Category: Michigan Tech News

Wellstead Publishes on the Challenges of Climate Change Policy

lpad20.v037.i14.coverA paper coauthored by Assistant Professor Adam Wellstead (SS), “Addressing the Challenges of Adaptation to Climate Change Policy: Integrating Public Administration and Public Policy Studies,” was published in the International Journal of Public Administration, Volume 37, Issue 14. (from Tech Today)

Abstract:

With growing attention on formulating the “right” policies and programs to address climate change, the contribution that policy work will make in fostering adaptive capacity needs to be examined. Policy capacity is crucial to policy formulation and should be at the heart of climate mainstreaming. There are six hypotheses about the nature of climate-based policy work based on a survey conducted of Canadian federal and provincial government employees in the forestry, finance, infrastructure, and transportation sectors. To measure the simultaneous effects on perceived policy capacity, an Ordinary Least Squares regression was conducted. Among the key findings was that the increased demand for climate change science within an organization resulted in a decreased perception of policy capacity. Policy work was largely focused on procedure activities rather than on evaluation. The model found that networking was critically important for perceived policy capacity. Effective policy formulation will involve the participation of others normally not associated with traditional policy work. Evidence-based policy work illustrates that policy success can be achieved by improving the amount and type of information processed in public policy formulation.


Langston to Present at FOLK Annual Meeting

LangstonNancy Langston, professor of environmental history and social sciences, will be speaking about the Binational Forum’s work in the Lake Superior Basin at the FOLK annual meeting on Wednesday, November 19th. Langston is a member of the Great Lakes Research Center and the Binational Forum.

The presentation will take place at the Portage Lake District Library at 6 p.m. Both the meeting and the presentation are open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

From Tech Today.


Winkler (SS) and Meldrum (KRC) Quoted in Midwest Energy News

mine shaft

From Tech Today.

Richelle Winkler (SS) and Jay Meldrum (Keweenaw Research Center) were quoted in the recent article “Abandoned Michigan Mineshafts Could Be New Energy Option” in Midwest Energy News.

Abstract:

“Mineshaft geothermal” is gaining attention here as researchers investigate the energy potential stored hundreds of feet below the ground. The water in these abandoned and flooded mines, which expand throughout the U.P., is just now starting to be used to heat and cool buildings.


SS Talk: Melissa Baird on “Mining is Our Heritage: Corporate Discourse and the Politics of Extraction”

IMG_086412:00 noon on Friday, October 24 in AOB 201.  Melissa Baird, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Social Sciences will present, “Mining is Our Heritage:  Corporate Discourse and the Politics of Extraction“.

The Pilbara Coast of Western Australia serves as a touchstone to examine how global mining industries are mobilizing the language of heritage, indigenous rights, and sustainability in their conceptions of heritage and through their corporate and social responsibility campaigns. I present preliminary insights that point to the urgency in making clear the competing claims and tracing the varied agendas of global institutions, corporations, the nation-state, and stakeholders. How exactly is heritage and the language of indigenous rights being used in claim-making and how do new iterations of corporate conceptions of heritage intersect with the rights and lands of indigenous peoples?


D80 Conference Saturday

d80-logo-v1Students Step Up to Help the Poorest 80%

The D80 Center includes Engineers Without Borders, the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology lab, iDesign, the Peace Corps Master’s International program (PCMI), Global City and the Terra Preta Working Group.

Each fall, the D80 Center hosts a conference to showcase the work these student organizations are doing to help underserved communities at home and around the world. This year’s conference is Saturday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dow Building at Michigan Tech. It is free and open to faculty, staff, students and the public. “Engage in Community” is this year’s theme.

“Designs and solutions simply aren’t going to be sustainable if they are not aligned with, and in fact driven by, community priorities,” says Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor David Watkins, director of the D80 Center. “Solutions also have to be appropriate given the community’s technical and organizational capacity and economic resources. It’s well known that successful projects have a common trait of strong community engagement. We also want to emphasize the benefits to students of getting engaged in their local communities or with communities abroad, hence the theme ‘Engage (in) Community.’”

The conference features student presentations, with time for questions, answers and discussion; workshops hosted by faculty; and a keynote presentation, “The Complexities of Water, Climate and Health.” The keynote speaker is Jonathon Mellor, a graduate of Michigan Tech’s PCMI program now at Yale University. He will share the work he has done to address global health issues.

“People should attend to find out about all the great things student groups, and some recent Michigan Tech graduates, are doing,” urges Watkins. “We also want students working on projects to have a chance to share their experiences and learn from each other. Finally, we hope students who have not gotten involved yet will be able to learn more about the opportunities available to them and be inspired to get involved.”

Advance registration is requested and has been extended to Friday, Oct. 10. Registration, the program and additional details are available on the conference web page.


