BCR 167: Nancy Langston, Sustaining Lake Superior

Nancy Langston. She is a Distinguished Professor of Environmental History at Michigan Tech on the shores of Lake Superior.  She has written 4 books about environmental change, and she’s working now on a 5th. Today we are going to talk with Nancy about her most recent book, Sustaining Lake Superior, focuses on the interconnected histories of watershed health, human health, and forest health–all in the context of climate change. 

An important note on the book Sustaining Lake Superior, Nancy is donating all proceeds she receives from book sales to local nonprofits working to protect and restore Lake Superior.

Show Notes: 

  • The initial exploitation from clearcut logging resulted in a massive loss of wetlands what was the impact of the loss?
  • Water use and water diversion, pragmatic solution solved some problems but left a pollution legacy that still lives.
  • Why were lakes and streams and boreal forests sprayed with arsenic, copper sulfate, DDT and toxaphene in the 1940s and ’50s? 
  • How does Boreal Forest pulp extraction affect Great Lake Communities? What are dioxin and its effects on peoples health?
  • What is taconite, what was the attraction and what were the environmental effects of widespread taconite processing? 
  • You have described the human impact of industrial pollution, invasive species, and habitat loss. Why are some environmental ideas sufficient for one era too often fail in another?
  • What can be learned from those efforts and applied to new threats including climate change, synthetic chemicals, and forest change?
  • How can this study be considered a microcosm of worldwide environmental challenges?
  • How do toxins affect common loons in the north?
  • How is climate change affecting loons?
  • Loons are good indicators of watershed health, what efforts have people made to restore and protect loons, and what more can we do and what can we learn from Verna Mize and Arlene Lehto?

Mentioned In Episode:

Nancy Langston website

Sustaining Lake Superior

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