professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Technological University, Houghton. He has a bachelor of science and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of the Philippines and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, respectively.

The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan St., Hancock.

For additional information, please contact Yueh-mei Cheng, Finlandia professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375, or e-mail

"A Peaceful Uprising" mini-doc from opening day of bidder 70 trial

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- On Feb. 28, 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah, hundreds of activists took to the streets to sing, march and do sky art in a display of solidarity with Tim DeChristopher, aka "bidder70," whose trial for civil disobedience in defense of Utah wilderness and climate justice began that day.

Supporters -- about 400-strong -- show solidarity for Tim DeChristopher in Exchange Plaza in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. (Photo courtesy Peaceful Uprising. Reprinted with permission.)

See this inspiring video of the peaceful rally and aerial art, "A Peaceful Uprising," from Daniel Dancer on Vimeo.

Update: Peaceful Demonstrations Escalate Outside DeChristopher Trial

By Flora Bernard*

Demonstrations outside of climate activist Tim DeChristopher’s trial have gently escalated. What began as a permitted, coordinated march and rally in tandem with DeChristopher’s prosecution has crossed legal lines. Shortly after DeChristopher entered Salt Lake City’s federal courthouse, accompanied by his defense team and writer Terry Tempest Williams, hundreds of his supporters who were congregated outside the courthouse since early this morning pushed past the legal line onto the grounds of the federal building.

The demonstrators are now singing, and refusing to leave the premises. Their peaceful and nonviolent action was deliberate and surprisingly organized. Police were already anticipating potential conflict and were at the ready on site. His supporters have expressed intention to remain in place for the duration of DeChristopher’s trial. National and local media were already in place to follow the demonstrations.

See Peaceful Uprising for more updates.

See the New York Times interview with Tim DeChristopher.

*Flora Bernard is a writer, a musician and activist, who has worked with Peaceful Uprising since February 2009.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Updated: Second Annual Copper Dog 150 Race offers events for all March 4-6

A scene from the 2010 Copper Dog 150. The popular Sled Dog Race on the Keweenaw Peninsula -- from Calumet to Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor and back to Calumet -- is back this year: Friday through Sunday, March 4-6. (Photo courtesy Main Street Calumet)

CALUMET --Bundle up the family and head to the north end of the Keweenaw Peninsula for the 2nd Annual Copper Dog 150 professional and recreational sled-dog competitions this weekend -- Friday, March 4, through Sunday, March 6, 2011. This award-winning Keweenaw backwoods adventure promises fun and excitement for all ages!

The Copper Dog 150 is one of the Midwest’s newest and most inspiring adventures in the sport of mushing. Over 30 Pro-class race teams will compete and pit their and their team's skills and conditioning against other world-class competitors. The best ten times take home a piece of the $20,000 race purse.

Events in Calumet begin at 5 p.m. Friday, March 4, with a Copper Dog Street Party at the corner of Oak and Fifth streets. It includes live music, food, beer, and a fundraiser and is expected to last until 1 a.m.

Fifth and Scott streets in Calumet will be the scene of the Pre-Race Ceremony from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the Start of the Race, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

At 9:15 p.m. don't miss the Copper Dog 150 Fireworks over Agassiz Park, Calumet.

For those who wish to watch the race teams, check out the spectator locations and times on the Schedule of Events.

On Friday the teams will race from Calumet to Eagle Harbor; on Saturday, March 5, the race continues from Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor; the final leg is the race from Copper Harbor back to Calumet on Sunday, March 6.

Click here for the Overview Map showing the start and finish times and locations.

Click here for the Trail Map.

On Friday, check out the art events in Calumet, including art openings at the Ed Gray Gallery -- a fund-raising Box Art exhibit -- and at the Vertin Gallery, with K. Carlton Johnson's exhibit "Under Glass." Stop in at the Calumet Art Center between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday to warm up at their Open House. See our article on the art exhibits.