Solomon Publishes on Risk Perceptions toward Nuclear Waste and Uranium Mining

rjrr20_v017_i08_coverFrom Tech Today (October 1, 2014)

Professor Barry D. Solomon (SS) published a paper, “The Utmost Ends of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Finnish Perceptions of the Risks of Uranium Mining and Nuclear Waste Management,” in the Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 17, No. 8 (September 2014), pp. 1037-1059. It was coauthored with Tappio Litmanen and Mika Kari of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Abstract:

There has been substantial social scientific research to determine how people perceive the risks of nuclear power, wastes, and waste management, but not much attention has been given to risk perceptions of other types of nuclear activities. Knowledge about attitudes towards uranium mining and exploitation is increasing, and more attention should be paid to how people perceive the risks of both ends of the nuclear fuel cycle. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to analyze the risk perceptions towards nuclear waste and uranium mining and how these perceptions relate to each other. The analysis is based on Finnish survey data (N = 1180) gathered in 2007. Renewed international interest in nuclear power raised the price of uranium from 2005 to 2007. International mining companies started uranium explorations in Finland because Finnish bedrock is the oldest in Europe, and it is similar to and of the same age as that of the major foreign uranium producers and exporters. Changes in Finnish nuclear power policy make this study timely: while the site for a spent nuclear fuel repository in Eurajoki was chosen in 2001, in 2010, two companies were selected to construct two new nuclear power reactor units in the country. Cross-tabulation of a series of contingency tables based on the survey was used to explore a diversity of nuclear risk perception views. We found that the perception of risks of nuclear waste is quite diversified and that there is no any clear linkage between nuclear waste attitudes and uranium mining attitudes. Although we found that there is a group of double risk deniers and a group of double risk perceivers, risk attitudes cannot be derived automatically from the attitudes towards either end of the nuclear fuel cycle.


Langston Receives NSF Grant on Mining Toxin Migration

Langston1Nancy Langston has received $270,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three year research project titled “Historical and Spatial Aspects of the Migration of Toxic Iron-Mining Contaminants into the Lake Superior Basin.”

Abstract:

This project investigates the mobilization of toxic mining contaminants in the Lake Superior basin. The investigator will conduct archival research and oral-history interviews, and she will develop a geo-spatial database. She plans to link her historical research with contemporary policy and regulation issues, and to engage with local communities, including Native Americans in the region.

The investigator is a well-known environmental historian whose previous work has drawn on multiple disciplines and generated significant media interest; she has a network of contacts that includes a documentary filmmaker and relevant stakeholder groups. The project will produce a narrative of environmental history with the potential for overlap with important questions of technology, culture, and society. It will be of interest to citizen scientists, a wide-array of scholars, and the general public. The most important broader impact of the project is that it might very well influence contemporary policy and law-making.


Industrial Archaeology Students Dig for Answers Around Fort Wilkins

Image from the Holland Sentinel

From Tech Today:

The Holland Sentinel published a feature article on Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology    students’ analysis of early mining activity in the vicinity of Fort Wilkins State Park.

From the Abstract:

 To better document the fort’s history related to copper mining, a group of Michigan Technological University students — led by doctoral candidate Sean Gohman and Patrick Martin, Michigan Tech professor of industrial archaeology — is exploring land  that is now part of the state park, looking specifically for evidence of mining activity by  the Pittsburgh & Boston Mining Co., which operated in the region in 1844-48.

Click here to read the full article: Archaeology students seek answers to Fort Wilkins’ mining past


MacLennan Sugar Book Launch and Talk

Sovereign SugarFrom TechToday (4 Sept.)

Book and Academic Presentation on Hawaii’s Sugar Industry by Carol MacLennan

Carol MacLennan (SS) will offer remarks and slides on her recently published book, Sovereign Sugar: Industry and Environment in Hawai’i (Univ. of Hawai’i Press, 2014),  on Wednesday, Sept. 10 Tuesday Sept. 30 (note new date!), in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. The book unravels the tangled relationship between the sugar industry and Hawai’i’s cultural and natural landscapes. MacLennan’s publication is the first work to fully examine the complex tapestry of socioeconomic, political and environmental forces that shaped sugar’s role. Join us for Hawai’i-inspired refreshments at 4 p.m. with remarks to begin at 4:15 p.m.

This event is part of the library’s “Nexus: the Scholar and the Library” series. All faculty and academic staff are encouraged to be a part of this series. Contact Ellen Seidel (eseidel@mtu.edu) to discuss how you can share your on going research or scholarly achievements with the campus. 


Winkler Receives Funding for Geothermal Energy Feasibilty Guide

img. from Ohio DNR
img. from Ohio DNR

Richelle Winkler was recently awarded a Phase 1 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s P3 (People, Prosperity, and Planet) program to supervise an interdisciplinary team of students to develop a guide that former mining communities can use to self-evaluate the feasibility of tapping into water in abandoned mines for geothermal energy. The student design team, led by Environmental and Energy Policy MS student Edward Louie, will present their guide at the Sustainable Design Expo in Washington DC in April 2015 and compete for a Phase 2 award of $90,000 to implement the project. Social science students are partnering with an Alternative Energy Enterprise team led by Jay Meldrum (Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center) on this project. The full team is also working closely with a community advisory board made up of leaders in the Calumet, MI community. It was Calumet community members partnering in Winkler’s community-engaged research with Main Street Calumet that started the idea for this project.