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Ban The Bag? In New Zealand, But Not Wisconsin

This fall, the national supermarket chain Kroger and its Wisconsin outlets (Pick-n-Save and Metro Market) announced plans to phase out single-use plastic bags in their stores by 2025. It’s the latest in a movement to reduce the flow of single-use plastic items to landfills in this country. Other chains, including Starbucks, are eliminating plastic straws, and some cities and other municipalities have passed more widespread bans. But perhaps none is as strong as New Zealand, which will end...


Concern Swells Around EPA's Proposed Water Protection Changes

The Environmental Protection Agency laid out a proposed rule Tuesday that it says ends confusion about waterways that fall under federal clean water protection. But critics say the measure would strip streams and wetlands of needed protections. Debate over how deep U.S. water regulations should wade isn't new. The most recent clash came when the Obama administration spearheaded something called the Waters of the United States . READ : Trump EPA Proposes Big Changes To Federal Water...


EPA Rollbacks On Air Quality Rules Worry Wisconsin Health Advocacy Organization

It’s no secret that U.S. environmental standards are shifting. President Donald Trump has been candid in his resolve to ease regulations. And in early December, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to revise air pollution rules. The American Lung Association in Wisconsin is among the groups concerned about where the changes could lead. READ: The State Of Wisconsin's Air A decade ago, the EPA established guidelines commonly called the good neighbor rule . It regulates air...


Wauwatosa Residents Speak Out For Sanctuary Woods — Again

City leaders are trying to do some long-term planning for its southwest corner, which is called the Life Sciences District. Although it’s dominated by a bustling medical complex, the attention of many has been on a small parcel, known by its fans as Sanctuary Woods. The 52-acre parcel falls within what has historically been called Milwaukee County Grounds portions of which, particularly along its western edge, have been developed. But within Sanctuary Woods, biologists have found wildlife...


UWM Partners With International Space Agencies To Study Shrubs

A small satellite, called Venus , launched by Israel's and France's space agencies is capturing images of green spaces around the world to learn whether they show signs of global climate change. One of those splotches of green is UW-Milwaukee’s Downer Woods, an 11.1-acre natural area on the northwest corner of campus. Scientists have been studying the wood's trees for years, tracking how they're affected by the climate. But ecologist Alison Donnelly's focus is closer to the ground: shrubs....


Milwaukee Health Department Headaches Seem Never-ending

The Milwaukee Health Department is trying to lift a heavy cloud of mismanagement and community mistrust that lingers months after residents learned the agency failed to follow up with families of children who had been poisoned. Jeanette Kowalik, who replaced long-time Health Commissioner Bevan Baker, is about 12 weeks into a huge overhaul of the agency. READ: Common Council Unanimously Approves New Milwaukee Health Commissioner Two weeks ago, Kowalik told members of the city’s Steering and...


Walker’s Point Neighborhood Home To First WaterMarks Public Art Project

All of us are connected to water. And there's a new public art project that gives Milwaukeeans a chance to tell their water stories. New York-based artist Mary Miss spearheaded the idea. She stepped into the Wisconsin scene in the 1990s when she was asked to contribute to the creation of Milwaukee’s Riverwalk, designed to help connect people to the Milwaukee River. Today, Miss wants to draw more residents to their water. “Allowing people to understand how they’re supported by the...


Wisconsin Gray Wolf Debate Fires Up Again

Right now the gray wolf is federally protected in Wisconsin. But a bill making its way through Congress aims to lift that protection here and throughout the lower 48 states. Some people view the gray wolf as an important part of a functioning ecosystem. Others consider wolves a looming threat. In the early 1900s, a bounty system was created in Wisconsin to drive down the number of wolves. By 1960, there wasn’t a wolf to be found on the state’s landscape. In 1974, the newly-enacted Endangered...


Journalist Highlights Pressing Issues Facing The Great Lakes

As Milwaukee writer Dan Egan’s recent book made clear, the past and future of the Great Lakes are a complicated equation. Humans have had a significant impact on the watershed and the ecosystem in both negative and positive ways. In the November issue of Milwaukee Magazine , Chicago-based writer Kari Lydersen went in search of the most-pressing issues that the Great Lakes face today — and the people who are confronting those issues head on. She explains that her task was to explore the state...


Milwaukee Group Launches Fruit Tree Harvest Initiative

Before the cold snapped us from summer to fall weather in late October, four people were busily tending a tree laden with ripe, red apples. It was the Glean Team at work on the Milwaukee VA Medical Center grounds. Matt Rudman with Groundwork Milwaukee is coordinating its inaugural season. “We start by cleaning up the ground. All the fruit that’s fallen, we sort it. Windfallen ones that are still usable and could be baked. Or if they’re rotting, we clean up the hard and get them over to a...