Update: In addition to music groups playing at Fifth and Oak Streets, don't be surprised to hear the Backroom Boys playing old jazz, blues, and whatnot in the Conglomerate Café on Fifth Street starting at about 7 p.m. Friday evening. The Backroom Boys are Bob Norden, trombone and vocals; John Munson on clarinet and sax; and Oren Tikkanen, banjo, guitar and vocals.

"When your sweetie gets cold from dancing in the snow and encouraging the valiant sled dogs, come on in for a hot chocolate, coffee, or something stronger, and enjoy some music with a New Orleans touch," says Oren Tikkanen. "Remember, this is also the beginning of Mardi Gras weekend, so let the good times roll!"

Saturday's events include a Continental Breakfast from 6:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. at the Eagle Harbor Inn, Eagle Harbor; free Sled Dog Rides for Kids from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Copper Harbor; a Mid-Race Banquet (public welcome) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Mariner North, Copper Harbor; the Copper Dog Weight Pull and Kids' Kick-Sled and Sled Dog Races between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Calumet. See the Schedule for details.

On Sunday, the Pines and Tamarack restaurants will be open for breakfast at 5:30 a.m.

The Copper Dog 150 will conclude between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, on Fifth Street in Calumet.

Main Street Calumet's Copper Dog 150 Sled Dog Race Committee is again sponsoring the Paw Prints Challenge. Residents and area visitors can show their support for the Copper Dog by buying Paw Print stickers from participating businesses, organizations, and individuals.

For every 150 Paw Prints sold, you’re eligible to receive a free dasher board to advertise your business or promote your cause. The dasher boards will be displayed along the downtown Calumet start and finish route.

For details about how to obtain your Paw Prints, or for more information, contact Main Street Calumet at 906-337-6246 or David Rheault at 906-370-0028.

Check out the Main Street Calumet Web site for more info on the Race.

See a video of last year's Copper Dog 150 Race on the Copper Dog 150 Web site.

Calumet galleries to host First Friday art openings March 4

An entry in the Ed Gray Gallery Box Show Exhibit, a fundraiser opening Friday, March 4. (Photo courtesy Ed Gray Gallery)

CALUMET -- In the midst of the Copper Dog 150 Dog Sled Race opening ceremony and race start, the street party on Fifth Street and live music, Calumet art galleries will hold their March openings Friday, March 4.

Please note because of the Copper Dog activities Fifth Street will be closed to traffic Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There will be 3000 to 4000 people in town, so plan on coming early.*

Ed Gray Gallery to exhibit Box Show Fundraiser

The Ed Gray Gallery, at 109 Fifth Street in Calumet, is excited to announce that it will host a fund-raising show during the month of March. Cigar boxes have been distributed to artists willing to transform a box into an art piece. The boxes will be sold in the gallery, and the profits will benefit the Calumet Art Center. Artists using a variety of media will be represented. They include painters, mixed media artists, potters, fiber artists and others.

The Box Show at the Ed Gray Gallery includes a variety of media, as seen in this entry. During the opening reception on March 4, the box art will be available for sale to raise funds for the Calumet Art Center. (Photo courtesy Ed Gray Gallery)

The gallery show opens with a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 4. The box art will be available for sale at that time.

Calumet Art Center to hold Open House / Warm-up

From 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 4, the public is invited to an Open House / Warm-up at the Calumet Art Center, one block from the start of the Copper Dog 150 on Fifth Street.

Vertin Gallery to host K. Carlton Johnson's "Under Glass" exhibit

The Vertin Gallery will present the artwork of K. Carlton Johnson in her exhibit "Under Glass" from March 4 - March 30. A reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 4. Refreshments will be served.

Question. Monoprint by K. Carlton Johnson. (Photo courtesy Vertin Gallery)

K. Carlton Johnson is a U.P. artist who is known for her work in oil on canvas. "Under Glass" is a departure from these mediums and into the realm of mono-prints on paper.

Johnson explains her draw to this medium: "Prints are a different approach to visual language and expression; unlike works on canvas they perform in a smaller and more intimate environment. The preparation for the print and the inability often to control the product's outcome allow a random nature to the visual elements and thus are highly charged with an immediate energy."

