ICR -- Investigating Community Resilience
Every week Dave Barrons hosts a conversation about community resilience in the Northwestern Michigan. Each show investigates resilience through various themes with his guests. Select one of the themes in the left sidebar to watch past shows from that theme's perspective.
This is an archive site, please visit the new website - icr.nrec.org
Diane Conners rejoins Outside In for further updates on the local food movement in NW Michigan. She is joined by her colleague from the Michigan Land Use Institute, Janice Benson. Both work in leadership positions developing our local food economy and each talks about new programs being launched this spring season. Double Up Food Bucks and the Spend Ten Campaign have multiple goals: to increase local food consumption and to increase consumption of healthier foods by those with more limited resources who often get locked into buying cheaper less healthy food. Both women emphasized the integration and networking of multiple public agencies and organizations in developing these programs and their local, 'grassroots' origins, building resilience through increased diversity of food choices and increased social capital.
More Threats To The Great Lakes -- Several weeks ago it was the 'ownership' threat to the Great Lakes, with Jim Olson; this week it is the invasive species threat. Tom Kelly, executive Director of the Inland Seas Education Association joins Dave to update the status of foreign mussels in our Great Lakes water. Quagga mussels are now replacing zebra mussel as the worst threat. Quaggas filter a much deeper water column robbing native species of vital food at the bottom of the native food chain. Our water may clearer these days, but that doesn't always mean it's healthier. Tom updates the state of the fight against Asian Carp and suggests that unless the barrier to the fish is pushed much farther downstream, farther from Lake Michigan, it is only a matter of time before that nightmare unfolds on the Great Lakes.
This week's conversation turns to the topic of affordable housing. Dave is joined by Sarah Lucas, Regional Planner for the Northwest Michigan Council Of Governments and head of the Grand Vision Housing Task Force. Affordable housing is an issue for the entire community, especially as energy costs continue upward. The long standing trend pattern, where rural housing is cheaper than city housing, is about to crash. The costs of transportation and home heating will soon make rural living untenable for those who must travel some distance to get to work and living on marginal incomes to start. Sarah and Dave outline the many economic connections that center on the living quarters and ponder the coming crisis in affordable housing as even greater numbers of working people can't afford where they live.
Environmental lawyer and water activist Jim Olson joins the discussion this week, outlining the various threats to our Great Lakes waters. Olson identifies a long list of threats, either physical threats to the ecosystem like invasive species, or ownership threats. We are right at the point of determining for future generations, says Olson, on whose bottom line does our water resource fall. Is water to be commoditized and whose value ends up on the corporate bottom, line or is it to be protected as part of the public commons with the benefits protected for the public. Who 'owns' our fresh water resource, underground and on the surface? Jim and Dave also promote an important upcoming event, the 2011 Conference: Saving The Great Lakes Forever with presentations by Maude Barlow (speaking at the State Theater) and Winona Hunter and including a viewing of the film Tapped at the State Theater.
On this weeks show Bob Russell returns from several important conferences to fill us in on things he's learned. RESILIENCE 2011 in Tempe, Arizona was one of his stops and Bob reports on the effort there to blend academic theory with practice on the ground. Much of this week's discussion comes from Bob's last stop, the National Conference on Media Reform. From this gathering we learn of the critical importance of perceiving our media resource as 'public commons' no different from other common spaces that need ever vigilant public protection in order to preserve them. Public media is under current threats of privatization. Recent rulings have helped protect some of this commons and exciting possibilities exist, but public engagement in protection of, and use of, this vital resource is necessary.
Matt McCauley, the Director of Regional Planning at the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments and leader of a team that brought a Placemaking Summit to Traverse City. Matt and Dave define the concept of 'placemaking', review a video of one of the main speakers at the Summit, Fred Kent, and they discuss how good placemaking builds resilience in the social capital of the communities.