Former Wisconsin DNR Employee Says Environmental Standards Were Ignored To Allow Kohler Golf Course

The Kohler company is keen to create a world-class golf course along Lake Michigan. But the project has faced obstacles. Critics fear the 18-hole course bordering Kohler-Andre State Park will impact a unique sand dune-wetland system. An organization called the Friends of the Black River Forest formed to try to put a stop to the project. READ: Proposed Golf Course Along Lake Michigan An Economic Success Or Environmental Debacle? Nevertheless, Kohler received the necessary permits from the...


There's A Growing Trend To Repurpose More, Landfill Less When Deconstructing Buildings

There’s a striking illustration of the old and the new in downtown Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Bucks’ new $524 million arena, the Fiserv Forum , stands next to the team’s former home, the Bradley Center. Work has been underway to salvage pieces of the Bradley Center before it's demolished. The work is part of a growing trend to deconstruct and reuse, rather than landfill. In September, the only life evident within the Bradley Center was a small sea of volunteers led by Jake Weiler, the...


Some Milwaukee College Students Will Vote With Climate Change In Mind

Climate change is dominating some voters' concerns, including 16 Alverno College students who've been exploring the global issue in an elective course taught by biology professor Chris Young. He describes this batch of students as the most engaged and eager to discuss the complexities of climate change of any class over the years. Yet, many told him they hadn’t heard about the gravity of climate change before taking his class. Young says most of the students said they get their “news” from...


Wisconsin Teens Take Action On Climate Change As Midterm Elections Approach

Issues like taxes and education have been dominating political ads and campaigns. But climate change is on many people’s minds, too, especially with a recent report that says climate change will soon have dire consequences if humans fail to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. And a dozen teens in the Milwaukee area are stepping up to push for climate change action. They’re part of a fellowship program created by the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), which is designed to equip young...


Milwaukee Greenhouses Remain Full Of Life After Growing Power Disbands

For nearly 25 years, the urban farming nonprofit Growing Power taught kids and adults on Milwaukee’s northwest side to grow and consume local food. The project was the brainchild of Will Allen, who earned international recognition and a MacArthur genius award for his work. But a year ago, Growing Power buckled under a shroud of debt and legal action. The board of directors voted to dissolve the nonprofit. While issues surrounding Growing Power continue to be sorted out, Allen continues...


Frogs! Exhibit At Milwaukee Public Museum Explores Diversity Of Frogs

Scientists believe frogs have roamed the earth for more than 200 million years and they can be found in nearly every corner of the globe. They’re not uncommon in Wisconsin, especially if you listen around a pond in the Northwoods on a summer evening. But for all their musicality, frogs also hold a vital place in the ecosystem. Ellen Censky is the interim president and CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum, which is currently hosting an exhibit all about the life of Frogs. Frogs! features live...


Wisconsin Project Supports Young Farmers & Butterflies

For decades, farming and Wisconsin were practically synonymous. But its landscape is changing. Farmers older than 65 far outnumber those younger than 35, and it can be difficult for younger people who want to go into farming to find suitable land. Monarch Farms Project aims to shift those trends. It pairs farmers in search of land with investors who rent the parcels at an affordable rate. As part of the deal, some land must be set aside for pollinators, particularly Monarch butterflies....


Milwaukee Researcher Prescribes Science & Nature To Solve Toxic Algae Problem

Veterans Park lagoon along Milwaukee’s lakefront is one of the places people gravitate to fish, canoe and kayak. But over the last couple of years, concerns about tenacious toxic algae has raised public health concerns. Just to be clear, there are all sorts of algae — plants that can range in size from microscopic to massive. Many aren’t toxic, but the type of blue-green algae researchers are monitoring in the lagoon is toxic. It’s called microsystis, and it can make people sick. If someone...


What Can You Do About Climate Change?

A recent report commissioned by the United Nations predicts dramatic consequences if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates. So, what can you, as an individual, do about climate change? Tia Nelson, managing director of climate at the Outrider Foundation , shares some tips on what you can do to help offset climate change. She believes it's essential that humans pursue every available climate solution to avoid human-caused warming. "This report should serve as a wake-up call to...


Climate Change: New Report Creates Urgency In Milwaukee & Worldwide

The world faces dramatic consequences ranging from heightened food shortages to shrinking coastlines as soon as 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, according to scientists from 40 countries convened by the United Nations. For years experts believed a rise of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit was the threshold for severe impacts. But after reviewing more than 6,000 scholarly studies, the scientists concluded human health, economies and ecosystems will suffer with a smaller...