For more information on this event please call the Vertin Gallery at 906-337-2200.

* Editor's Note: For information on the Copper Dog 150 Dog Sled Race, click on the links in our right-hand column and watch for a coming announcement.

Monday, February 28, 2011

From Peaceful Uprising: Live Post: Outside the Courthouse (as Tim DeChristopher's trial begins)

Tim DeChristopher, environmental activist. A crowd of about 400 held a rally supporting him in Salt Lake City, Utah, today, Feb. 28, 2011, as his trial for civil disobedience begins. (Photo © 2011 Daphne Hougard and courtesy Peaceful Uprising. Reprinted with permission.)

By Flora Bernard*

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- We knew this would be big, but we didn’t expect it to blow us away.

Supporters have been congregated outside of the Salt Lake City federal courthouse since early this morning, singing songs of solidarity in support of Tim DeChristopher. Ages ranging from 16 months to 90 years, we stood together to lift our voices to the ears of our community and our nation, carrying banners with messages like "Defending A Livable Future" and scores of 70 paddles. As we marched to the courthouse, we sang "We Shall Overcome," spinning one verse to crystallize our cause: "Tim is not alone today."

Supporters -- about 400-strong -- show solidarity for Tim DeChristopher in Exchange Plaza in Salt Lake City today, Feb. 28, 2011, as jury selection for his trial begins. (Photo courtesy Peaceful Uprising. Reprinted with permission.)

Early on in the rally, Daryl Hannah leapt gamely onto the 8' x 8' stage across from the courthouse to reflect on the mood: "I’ve never seen a demonstration like this -- so many smiling faces!" Peter Yarrow staged an impromptu concert, singing "We are all Bidder 70; we shall not be moved," with hundreds chiming in with harmony. We recreated our Climate Trial, complete with a huge Tim DeChristopher puppet, reminding all in eye and earshot that the most relevant facts of this case are barred from the courtroom and distant from the ears of the jury that could put Tim in federal prison for the next decade. ... Read the rest of this article on Peaceful Uprising.

*Flora Bernard is a writer, a musician and activist, who has worked with Peaceful Uprising since February 2009.

Editor's Notes:
Read about Tim DeChristopher's
presentation at Northern Michigan University in Marquette during Protect the Earth 2009 and his participation in the water ceremony at Eagle Rock.

For more news on today's rally in Salt Lake City see Salt Lake Magazine and

Read the Call to Action in a letter co-written by five leaders of social and environmental justice:Dr. James Hansen, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Robert Redford, and Terry Tempest Williams.

Video: African Night 2011 presents Adinkra Music and Dance Ensemble

At the 10th Anniversary African Night, Feb. 26, 2011, Michigan Tech's Masters of Ceremony Wilbel Brewer and Arthur Gwion of Liberia join the visiting Adinkra Music and Dance Ensemble in a West African dance during the performance in the Rozsa Center. Michigan Tech's African Students Organization sponsored the annual event. Watch for photos, coming soon! (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Weather Report" attracts crowd to Green Film Festival

By Katie Alvord*

HOUGHTON -- A crowd of about 80 people filled Hesterberg Hall at Michigan Tech University on Thursday, Feb. 17, to watch Weather Report, an hour-long documentary about changes already occurring around the world due to global climate warming.

Joan Chadde (standing, right), Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative co-director, introduces Sarah Green (far left), Michigan Tech University Department of Chemistry chair, at the Green Film Festival showing of the documentary Weather Report on Feb. 17 in Michigan Tech's Hesterberg Hall. Green presented the film and facilitated a discussion afterwards. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The film was part of the Green Film Festival co-sponsored by the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI), the Michigan Tech University Center for Water and Society, the Keweenaw Land Trust, and the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. LSSI Co-director Joan Chadde introduced the event, along with Professor Sarah Green, Michigan Tech University Department of Chemistry chair, who facilitated discussion.

