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“The Problem with Palm Oil”


Jonathan Robins, Professor of History, Michigan Technological University


Thursday, May 5, 2022, 8:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm CT via livestream on Facebook and Zoom




Meeting ID: 860 7526 9466

Passcode: 2022

Palm oil is the most widely-used vegetable fat in the world, appearing in food, soaps and cosmetics, plastics, inks, and biodiesel. While some companies insist palm oil is a “golden gift to the world,” critics argue that it poses the single greatest threat to the world's tropical forests. In the next Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition livestream, historian Jonathan Robins explores the 500-year history of palm oil as a global commodity, tracing its role in the slave trade, the Industrial Revolution, colonial exploitation, and the beginnings of today’s palm oil boom in the era of decolonization and the Cold War. Robins will highlight the roots of today's controversies over palm oil and show how history can help us envision more sustainable futures for palm oil and the people who produce and consume it.


Jonathan Robins is associate professor of history at Michigan Tech and author of Oil Palm: a Global History (2021).

Gray Wolves Returned to the List of Threatened and Endangered Species

(February 15, 2022) The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition and its Board of Directors are celebrating the decision last week that has returned Upper Peninsula gray wolves  (and gray wolves in most of the lower 48 states) to the federal list of threatened and endangered species.  On Feb. 10, 2022, a federal judge in the Northern District of California reversed and vacated a January 2021 removal of the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.


For UP wolves, this specifically means that for the time being, efforts by Michigan legislators to bring about a recreational season for wolf hunting and trapping will come to a halt.  Sen. Ed McBroom has energetically promoted a wolf harvest through proposed legislation and resolutions.  He and those who work with him and support these legislative actions have now effectively had their hands tied. Notably, Rep. Sarah Cambensy “passed” on a recent legislative action (SCR 7) that would authorize and organize an Upper Peninsula wolf hunt. UPEC acknowledges and appreciates her position.

However, the ruling does not change the delisted status of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, where wolves are persecuted ruthlessly.  This population of wolves was removed from Endangered Species Act protections by Congress in 2011 and was not part of the lawsuit. This act of Congress has proven to be ill-considered,  especially in light of the wanton killing of wolves in those three states.

The Michigan Wolf Management Advisory Council will continue its work to update the existing Wolf Management Plan of 2015, and aims to make its recommendations to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission sometime in the summer or fall of 2022. 


Meetings are held monthly, and are open to the public.  Members of the UPEC Board of Directors have attended some of these meetings, and have offered both spoken and written testimony in support of the best and most current science available, all of which points toward the senselessness of a wolf season in the UP.  Interested persons can find specific information about these meetings at:,4570,7-350-79137_79763_106230---,00.html.

UPEC will be closely following further developments, and will continue to advocate for federal protection of gray wolves in Michigan and elsewhere. Should wolves again be delisted, UPEC will continue to argue that there is no credible scientific basis for a so-called recreational season on wolves in Michigan. 

Jeff Towner and Terri Bocklund, UPEC co-leads for wolf issues   

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