This week’s show brings our listeners more than an hour of in-depth analysis and lively conversation on the challenges of climate change planning, both in Ethiopia and across the diverse governance landscape of East and North Africa. Tying in closely with a case study newly developed by a team of SNRE students for the pilot project “Michigan Sustainability Cases,” the broadcast explores the complexity of crafting effective and equitable adaptation policy. Specifically, we ask how national adaptation plans are made? By and for whom? What are the decision-making criteria? And what could these criteria fail to account for? Bringing together legal, anthropological, and environmental expertise, the broadcast takes adaptation policy as the starting point for a broad-ranging dialogue on climate change impacts, social conflict across ethno-linguistic groups, and national planning as a tool of marginalization.
Our IHIH hosts Rebecca Hardin and Katie Browne, and guest host Arman Golrokhian are joined by three delightful and distinguished guests: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and current SNRE student Benjamin Morse, Dr. Kelly Askew of the Department of Anthropology and the Department of African and Afroamerican Studies (DAAS), and Professor Laura Beny of the Law School.
In the first half of the broadcast, we dive into Benjamin’s experience working in Northern Ethiopia, and especially the climate change impacts he witnessed firsthand in rural communities. Guided by Arman, we then delve more deeply into the nitty-gritty of adaptation planning, specifically the criteria employed by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in selecting and prioritizing specific projects. In a pre-recorded interview with Benjamin Larroquette, a regional technical advisor for the UNDP, we learn about the decision-making process, how environmental and development priorities are balanced, and what assumptions are built into the analysis.
“Let’s Plant a Tree,” one of a series of collaborative PSAs produced by Ben during his years with Peace Corps in Ethiopia
In the second half of the broadcast we move into a broader discussion of adaptation planning in East and North Africa, drawing upon the expertise of Professor Laura Beny, who has written extensively on the challenges of governance in Sudan and South Sudan, and Dr. Kelly Askew, whose research has increasingly focused on land rights and economic rights of Maa-speaking peoples in Tanzania. Dr. Beny highlights many of the challenges faced by the world’s youngest country, South Sudan, particularly along its borders where migration, conflict over resources, and questions of citizenship have contributed to chronic instability. Emphasizing that national plans often fail to take the interests of marginalized groups into sufficient consideration, Dr. Beny warns that current climate plans and projects can play into broader challenges of resource access.
“Kudung Dance” by Bilpam Akech -
a traditional Atuot Dinka dance song recommended by Professor Laura Beny
Dr. Askew reinforces these points, drawing attention to the ways in which the needs of pastoralist and hunter-gatherer groups are routinely disregarded in national planning, often leading to displacement, persecution, and ethnic-based violence, as has unfortunately been the recent case with the Masaai in Tanzania. Climate change, Dr. Askew asserts, poses a particular threat to such marginalized groups as changing weather and precipitation patterns drive governments to expand agriculture in the name of food security, increasingly compromising access these groups’ access to rangelands and water. Both Professor Beny and Dr. Askew also call for greater scrutiny of the role of international institutions, who underwrite and sponsor many of the development projects which drive displacement and marginalization. These institutions, they argue, should be held as accountable as national governments for project outcomes.
“Ahled Ale” by Ethiopian artist Tewodros Kassahun, aka “Teddy Afro” -
recommendation from Julie Jarvey, who recently returned from fieldwork in the Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia
Benjamin is a Behavior, Education and Communication Master of Science Candidate in the School of Natural Resource and Environment and a Master of Public Policy Candidate at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. While attending school, Benjamin works as a Campus Recruiter for the Peace Corps on University of Michigan's campus and as the Social Media Director for Detroit Digital Advertising; an automotive digital advertising rep firm located in Detroit. He's also a returned Peace Corps volunteer, world-traveler, environmentalist, gregarious optimist, educator, mentor and adventurist.
Benjamin is originally from Colorado and has lived in Australia, Costa Rica and Ethiopia and currently lives in the Republic of Korea. He is completing research for his Master's Thesis focusing on behavior-change in ecotourism. Benjamin has over three years of international experience with an emphasis on ecotourism development, behavior-change programming, permaculture design, cross-cultural communication, leadership and ingenuity.
Arman Golrokhian is a second year dual degree master’s student at the University of Michigan in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ford School of Public Policy. He has participated in numerous international climate change meetings, including the 2014 and 2015 Bonn Climate Change conferences and the 2015 20th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change.
