Knowing Climate Change: A Student Panel on Accountability and Accessibility

Knowing Climate Change: A Student Panel on Accountability and Accessibility

 
 
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Under the current administration, phrases such as “fake news” or “alternative facts” have made their way into the common vernacular. On this episode of It’s Hot In Here, guests Kylie Schafer, Amy Pandit, and Justin Schell joined regular host Ben Sonnega for a discussion of their undergraduate class’s collaboration with Justin and the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative.

Kylie is a junior in the school for public health, and Amy is a junior studying data science in the school of engineering. They were part of a class run by Liz Ultee that looked into the effects of climate change and pollution through readings on events such as the famed contamination in Love Canal, NY, or in Flint, MI. Beyond that the class is a community-based learning course. This means that the class usually takes part in some sort of direct community engagement or volunteer experience related to their topic, and this class got to do something particularly relevant.

Justin Schell is Director of the Shapiro Design Lab at U-M and has been involved with the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative since early 2017. The EDGI website was designed to monitor wording changes made to government websites, particularly pertaining to climate science and data sets. The website uses an algorithm to track changes, but it takes citizen involvement to sift through the changes and determine what is actually significant. This is where Liz’s class stepped in. The class got to contribute to EDGI’s efforts while learning about access to information and how to play an active role in holding governments accountable.

Tune in for a delightful and thought-provoking discussion!

Great Lakes Arts, Cultures, and Environments (GLACE)

Great Lakes Arts, Cultures, and Environments (GLACE)

 
 
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(UPDATE: Applications extended to April 14th!) Apply HERE!

On this episode of It’s Hot In Here, Ingrid Diran and Josh Shapero join hosts Bella Isaacs and Ben Sonnega to speak about the U of M Biological Station’s newest course offering: Great Lakes Arts, Cultures, and Environments!

GLACE (Great Lakes Arts, Cultures, and Environments) is a interdisciplinary humanities program held in Northern Michigan during the Spring half-term. Josh and Ingrid will be joined by other U of M faculty and instructors as they teach four interconnected, two-credit courses: two in English, one in Anthropology, and one in American Culture.

The University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) is a research campus situated on Douglas Lake, amid 10,000 undeveloped acres in Pellston, Michigan. For two to six weeks (between May 10-June 23), 20-25 students will work closely with four faculty exploring such concepts as “place,” “natural history,” and “cultural identity” through an engagement not only with literary and other texts but also, in hands-on ways, with the local landscape and its inhabitants, ecologies, and histories.

In addition to formal academic work, the GLACE program experience includes creative writing, hiking, swimming, playing, and taking trips to places of natural and cultural interest in and around Pellston. GLACE students will live and work alongside student and faculty researchers in microbiology, climatology, geology, and ecology. GLACE adds a new humanistic dimension to the cross-disciplinary interactions that have long been strengths of UMBS, fostering a greater understanding of the natural world and our approaches to it.

Hit play NOW to check out this awesome conversation that will surely get you excited about arts, culture, place and environment!

Bird Center of Washtenaw County

Bird Center of Washtenaw County

 
 
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On this episode of It’s Hot In Here, Andrea Aiuto of the Bird Center of Washtenaw County joined hosts Ben Sonnega and Bella Isaacs for a casual Friday dialogue on her current work with bird rescue and how her love of birds came about.

The Bird Sanctuary

The Bird Center of Washtenaw County primarily aims to aid birds, wildlife, and the environment through public education and rehabilitation. Trained staff help take in injured birds to be kept and rehabilitated at the center in Ann Arbor, as well as answer calls to help citizens learn what to do when an injured bird is spotted.

Hummingbird found in the road discussed on air!
Kingfisher whose mohawk Andrea adores.

 

 

 

 

Click play now to hear Andrea talk about bird sanctuary work outside the US, how it is different and the same, and hear bird rescue stories from right here in Washtenaw County!

To get involved with the Bird Center, check out the Flyaway Fundraiser on April 7th, and the Volunteer Orientation on April 21st!

