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Friday, December 13, 2019

Michigan Tech students participate in COP25 in Madrid

By Kelley Christensen*
Posted December 6, 2019, and modified Dec. 12 on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted here with permission


Seven Michigan Tech students have participated in the COP25 global conference on climate change Dec. 2-13, 2019, in Madrid, Spain. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

Seven Michigan Tech students from a range of academic disciplines have presented research and observed negotiations at the global conference on climate change held from Dec. 2 to Dec. 13, 2019, in Madrid, Spain.

Earlier this year Michigan Technological University was granted official observer status to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP25).

Michigan Tech sent these seven students to the global climate change conference in Madrid to present research findings related to four of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDG): SDG 6, clean water and sanitation; SDG 7, affordable and clean energy; SDG 9, industry, innovation and infrastructure; and SDG 11, sustainable cities and communities. The students are also in Madrid to observe negotiations between nations concerning the threats climate change poses to humanity.

Pictured here at COP25 in Madrid are three of the Michigan Tech students who participated: from left, Adewale Adesanya, Alexis Pascaris, and Shardul Tiwari. (Photo courtesy Shardul Tiwari)

COP25 brings together policy makers, nongovernmental organizations and scientists. Originally slated to take place in Chile, the conference was moved to Madrid because of social unrest in Santiago. Sarah Green, professor of chemistry and scientific reviewer of the UN’s Sixth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6), leads the group.

"Michigan Tech students are fully immersed in international climate science and policy this week at COP25," Green said. "I see very wide eyes as they experience the deluge of data at COP25 on everything from science of the cryosphere to climate finance. In collaboration with Colorado State University and Clark University, Tech students are presenting their work on links between the SDGs and climate action."

Green added, "These UNFCCC meetings are where science is translated into policy. Students are able to see this firsthand by observing the actual negotiating sessions."

The students attending COP25 are Adewale Adesanya, doctoral student in environmental and energy policy; Jessica Daignault, doctoral student in civil engineering; William Lytle, doctoral student in environmental and energy policy; Alexis Pascaris, master’s student in environmental and energy policy; Shardul Tiwari, doctoral student in environmental and energy policy; Kenny Larson, doctoral student in environmental engineering; and Karuna Rana, master’s student in environmental and energy policy. Also attending is Bruce Woodry, a Michigan Tech alumnus and CEO of Sigma Capital Group. Gabriel Ahrendt, master’s student in geology, was selected to attend the conference and participated in the research and presentation development, but was unable to go to Madrid when his flights to Chile could not be reimbursed.

The COP25 Experience

The students are part of a university consortium with Clark University, Colorado State University, Monash University in Australia, University of Indiana, Scripps Institute and the Mountain Institute.

On Dec. 3, some of the Michigan Tech students presented research, in partnership with students from Colorado State and Clark, in support of SDG 11. Their presentation focused on sustainability case studies they examined, from the residential to the community scale: Michigan Tech’s Sustainability Demonstration House; the Aldo Leopold Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin; Artefact in Glücksburg, Germany; and a middle class community Lake County, Illinois.

Others of the Michigan Tech contingent will present two case studies about renewable energy access at Clark University and Colorado State, and about a project to build microgrids out of solar panels in rural Rwanda. The students also participated in a press conference.

"Climate change, a global issue, requires cooperation and coordination with a multitude of actors and policy makers," Tiwari said. "COP25 gives the ideal platform for the actors to negotiate the targets for the global goal. Climate change mitigation and adaptation does not have to be a zero-sum game where one group’s losses profit another group."

Three of the students attending COP25 are also blogging about their experiences. Visit mtu.edu/unscripted to read more.

Inset photo: Sarah Green, Michigan Tech professor of chemistry and scientific reviewer of the UN’s Sixth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6). (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

* Kelley Christensen, author of this article, is a Michigan Tech Science and Technology Publications Writer.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Michigan House Water Protection Package is legislation for our children, our traditions

Press Release from the Anishinaabek Caucus of Michigan Democratic Party

Michigan House Democratic leaders present their Water Protection Legislative Package of 2019 during a Dec. 5, 2019, press conference. Speakers in support of the bill package also include Anishinaabek Caucus and environmental group leaders. (Photo courtesy Anishinaabek Caucus of Michigan Democratic Party)

LANSING -- Anishinaabek Caucus of Michigan Democratic Party Founder and Chair Andrea Pierce and several Anishinaabek Caucus members were in attendance at the Michigan House press conference for the Water Protection Legislative Package of 2019. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor), Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) and Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) are using legislation to affirm that all waters of Michigan are held in the public trust.

At a Dec. 5, 2019, Michigan House of Representatives press conference in Lansing, Michigan Democratic Party leaders present their Water Protection Legislative Package of 2019. The three-bill package affirms that all the waters of the state are held inalienably in the public trust, bans the diversion of bottled water outside the Great Lakes watershed and explicitly authorizes the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to protect water in its jurisdiction. (YouTube video courtesy Michigan House Democrats)

Rabhi’s bill puts water resources into the public trust for the benefit of the people of Michigan.

"We need to manage our water responsibly for the benefit of the people of our state, instead of allowing it to be diverted, polluted or exploited for corporate profits," Rabhi said.

Pohutsky’s bill returns oversight for water resources to the Department of Natural Resources in the areas where the DNR exercises oversight for game and fish.

"Michigan’s wealth of freshwater is central to our culture, our economy and our very survival," noted Pohutsky.

Hood’s bill bans exportation of bottle water extracted in Michigan outside the Great Lakes Basin, thereby closing the small container loophole.

"We should not be allowing corporations to profit off of permanently removing massive quantities of the water that belongs to all of us," Hood said.

These bills recognize that surface and groundwater within the Great Lake Basin is a complex and connected single hydrological body that rightfully belongs to the people of Michigan for the benefit and sustenance of the people of Michigan.

Thunderbird Woman represents water protectors. (Image © Isaac Murdoch and courtesy Anishinaabek Caucus of Michigan Democratic Party)

"As water is essential to all living things, we can agree that water needs to be protected from exploitation," said Val Toops, Anishinaabek Caucus member and candidate for Jackson County Sheriff.

Andrea Pierce, chair of the Anishinaabek Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party, urged all Michigan residents to call their state representatives and ask them to support the Water Protection Bill Package.

Anishinaabek Caucus members, from left, Val Toops, Andrea Pierce and Blackcrow. (Photo courtesy Anishinaabek Caucus)

"Advancing legislation to care for our water is one of the main reasons we have formed the Anishinaabek Caucus so that we can protect the culture and traditions of the original people of Michigan," Pierce explained. "We need to work for and protect the water and the land for the next seven generations."*

* Editor's Note: To learn more about the Anishinaabek Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party visit their Facebook page or email
AnishinaabekCaucus@gmail.com.