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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.


“Lake Michigan may be coming to Idaho.” That's what an Idaho radio commentator said in June 2021, referring to the idea that Great Lakes water could be sold and shipped out. Holding approximately 20% of the world’s surface freshwater, the Great Lakes are once again a target for the drought-ridden West. And in a potentially far bigger threat, Wall Street is creating markets that could lead to the trading of freshwaters as a commodity like corn or oil. The Great Lakes are in danger of becoming privately exploited on a large scale by those who have priorities other than stewardship.

In the next Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition livestream, Dave Dempsey, author of the book Great Lakes for Sale, offers ideas on how to prevent the fulfillment of this nightmare scenario. They include an attack on water commercialization, curbing abuse of the Great Lakes Compact, and devising plans for limited sharing of the Great Lakes to forestall humanitarian disasters.

Dave Dempsey has been working on environmental issues since 1982, when he joined the Michigan Environmental Council. He has also served as an environmental advisor to former Michigan governor James Blanchard, as Michigan policy director for Clean Water Action, as a member of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and as a policy advisor on the staff of the International Joint Commission. He is currently a policy advisor for FLOW (For the Love of Water), a law and policy center dedicated to protection of fresh water through use of the public trust doctrine. Dave has authored eight books, two of which were Michigan Notable Books. A resident of Traverse City, Dave was born in Detroit and has degrees from Western Michigan University and Michigan State University.

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On the next UPEC Livestream, environmental historian Nancy Langston explores how climate change and the legacies of settler colonialism threaten the future of wildlife in the Anthropocene. She focuses on three “ghost species” in the Great Lakes watershed—woodland caribou, common loons, and lake sturgeon. Ghost species are those that have not gone completely extinct, although they may be extirpated from a particular area. In centering Indigenous efforts at restoration, Langston argues for a measure of hope.

Our guest

Nancy Langston is an environmental historian who explores the connections between toxics, water, climate change, and wildlife in northern watersheds. Author of 5 books, 52 peer-reviewed articles, and public-facing journalism, she served as President of the ASEH and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental History. Recent awards include the Distinguished Scholar Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Environmental History (ASEH); the Mellon Foundation Award in Environmental Humanities; a Fulbright Research Scholar Award (Canada); an Honorary Doctorate from Umeå University, Sweden; the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professorship from Sweden; and awards from the American Council of Learned Society and the American Philosophical Society.

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A delegation from Michigan Tech participated in the COP26 International Climate Negotiation meeting in Glasgow in November 2021. The group was part of the Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education (YEAH), which supported students to present several events at the Climate Summit. The students were also able to observe formal and informal presentations by the U.S. delegation, meet people from around the world, and observe the negotiation process. COP26 featured some successful outcomes, but left major challenges for the future.

On the next edition of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition Livestream Series, our guest is MTU Professor Sarah Green. Dr. Green led the university’s delegation, and will share a general overview of what the group did (student presentations, etc.) and some of the key outcomes of COP26. There will be plenty of time for Q&A and discussion.

Our guest

Sarah Green, Professor of Chemistry at Michigan Technological University, is interested in all aspects of environmental chemistry from molecular analytical methods to global climate change, including the science policy interface. Dr. Green has been a member of the Chemistry Department at Michigan Tech since 1994 and served as Department Chair from 2004 to 2013. She was awarded a Jefferson Science Fellowship to serve in the Bureau of East Asia-Pacific Affairs in the U.S. Department of State (2013-14). Dr. Green served as co-vice chair for the Scientific Advisory Panel on the Sixth Global Environmental Outlook, United Nations Environment Program.

The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition’s Livestream Series keeps the public up-to-date with environmental issues facing the U.P. The livestreams are co-hosted by Board President Horst Schmidt and Vice President Evan Zimmermann. This livestream and all archived past events are available at For more about UPEC, visit

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