Arman is passionate about creating more sustainable societies by applying his understanding of the natural resources system and working with decision makers to come up with innovative decision-making processes. Besides his master's programs, Arman is also a student researcher in life cycle assessment (LCA) at the Center of Sustainable Systems and a member of the Ross Energy Club.
Kelly Askew is the Director of the African Studies Center and Professor of Anthropology and the Department of African and Afroamerican Studies (DAAS). She has worked for over two decades in Tanzania and Kenya. In addition to her research in East Africa on performance, nationalism, media, postsocialism, and the privatization of property rights, Dr. Askew has pursued various film and video projects. Her writings and film projects span two primary research areas: poetic arts as vehicles for populist engagement with politics, and the formalization of property rights.
Dr. Askew is Co-Principal Investigator on a $1.5 million grant from USAID to strengthen engineering education in Liberia, part of an $18.5 million effort titled Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD), which constitutes a collaboration between the University of Michigan, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Technology and RTI International.
Laura Beny is a professor at University of Michigan Law School, teaching in Corporate Finance, Enterprise Organization, International Finance, the Public Corporation, Law and Development, and Law and Finance. Her research interests include a wide range of subjects in law and economics, finance, political economy, and international development. Her research has been published in the American Economic Review, American Law and Economics Review, Journal of Corporation Law, and Harvard Business Law Review, among others. Dr. Beny is co-editor with Sondra Hale of the forthcoming critical volumeSudan's Killing Fields: Political Violence and Fragmentation (Red Sea Press).
In addition to her scholarly work, Dr. Beny has published numerous opinion pieces on Sudan and South Sudan in various international media, such as Newsweek International, Africa.com, and Al Jazeera, among others. She also has served as a legal consultant on numerous projects in the United States and Africa. Before coming to Michigan, she practiced private and pro bono law at Debevoise & Plimpton, an international law firm based in New York City.
Benjamin Larroquette Benjamin Larroquette
is the Regional Technical Advisor of United Nations Development Programme - Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF)
. He provides oversight and technical support to 15 African countries on implementing Climate Information and Early Warning Systems Strengthening Livelihoods and Disaster Risk Reduction and adaptation to Climate Change.
In our show, we played a prerecorded interview that Arman did with Mr. Larroquette about National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).
This week’s guests and hosts in Studio: (from L to R) Dr. Rebecca Hardin, Dr. Kelly Askew, Professor Laura Beny, Benjamin Morse, and Katie Browne.
This week’s full production team: (from L to R) Katie Browne, Dr. Kelly Askew, Benjamin Morse, Dr. Rebecca Hardin, Professor Laura Beny, Cameron Bothner, and Arman Golrokhian.
And finally, please enjoy this music proposed by It's Hot in Here founder and previous cohost Jennifer Johnson -- “Eyekesekesenge Fekerhe” by Bezunesh Bekele, the “Aretha Franklin of Ethiopia:
This week we played an archived show - Tea Time with Sarah Besky
We want to use this show to send our love and best wishes to Sarah Besky
for her new job at the Watson Institute for International Studies, to host Rebecca Hardin
for her great work in India, and to host Jennifer Johnson
for her new appointment as Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Purdue University.
Tune in, and enjoy, the beautiful voices, intriguing stories, and lovely music. Check out also:
Sarah Besky’s new website: http://www.sarahbesky.com/
the original post for the 2014.01.17 Tea Time with Sarah Besky
*Vamping is to repeat a short, simple passage of music until otherwise instructed.
In today’s show, we focus our chat on the Michigan Mackinac pipeline and recent SNRE grad Katie Browne’s experience on capacity-building projects in Gabon. In addition, we vamped about our favorite non-American foods and non-English languages, and shared a letter from Rebecca Hardin in Hyderabad, India about her sustainability-case teaching experience to scholars from around the world.
In the first half of the show, we discussed a 62-year-old hydrocarbon pipeline that runs under the Mackinac straits, explaining why it is so problematic and discussing some of the possible procedures to prevent or cope with a potential spill. Intended to last only fifty years, Line 5 is not only 12 years overdue for replacement, but also highly corroded by zebra mussels, an invasive species with its own troublesome history in the Great Lakes. Underwater cameras have also documented broken support braces, which allow the pipeline to sway ominously. Of particular concern is Line 5’s positioning at a critical juncture between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron where currents are consistently strong; scientists predict a spill could spread in less than a day into both lakes and along a significant stretch of shoreline (see a model in the links below). While the State of Michigan has made a few suggestions to limit potential hazards (e.g. limiting the Line to transport of only hydrocarbons, which would float in a spill, and not tar sands which would quickly sink), more action needs to be taken.