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’ve Hatched: Antibiotic Resistance in Livestock

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’ve Hatched: Antibiotic Resistance in Livestock

 
 
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The use of antibiotics in animal husbandry has promoted not only antibiotic-resistant bacteria among livestock but also spillover between other livestock, wildlife, and humans. On this episode guest Hayden Hedman, PhD candidate, and SEAS graduate student Priscilla Papillas joined host Ben Sonnega to discuss their work studying the spillover of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and how agricultural practices affect the ecology and evolution of antimicrobial resistance within a tropical agricultural setting.

First hand stories of the data collection and lived experience from Hayden are complimented by Priscilla’s experience in helping with translation duties from home. The two worked together on creating organizational sustainability in the community through education. One of these tactics was through a comic book and hosting bingo night.

Images from the comic book and educational bingo game.

Hit play to hear how antibiotic resistance is affecting livestock and what is being done about it!

Carbon Tax Campus Student Initiative

Carbon Tax Campus Student Initiative

 
 
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On this episode of It’s Hot In Here, guest Mitchell Mead joined hosts Ben Sonnega and Bella Isaacs to discuss his unique perspective on climate change and the use of a carbon tax to combat it.

As a small town Michigan kid, he says that he always had care for the environment and nature that surrounded him, but it wasn’t until he got to the University of Michigan that he really became actively engaged with the fight to protect it. Citing his environmental toxicology course with professor Rita Loch-Caruso as a platform, he ultimately became interested in the way that policy and economics can work to combat climate change.

He is now building on previous work done by students calling upon the university to create their own carbon tax structure. The University of Michigan has explicitly written sustainability goals, but will they rise to the challenge that has been set forth by their student body on this one? Tune in to hear more from Mitch, Ben, and Bella!

Media, Culture, and Where We Get Stuff

Media, Culture, and Where We Get Stuff

 
 
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If you’re seeking a show with a more casual and conversational tone, look no further! On this episode of It’s Hot In Here, guests Aman Agrawal and Lo Vesprani join hosts Ben Sonnega and Bella Isaacs for a conversation on the way that information is disseminated in the current age, and what the implications of that are for environmentalists and advocates across the board. The conversation flows from one topics to another, ultimately drawing the attention of a listener who called in with a tough question for our radio panel. Listen now to find out what they said!

You can also find a recap of host Ben Sonnega’s favorite tunes from 2017 shows in this episode!

Navigating the Workplace: Underrepresented and Invisible Identities

Navigating the Workplace: Underrepresented and Invisible Identities

 
 
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Deviating only slightly from the usual environment news and grooves, regular host Ben Sonnega attended a panel discussion at the U of M Alumni Center. The topic of the panel was titled, “Navigating the Workplace: Underrepresented and Invisible Identities”. The panel confronts issues of social justice and identity directly, but issues of environment and social justice are often intertwined, making this a pertinent discussion for our listeners. This episode pieces together major portions of the discussion, but is not the extent of it. The need to advocate for oneself has never been more relevant, especially in professional spaces as students graduate and move into the workforce, or accept an internship for the first time. Listen and learn from experiences shared by professionals and recent grads about navigating conversations on identity and some of the power dynamics that comes with it as a young professional or college intern. This episode also features music from artist Amadou & Mariam off of the album Wati.

Epsilon Eta: The UofM Professional Environment Fraternity

Epsilon Eta: The UofM Professional Environment Fraternity

 
 
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Originating in 2015, undergraduates at the University of Michigan interested in environment found a new home at the Epsilon Eta Fraternity. While there is no physical fraternity house designated on campus, It’s Hot In Here guests and current Epsilon Eta members Sam, Lizzie, Samuel, and Brett showed us that the fellowship and familial closeness of a fraternity was far from lost on them. They joined regular host Ben Sonnega to share their experiences with the fraternity, reasons for joining, and thoughts on a number of environmental topics. 

All four members shared a variety of experiences, but one central point that brought them together seemed to be the camping trips that the fraternity offers during the academic breaks. As social chair for the fraternity, Brett spoke on the organizing of these events, but all four guests alluded to the trips as shaping experiences in the career as an environmentalist.

If you are interested in checking out the fraternity more, click HERE to go to their website and HERE to get to their facebook page!