Highlighting floods in India, droughts in Montana, spreading deserts in China and melting ice in the Arctic, Weather Report included dramatic footage of landscapes that are changing as global average temperatures increase.

The film began with views of melting ice floes in Nunavut, Canada, and interviews with Inuit residents of the area.

"We the Inuit of the Arctic are witnessing first-hand the melting of this planet, because we are a people of the ice," said one Inuit elder.

"Since the 1970s, we have had warmer weather," said another Inuit resident interviewed in the film. "The permafrost has been melting."

Much Inuit hunting territory on ice floes has thawed into the sea, the film explained.

According to one of the Inuit people interviewed, "These things are unfolding a lot faster than we expected."

Weather Report also included footage from Africa explaining how food crises in parts of that continent have tripled due to drought. The film interviewed three heavily-armed men in the south of Sudan who spoke of conflicts over water because rains don’t come now when they should.

"It’s climate change," said one.

The film concluded with a call for people to reduce carbon emissions.

About half of those who viewed the movie stayed on after the show for refreshments and a discussion led by Professor Sarah Green.

In the Atrium of Michigan Tech's Hesterberg Hall, Sarah Green (standing on stairway) leads a discussion following the Feb. 17 showing of the film Weather Report, a documentary on climate changes around the world.

Green distributed a list of discussion questions, along with a chart of "Stabilization Wedges -- 15 Ways to Cut Carbon," compiled by Princeton University and accessible at

She noted that the carbon-cutting techniques on the chart were not new technologies, but were measures -- such as increasing energy efficiency in cars and buildings -- that might be used to cut greenhouse gas emissions right away.

"Whether the political will can get us there is really the question," she said. "It’s a political issue -- it’s not a technological issue."

Green remarked that because human-caused climate change is already in motion, two types of solutions will be important in addressing it: mitigation -- reducing greenhouse gas emissions to keep predicted climate shifts from getting even worse -- and adaptation -- rebuilding communities so they can handle changes that can no longer be mitigated.

"The Dutch are busy shoring up their dikes," she said. "Most experts say we should plan for a three-foot rise in sea level this century, but actually we should consider the possibility of even a six-foot sea level rise."

Discussion participants expressed agreement that global climate change is a growing problem. Their suggestions for solutions ranged from population control to providing
incentives for emissions cuts to reducing energy use with lifestyle changes. Some, though, expressed uncertainty about whether such solutions could be enacted.

Barry Pegg, Michigan Tech professor emeritus in Humanities, raised the question of population control, mentioning China’s one-child policy but questioning whether it would really stabilize their population in less than 100 years.

Green acknowledged the importance of the issue.

"Deciding how many children you’re going to have is probably the most profound impact we have [on a personal level] on the climate," she said.

One woman expressed her belief that people will be unwilling to address climate change until they start hurting in some fashion.

"Americans are not uncomfortable," she said, contrasting Americans with people in the Middle East who are now calling for sweeping changes in their governments.

Ellis Adams from Ghana, a Michigan Tech graduate student in environmental policy, said he believed governments should create incentives for people to care more about the environment because, without receiving benefits, very few people are motivated to do something to solve environmental problems.

"But if I get a benefit -- if there is an incentive for me to move away from buying gasoline to [buying], let’s say, a hydrogen car -- how do I benefit? And that is solely a government issue," Adams noted. "Create incentives, let people benefit from [positive action] and that will push people to act a particular way and help solve the problem."

A teacher who took part in the discussion said he had trouble getting students to learn climate change science, let alone engaging them in solutions to the problem.

"You have this discussion and only ten percent of the class will nod their heads and think that this idea of climate change is even real," he said. "How do you talk to them about a lifestyle change … if they don’t think it’s real?"

Some suggested telling local stories to demonstrate climate change realities. Chassell resident Connie Julien shared a story about a neighbor of hers who, following a longtime family tradition, had fished three miles out on the Lake Superior ice for several weeks every winter until recent years.

