IN THIS EPISODE:
In the latest episode of Great Lakes Now, “A Better Future,” a Chicago community surrounded by industry fights for a cleanup, a creative approach to keeping food waste out of landfills in Cleveland and The Catch.
GREAT LAKES LEARNING:
Explore this month’s hands-on lesson plans designed to help your middle schoolers understand the Great Lakes — all at home or in the classroom. They’re aligned to education standards AND free to download.Lesson Plans
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When to Watch?
Check your local station for when Great Lakes Now is on in your area.
Premieres on DPTV
Monday, June 26, at 7:30 PM
STATIONS CARRYING THE SERIES
Bad Axe, Michigan
Bay County, Michigan
Bowling Green, Ohio
Buffalo, New York
East Lansing, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Green Bay, Wisconsin
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Menomonie-Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
Park Falls, Wisconsin
South Bend, Indiana
Syracuse, New York
University Center, Michigan
Watertown, New York for Ontario signal
Watertown, New York for U.S. signal
A Community Fights For A Cleaner Future
SEGMENT 1 | Chicago, Illinois
Located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan is Chicago’s Southeast Side. For years, it was an industrial powerhouse where steel mills, oil refineries and other manufacturers employed thousands of workers. “Yeah, I mean, it was great. I mean, we really didn’t, weren’t aware of a lot of the environmental pollution,” said Linda Gonzalez, a longtime Southeast side resident. For years, pollution was just part of life in that area of Chicago. When jobs started drying up, an industrial wasteland was left behind. There are at least two dozen toxic waste sites on the Southeast Side, some located near schools and parks.
For decades it was standard practice for companies to dump liquid and solid waste into nearby marshes and waterways, like the Calumet River. The river is the center of Chicago’s industrial corridor on the Southeast Side, where large freighters come in to load and unload cargo. The Calumet needs regular dredging to accommodate these huge ships, which is the job of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The muck that’s dredged up from the bottom of the river is filled with toxic materials such as PCB’s, lead, mercury, barium and other heavy metals.
Since the 1980’s, the Army Corps has been putting the toxic waste into a dump site called a Contained Disposal Facility, or CDF, where the Calumet meets Lake Michigan. It’s right next to a park where children play, and now, the site is full and the Army Corps wants to expand the dump site upward. “They want to build a 25-foot higher berm and then be able to add more space behind that to keep dumping there,” said Juanita Irizarry, Executive Director of Friends of the Parks in Chicago. “We think it’s ridiculous to do that in any case, but most certainly right on the lakeshore.”
In an effort to halt expansion of the CDF, the Environmental Law and Policy Center has filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of the Southeast Side community. The Southeast Side community won a partial victory when the Illinois EPA changed the permitting process for the dump site. As a result, the Army Corps of Engineers says “completion of the vertical expansion will be delayed one to two years.”
Here is other Great Lakes Now work on environmental justice:
“Battling Food Waste for People and the Planet”
SEGMENT 2 | Cleveland, Ohio
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in the United States roughly one third of food intended for human consumption ends up as food waste. That’s a big problem.
When food is discarded, all the inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, and storing food are wasted and carbon dioxide is produced. And when food waste ends up in landfills, it rots and creates methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is a major contributor to climate change.
Join GLN as we head to Cleveland, Ohio, where Dan Brown and his team at Rust Belt Riders are helping their community redefine their relationship with food waste. They collect food waste from around the city and use it to create compost and soil. Their efforts are helping the environment and kickstarting the city’s circular economy.
We’ll also learn about a new food waste pilot program underway at Cleveland’s historical West Side Market. The program includes a composting as well as a food rescue component, which helps keep edible (but unsellable) food out of the trash and onto the plates of some of the city’s most food insecure residents.
Here is other Great Lakes Now work on food waste:
The Catch: News about the Lakes You Love
SEGMENT 3 | Manistique, MI; Lake Superior, Cleveland, OH
This segment – The Catch – in our award-winning PBS program will keep you in the know. This month, stories about an Upper Peninsula bicycling event, long-term average water rise in Lake Superior and a fishing competition gone wrong.
First, a look at “Tour Da Yoop, Eh,” James Studinger’s 10-day bike journey throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. James set out to create a safe route for bicyclists that allows them to explore the landscapes and towns in the area. Since creating the bike event in 2018, James has been pushing officials to adopt road safety measures for cyclists in the U.P. and beyond. “A unique thing about the Upper Peninsula is it’s a big landmass but it’s skinny in so it’s an easy place to create this type of a loop logistically where you could do a section of it,” said James.
Next, a story about water levels in Lake Superior from MLive Chief Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa. Mark says that according to data from April 2023, there’s been an increase in long-term average water rise of 3 inches, meaning that Lake Superior levels could see record numbers this summer. Mark says that global warming can be an underlying cause of this rise, which will create more variability regarding water levels in the future.
Finally, a look at a Great Lakes fishing competition gone wrong. Interlochen Public Radio’s Dan Wanschura of the Points North Podcast tells the story of two anglers caught cheating at the annual Lake Erie Walleye Trail. The two fisherman were sentenced to 10 days in jail along with a variety of fines and penalties. To combat the cheating moving forward, Wanschura says that the competitions are utilizing polygraph tests for winning participants to prove that they truthfully won the tournament.
Other stories from The Catch
Rock hunting along Great Lakes shorelines and Niagara farmers adapt to water scarcity.
An encore presentation of stories about eFoiling, water infrastructure, and The Catch.
A community fights for a cleaner future, creatively tackling food waste, and The Catch.
Breaking down an old Great Lakes freighter and feeding a giant freighter’s crew.
Climate change impacts maple syrup and a Toronto company’s push toward renewable power.
Citizen scientists chart the night sky, measure the health of a river and The Catch.
Ice climbing in northern Michigan and a controversial wind energy project on Lake Erie.
A high-tech solution for sewage and recovering WWII aircraft from Lake Michigan.
The science of shrinking ice coverage, Great Lakes ice fishing and skating on wild ice.
Seeking a small, venomous catfish, highlighting a Great Lakes docuseries and “The Catch.”
Exploring a debate over Great Lakes land use, eFoiling on Lake Huron, and The Catch.
Scanning the bottom of the Great Lakes, a giant library of preserved fish, and The Catch.
How coal ash is threatening Lake Michigan, ideas for beneficial coal ash reuse and The Catch.
Mountain biking Great Lakes trails and the U.S. Supreme Court’s impact on wetlands.
Dazzling metallic flashes radiated around me with each twist and turn of their slender bodies. I was completely immobilized and mesmerized by the splendor.
A 150-year-old schooner that sank in 1881 was finally discovered in Lake Michigan.
Freshwater jellyfish have been in inland lakes and rivers throughout the Great Lakes region since 1933. But a century after their discovery, we still don’t know much about the elusive creatures. A team of student scientists is trying to change that.
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Anna Sysling.