UPEC Livestreams: Keeping you connected with the UP environment

Our series of livestreams, co-hosted by Board President Horst Schmidt and Vice President Evan Zimmermann, keeps you up-to-date with environmental issues facing the Upper Peninsula.

Please note: as of November 2021, you can view all archived recordings of the livestreams anytime on UPEC’s Facebook page. Earlier posts below link to UPEC’s YouTube channel, which is no longer being used for this purpose.


With guest Trevor Pawl, Chief of Michigan’s New Office of Future Mobility and Electrification

The West Coast is burning, the Gulf Coast is flooding — and here on the Third Coast, Michigan is getting ready to be part of the climate change solution.  Gasoline engines and “dumb highways” are on their way out, and Michigan has a new office that aims to place the state at the center of a new generation of electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturing, tech-enabled highway corridors, and much more “smart” infrastructure to move people and goods.

“The Energy Show” is the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition Livestream program that looks at the future of energy use in the UP.  On this program we interviewed Trevor Pawl, head of Michigan’s new Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME). OFME is designed to position the state to take advantage of emerging large-scale trends in transportation, pushing us past a reliance on fossil fuels and towards a future where transportation is clean, shared, electrified, and connected.

The discussion includes key insights into the Office’s focus areas, first initiatives, and building on successful state-led mobility efforts through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Transportation and others.

As Chief Mobility Officer for the State of Michigan, Trevor Pawl is responsible for working across state government, academia and private industry to grow Michigan’s mobility ecosystem through strategic policy recommendations and new support services for companies focused on the future of transportation. Prior to this role, Pawl served as the Senior Vice President of Business Innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, as well as in other business positions. Pawl holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Marketing from Grand Valley State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Watch on YouTube

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

With Zena Huhta, Lake Superior Program Coordinator, Natural Resources Department, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Baraga County

Thursday, September 3, 2020, 7 pm EDT, livestreamed via Facebook and Zoom (links below)

“Let’s Talk” is the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition livestream program that looks at how we, the people, can build sustainable communities in the UP. In our September 3rd program we hosted Zena Huhta from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in Baraga County to talk about beach clean up. It may seem like a mundane task, but Zena speaks about her job with pride, enthusiasm, and passion. We’ll discuss everything from the importance of collecting the high volume of trash—especially plastic—to testing water at beaches for E. coli bacteria to protect not only the county’s residents, but also its many visitors. Many people are not aware of the environmental role of tribes in the UP. In future programs, UPEC hopes to highlight environmental work of KBIC and other tribes, such as fish stocking, restoring waterfronts, and protecting air quality. Tribes have taken the lead on conservation, which benefits all residents of the UP. UPEC is proud to showcase these activities.

About Zena Huhta

A native of Baraga, Zena Huhta attended Northern Michigan University where she earned an associate degree in criminal justice, leading to a career in corrections at the Baraga Max prison. Finding a need for greater fulfillment, she became a certified personal trainer, working for the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College as their Fitness Center Coordinator. More schooling led to degrees in Liberal Studies and Business Administration from Ojibwa Community College. When the opportunity arose, she became Lake Superior Program Coordinator for the KBIC Natural Resources Department, which draws upon her love of the lake. Zena's small hobby farm provides peace and solitude along with her “ critters” and son. She says, “I love my life and that I am blessed to live where I do. We are gifted with so many amazing plants and animals.”

Watch on YouTube

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With panelists Edward E. Timm, Skip Pruss, Ian Bund, and Bryan Newland, followed by an interactive conversation

It is becoming more clear every day there are large gaps in what we know about Line 5, the oil pipeline that traverses the Upper Peninsula and crosses the Straits of Mackinac. On Thursday, August 20, we rebroadcasted parts of a new video from the nonprofit group For Love of Water (FLOW) called “Securing a Brighter Future Without Line 5 or an Oil Tunnel.” Four speakers — an engineer, a lawyer and former state administrator, a venture capitalist, and a tribal chairman — talked about the many liabilities of Line 5 and its owner, the Canadian corporation Enbridge. The panelists are:

  • Dr. Edward E. Timm, PhD, PE, Retired Senior Scientist, Dow Chemical Company

  • Stanley “Skip” Pruss, former Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth and former Chief Energy Officer for Michigan

  • Ian Bund, Senior Advisor, Plymouth Growth

  • Bryan Newland, Chairman of the Bay Mills Indian Community

We’ll then built on their presentations with more information and discussion. The more we get into the Line 5 issue, the more complications keep tumbling out. For Enbridge it is an effort to keep the pipeline open at any cost. For the people of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario, these are our waters, our lives.

View YouTube

More resources

• Slide show prepared by UPEC summarizing main points of panelists, plus actions you can take (PDF document)

Resources from FLOW’s “Securing a Brighter Future” webinar

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