"He wasn’t able to do it the last 10 years of his life because it just didn’t freeze that far out," Julien said. "About five years ago [the length of time he could ice fish] went down to about two weeks, and after that it went down to about ten days, and then it went down to a week, and last year he wasn’t able to go out on the lake at all."

Houghton resident Candy Peterson suggested using the Internet to strengthen the political will to address climate problems.

"The democratic nature of the Internet can pull us together to do good things," she said.

The Rev. Sydney Morris, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship pastor, had this comment on the Green Film event: "It is important to come together to look at the extent of the problems we face, and also to remind ourselves of the positive effective efforts being made all around the world. Perhaps we are not at a tipping point in terms of solutions, but there is an amazing amount of creativity and hard work going on. Some days it's difficult, but we really must keep our spirits up!"

Film series organizer Joan Chadde closed the evening by summing up audience comments.

"From what I heard here, I think it’s all really great that we do take personal action and make changes in our lives, but I think we know that is not enough, that we need to go further, become more involved," Chadde said. "We all will have to decide how we want to do that, but we don’t think that just changing our own personal lives is going to be enough."

The next event in the Green Film Festival will be a showing of Build Green on Thursday, March 17, again at 7 p.m. in Hesterberg Hall. Long-time local builder Dave Bach will serve as discussion facilitator for that film.

* Keweenaw Now guest writer Katie Alvord is the author of three prize-winning articles on climate change in the Lake Superior Basin. Click here to read about her journalism award and links to these articles, which were published on Keweenaw Now in 2007.

Letter: Kennecott's Flambeau Mine still pollutes water

To the Editor:

I am a plaintiff in a lawsuit recently filed in federal court against Kennecott Minerals for pollution at the Flambeau Mine site in Wisconsin. As such, I have been interested in keeping tabs on what the company has been telling the people of Michigan about its track record in Wisconsin.

In particular, the company’s Deb Muchmore was quoted in a regional newspaper (Mining Journal, Marquette, MI, July 16, 2009) as saying that Kennecott’s Eagle Project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula can be expected to be built, operated and closed in "a similar outstanding fashion" as the Flambeau Mine.

I surely hope Ms. Muchmore is wrong.

Since 1998, Kennecott’s own data from its Flambeau Mine has shown toxic levels of copper in a detention pond used to collect runoff from the reclaimed mine site. The same pond was used during the mining years to collect highly toxic acid mine drainage and runoff from the open pit mine.

The polluted water in the detention pond discharges into a creek that flows across the mining company’s property to the Flambeau River. I might add that the copper levels in the discharge are not just a little high. They consistently have ranged between 2 and 30 times higher than the copper standard set to protect fish and other forms of aquatic life.

Again, this is Kennecott’s own data!

I finally got tired of the failure of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to ticket Kennecott for the violations and properly regulate the pollution at the Flambeau Mine site. That’s why I teamed up with the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council and the Center for Biological Diversity to sue Kennecott in federal court.

All I can say is that if Ms. Muchmore is correct in saying that the Eagle Project will be operated in a similar fashion to what the company did in Wisconsin, the people of Michigan are in big trouble.

Laura Gauger (formerly Furtman)*
Duluth, MN 55805

Photo: Laura Gauger (formerly Furtman) has been fighting to protect the waters of the Great Lakes region from the mining industry's grasp since 1997. Here she is pictured at a rally that took place at the Wisconsin State Capitol to protest Rio Algom's plans to mine at Crandon, Wisconsin. (Photo by the late Roscoe Churchill, April 2000, © and courtesy Laura Gauger. Reprinted with permission.)

*Editor's Note: Laura Gauger is co-author (along with Roscoe Churchill) of the book The Buzzards Have Landed about the Flambeau Mine that operated in Wisconsin in the 1990s. She is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit recently filed against Kennecott in federal court over water pollution at the Flambeau Mine site. See our Jan. 25, 2011, article, "Updated: Lawsuit filed against Kennecott subsidiary for water pollution at Flambeau Mine site."