Skunks, Shiny Pennies and Pretty Winona
Local Environmental News Briefs
By Craig Minowa
For more information about area
environmental organizations, issues and events, go to
www.EAGLE-EcoSource.org or call the
EAGLE office at 726-1828.
Diary of an Environmentalist Gone
I live alone in the Minnesota woods.
Have left the city.
I’m mourning my departed son.
Wife seeks a fresh face far away from
me (and the pain that I remind).
I am of the dirt. Toes embalmed to
roots. Eyes to berries. Skin blown to sand.
I have not gone mad. Rather, the madness
When there are no billboards, radio,
you can finally hear the ancient thoughts
of the birds.
Empowered by the wilderness I now live
in my Walden.
A skunk, the wasps and I make peaceful
plans for a Revolution.
And now the news…
Spirit Mountain: National Leader
Speaks To Duluth City Council
Ralph Nader’s running mate in the 2000 Presidential
election, spoke to Duluth’s City Council about the Native
American spiritual history of Spirit Mountain last Monday
night. LaDuke is a Harvard graduate and a long-time
environmental/indigenous/women’s rights activist. In
1994 LaDuke was named in Time Magazine as one of America’s
50 most promising future leaders.
Several days before LaDuke’s speech, City Council members
Jim Stauber and Rob Stenberg (golf course advocates)
threatened to restrict her speaking time to three minutes.
Of course, that made quite a few local citizens rather
pissy, so the said time constraint never actually came
On Monday night, LaDuke spoke eloquently about the Anishinabe
history in this area and the importance of preserving
Spirit Mountain because of its ecological and cultural
significance. At least that’s what I hear…to be honest,
I wasn’t actually there. I spent the night standing
in the rain and talking to leaves and bats in a prairie
a few miles outside of Hinckley. If that makes you doubt
my credibility, let me add that I have a number of other
sources to back me up on this story---the leaves and
bats say they think her speech was probably pretty good,
too. Thank-you, Ms.LaDuke, I’m sorry I couldn’t be there.
Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.
Lakes States and Texas Are Worst Polluters
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) recently
released a report revealing that the Great Lakes states
and Texas are the worst industrial polluters on the
continent. That’s pretty disturbing, considering the
Great Lakes hold 90% of the U.S. surface freshwater
supply. The report says 16 of the top 50 worst polluting
facilities are located in the Great Lakes basin. On
the bright side, Minnesota and Wisconsin release less
pollution than any of the other Great Lakes states/provinces.
I suppose if you’re a purebred anti-environmentalist,
you could argue that we’re all going to die sooner or
later anyway. Whatever tickles yer fancy. I’m just here
to give you the facts. (Believe me, I’d NEVER throw
in my personal opinion.)
of the Week
Americans throw away 44 million newspapers everyday. That's
the same as dumping half a million trees into landfills
You may remember the local chapter
of the Izaac Walton League conducting a citizen’s plant
survey on Spirit Mountain last summer. The survey led
to the discovery of four rare plant species in a plot
of old growth forest in Duluth where the Doty Administration
has been pushing to build a golf course and hotel.
This summer local environmentalists will continue to offer
focus to Spirit Mountain, in hopes of ultimately protecting
this unique old growth forest. The Duluth Audubon Society
(DAS) has received a grant to conduct a bird survey
on Spirit Mountain this summer. The $3,000 grant will
allow ornithologists to clearly document the incredible
avian diversity of this sacred Anishinabe land. For
more info, contact DAS at 525-9226.
hundred and eighty two bird species are critically endangered
and 321 bird species are endangered (IUCN, 2000).
laughs in flowers to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough, but can not steer their feet clear
of the grave.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Environmental Group Causes National Stir
weekend the Little Marais based Organic Consumers Association
(OCA) kicked off a national campaign with Greenpeace.
Thousands of protestors around the U.S. put the heat
on large supermarket chains to voice their concerns
about genetically engineered (GE) foods.
"The American people have spoken,” said Simon Harris
of the Organic Consumers Association. “They don't want
to eat GE foods." Recent national polls have shown
that upwards of 90 percent of U.S. consumers want GE
foods labeled so that they can avoid them. Despite these
polls, over 70% of nonorganic supermarket foods contain
Scientists warn that GE foods may set
off allergies, increase cancer risks, produce antibiotic-resistant
pathogens, damage food quality, and produce dangerous
toxins. Environmental hazards of genetically engineered
crops include: increased use of toxic pesticides, damage
to soil fertility, genetic pollution of adjoining farmlands,
harm to Monarch butterflies and beneficial insects such
as ladybugs, and the creation of "superpests, "superweeds,"
and virulent new plant viruses.
OCA will continue to assist concerned
consumers with leafleting at supermarket chains, such
as Duluth’s Cub Foods. For more info, call the OCA office:
Mountain of Pennies
Students at Duluth’s Edison Kenwood school recently presented
Hartley Nature Center with over $700. The school’s Student
Council started a “Pennies for Hartley Nature Center”
campaign several weeks ago in appreciation of Hartley
Park, directly across the street from the school. Four
hundred students pooled together their resources and
came up with 72,852 pennies. To put that number into
perspective, if you lined up all of those pennies end
to end, they would stretch a super-duper long way.
Two UMD graduates have officially kicked
off a fresh local project entitled “Community Earth
Farm”. The inner city “farm” recently held a ground-breaking/
planting gathering to celebrate grant funding it has
received for research and development over the next
nine months. Located just across the street from the
Emerson Tenants Co-op on 3rd St. W., the
project aims to demonstrate sustainable living via organic
farming, community involvement and energy efficiency.
The ground-breaking party included a meal of “Story Soup”,
which consisted of a single ingredient donated by each
attending guest. According to Jacob Voit, cofounder
of the Community Earth Farm (CEF), the soup symbolized
“the coming together of the stories and meanings of
the people that make the CEF possible”.
Planning and Preservation Alliance Food-o-rama
(From SPPA) To welcome the arrival of summer and to enjoy
one of Duluth's loveliest Skyline parks, the Skyline
Planning and Preservation Alliance (SPPA) is hosting
a potluck picnic on Tuesday evening, June 18 (6-8:30pm),
at the Enger Park pavilion. The evening will begin with
a presentation by local anthropologist/archeologist
Betty Dahl who will discuss the cultural resources of
the Duluth area. Open to everyone. Bring food to share,
and bring friends! More info? Call 728-1002.