 

Don’t miss this fun episode filled with laughter, great environmentally geared tunes from artists like John Prine and Ziggy Marley, and powerful messages from young environmentalists!

 

Awareness Through Art: Bird Collisions and Safe Passage

Awareness Through Art: Bird Collisions and Safe Passage

 
 
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Returning refreshed from the holiday break, guests Brooke McWherter and Alice Elliot joined host Ben Sonnega in the WCBN studios to call attention to an issue often overlooked. Amidst challenges presented by changing habitats and habitat destruction, bird kills from collisions with windows can sometimes be forgotten. This is not the case for our guests.
Brooke got her Bachelors degree in Wildlife Biology before serving in the Peace Corps in Southern Paraguay as a conservation and education volunteer. While there she had the opportunity to explore the many ways we can work with and engage communities in various science topics from wildlife conservation, to geography, and even to talk about climate change. As a graduate student at the School for Environment and Sustainability, her research is on climate resilience in rural communities in Bolivia and the connections to local wildlife as part of that resilience. When she is not working on that she acts as co-coordinator for Art and Environment (or ArtEco) which works to promote intersections between art and science and the various ways they occur.
A Lilac Breasted Roller (Brooke’s Favorite Bird)

Alice grew up in Ann Arbor and has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. She’s currently a graduate student at the School for Environment and Sustainability studying conservation ecology and environmental justice. She co-founded Washtenaw Safe Passage with a friend of hers to help raise awareness about how many birds hit windows and the degree to which windows are harming avian populations. Along with this program, and her graduate research, she also participates in other groups like Science for the People and Washtenaw Solidarity with Farmworkers who are working for social and ecological change.

 Inspired by Alice’s work with Washtenaw Safe Passage, Brooke took up her own art project through ArtEco, with  Research Faculty Advisor Sarah Adlerstein Gonzalez. Painting on paperweight sized rocks, Brooke  rendered intricate and accurate depictions of Michigan birds that were found dead from window collisions  and then arranged them in a winged outline at the Shapiro Library. This installation; part arts and crafts, part performance art, part memorial,  reminded passersby to enjoy art but  also to interact with their environment and nonhuman creatures at risk within it. Sometimes, what we do not manage well, we mourn, and make into something that can be a force for greater awareness and change, magnifying the efforts of others.
Painted Rocks by Brooke
Bird Painted Rocks Display

 

The conversation included not only discussion of bird art but all forms of science and art connection such as this water percussion performance. If you are interested in natural science, the arts, and even the possible intersection of the two then this episode is for you!

Aquaculture in Madagascar

Aquaculture in Madagascar

 
 
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With a warm smile that filled the room, guest Nathaniel Maekawa entered the WCBN studios this past Friday to tell regular host Ben Sonnega about his experience as an aquaculture intern in Madagascar. Nathaniel is from Austin, TX. and is a senior at the University of Michigan studying Global Health and Environment, Medical Anthropology, and Sustainability. He enjoys writing, mountains, the ocean, and talking about dreams. Hopes to one day contribute to interdisciplinary projects that address equity, environmental conservation, and human health.

Nathaniel pictured center

His work in Madagascar was through the NGO Reefdoctor. In the words of the organization, the mission is to “marry conservation with social development by facilitating sustainable livelihoods and education as a countermeasure to over-exploitation. Our goal is to protect both marine and terrestrial habitats, and provide a self-sustaining pathway to poverty alleviation in the impoverished rural communities of Southwest Madagascar. We have worked in the Bay of Ranobe for 15 years, establishing long-standing harmony and effective partnerships with local communities”. This mission was reflected in the kindness and carefulness with which Nathaniel described his work with the Southwest Madagascar communities.

Nathaniel at a midnight sea cucumber sale.

Some of his work specifically included facilitating aquaculture development of sea cucumbers and creating his own version of an underwater scarecrow to ward off sea turtles looking for a snack (appropriately deemed the “scareturtle” on air).

Nathaniel’s shark mimic “scareturtle”

Find more stories and tunes from Nathaniel’s time in Southwest Madagascar on this episode of It’s Hot In Here!