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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.


When an industrial-scale wind energy project is proposed, should nearby communities accept it, fight it, or seek another alternative? Some have touted wind power as a simple move away from the pollution of fossil fuels. In the next Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition Livestream, Professor Jim Mihelcic will make the case that his personal and professional journey as a civil and environmental engineer has led him to the conclusion that simple technological solutions don’t exist for a complex global problem like climate change. Mihelcic will discuss a protest movement he helped found in the western UP, called Guardians of the Keweenaw Ridge, where residents rejected plans for a large wind farm. There are other areas around the country that are facing similar challenges. Does an overly technical approach to solving the need for green energy lead to a dead end by ignoring the social and economic problems that come with all forms of large-scale electric power generation?

James Mihelcic was Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech for 19 years and still resides in the UP part of the year. Jim is currently a professor at the University of South Florida (Tampa) where he holds the Samuel L. and Julia M. Flom Endowed Chair in Civil Engineering. He has achieved Fellow status with two national organizations (AEESP and WEF), is a board certified environmental engineering member with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists, and served two terms on U.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board (nominated by the EPA Administrator). Professor Mihelcic is well known for his teaching and research in the area of sustainability and design of critical infrastructures. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for two prestigious scientific journals, including Environmental Science & Technology, and is lead author for several engineering textbooks focused on sustainability, including Environmental Engineering: Fundamentals, Sustainability, Design (3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2021).

This livestream and all archived past events available at

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Have you ever wondered what it is like to live under water? How noisy it is? Are there fish there or not? What other aquatic life exists down there? Join us to hear Professor Lynne Heasley tell how she found the answers to those questions and more in her new book, “The Accidental Reef and Other Ecological Odysseys in the Great Lakes.” She explores how sturgeon are thriving in a polluted St. Clair River, how a husband and wife team have an intimate relationship with the river and its inhabitants, and what has been done to clean up the river. Questions about diverting water from the Great Lakes to feed the dry West’s thirst. How important the international boundary has been for protecting the Great Lakes. The chapter entitled “A Not-So-Objective Introduction to the Fish Consumption Advisory” turns the question of consumption on its head. Professor Heasley presents her story in unique ways. The beautiful illustrations throughout the book add an aura of mystery.

Lynne Heasley is a professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. She earned her Ph.D. And M.S. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Dept. of Forest and Wildlife Ecology). Her other works include “A Thousand Pieces of Paradise: Landscape and Property in the Kickapoo Valley” and (as co-editor) “Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship.”

This livestream and all archived past events available at

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What if one day your employer told your union you were redundant because of climate change? On January 13 at 8 pm EST Professor Emily Eaton will talk about how an unjust transition happened in Saskatchewan at an oil refinery. She’ll discuss the corporation’s campaign to destroy the workers’ union before and after it went on strike under the cover of climate change. Professor Eaton will explain the dynamics of the province’s oil economy, which led to the creation of the union-corporation dispute. We will get an update of what has happened at the refinery since July 2021.

Our guest in the first UPEC livestream of 2022 is Emily Eaton, an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. She studies the oil industry’s influence on rural institutions and culture in oil-producing municipalities in Canada, and examines the influence of oil and energy interests in K–12 education. Emily is currently involved in a community-engaged research project pushing to prioritize justice and equity principles in renewable city strategies.

This livestream and all archived past events available at

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