UPEC Livestreams: Keeping you connected with the UP environment

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

  • “This Is It!”: The latest on important UP environmental concerns

  • “The Energy Show”: Current issues and future transformations in how the UP gets and uses energy

  • “Let’s Talk”: Building sustainable communities in the UP

You can view recordings of the livestreams anytime on the UPEC YouTube channel.

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Updated: Oct 16, 2020

On this installment of the“This Is It!” livestream of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition, Professor Jennifer Daryl Slack of Michigan Technological University addressed what has been called “the crisis of expertise” in American culture, in which the value and advice of “experts,” most notably in the sciences, are increasingly being challenged and disregarded. She spoke about the different kinds of challenges to expertise, the sources of these challenges, and their implications, particularly with respect to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. She also considered a strikingly odd feature of this crisis: challenges to expertise are arising in tandem with an increasing reliance on science and technology in American culture.

(Further information on MTU perspectives on Covid-19 and the crisis of expertise.)

Our guest

Slack is Director of the Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture and Distinguished Professor of Communication and Cultural Studies at MTU. She has been a professor at Michigan Tech for 32 years, where she has conducted research and taught primarily on technology and culture, cultural theory, creativity, and media. Her recent work has been on the role of algorithms in culture. She is also a pastel painter and an active member of the arts community.


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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.


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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.”

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