A great place for IHIH listeners to start would be on the website of “Oil and Water Don’t Mix”, a local activist group leading the movement to “Keep oil out of the Great Lakes” - http://www.oilandwaterdontmix.org/
To learn more about Line Five (and you should learn more about Line 5! because Vamping is only the beginning!), check out these other greats sources of information and insight:
- The line five documentary on Vice Motherboard: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-aging-oil-pipelines-below-the-great-lakes
- A Youtube video modeling oil spill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bx4g-MPiws
- The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands: http://www.michigancats.org/
Second half of the show, we chat about the REFRESCH project that Katie has been working on in Gabon, which looks for solutions for future energy direction, as well as solving water and food challenges in resource constrained environments. The REFRESCH project is also active in the City of Detroit, where people are trying to build aquaculture system and utilize the interconnected technologies.
Katie and a group of undergraduates from the Eco-Explorers program field-testing an electric fence prototype, designed to reduce crop predation and human-wildlife conflict.
In Gabon, Katie and her teammates work with off-grid communities that do not have electricity to find technologies that address interconnected resource challenges. While Gabon is rich in oil, it must be exported to be refined, and is still very expensive upon re-importation. Renewable energy is therefore a key to the country’s vision for the future. Katie and her teammates have done some capacity building in the communities in Gabon, and will continue to do so in the next year. Their vision is to utilize this platform for people to exchange knowledge and solutions. For example, they are planning on putting together a series of workshops that will bring people from different villages to learn and exchange ideas. Some of the ideas include putting up electric fences and utilizing rechargeable car batteries, as well as entrepreneurship around solar panels and electricity storage.
Katie is working in Messanguelani, Central Gabon.
"In Gabon, it is not all hard work and no play. Sometimes you get to play with crocodiles." -- Katie
Katie Browne is a recent graduate student from the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) where she focused on Environmental Justice and Science and Technology Policy. Before SNRE, Katie served three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, where she ran environmental education programs and coordinated natural resources related seminars and projects. During her graduate school experience in SNRE, she worked in Kenya, Ethiopia, Alaska, and Peru on diverse projects spanning zoonotic disease, socioeconomic disparities, and climate change. Katie currently works for the University of Michigan Energy Institute, as a program assistant for the REFRESCH project in Gabon.
And last but not least --
Selfie shot of today’s IHIH crew: Cameron Bothner, Sam Molnar, Katie Browne, and Pearl Zeng.
We love to vamp!
A local artistic and scientific collaboration between Ann Arbor’s Penny Seats Theatre Company
and the University of Michigan's Environmental Biotechnology Group
is offering performances of the musical Urinetown
: The Musical!
as well as innovative water conservation research over the next three weekends starting July 30.
The Environmental Biotechnology Group
, an Environmental Engineering research team from the University of Michigan, is studying how human urine and its byproducts can be processed as a safe, effective and eco-minded way to fertilize food crops. The University of Michigan is one of five institutions involved in this ground breaking research. Fittingly, the Environmental Biotechnology Group
will be providing porta-potties for the Penny Seats’ performances of Urinetown.
"Urinetown: The Musical!
is a Tony-award-winning hit written in 2001, and will be performed by The Penny Seats Theatre Company
July 30, 31, Aug 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15 (all shows at 7 pm). The show is set in an admittedly absurd dystopian future where one must pay to pee, the show lampoons corporate bureaucracy, pie-in-the-sky optimism, revolution without a plan, and the musical theatre genre itself. With a full pit orchestra (led by Richard Alder) on the band shell stage, the action takes place around the audience in the park. Featured performers include Brendan August Kelly (Ypsilanti), Roy Sexton (Saline), David Francis Kiley (Ann Arbor), John DeMerell (Walled Lake), Sarah Ann Leahy (Ann Arbor), Paige Martin (Ann Arbor), Cathy McDonald (Plymouth), Christina McKim (Albion), Jenna Kellie Pittman (Waterford/West Bloomfield), Linda Rabin Hammell (Detroit), Jeff Stringer (Jackson), Maika Van Oosterhout (Ann Arbor), and Daniel Bachelis (Howell). Production photos taken by Scarlett London."
A review of the musical can be found here
As President Obama touched down in Kenya early on Friday July 24, 2015 Carmella Tal Tomey
, Assistant Research Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, had only recently returned from Nairobi herself. Ella studies complex links between age, place, social and psychological factors, and physical impairment. She has recently expanded from research into what makes for healthy communities here in the U.S. to work within scientific communities overseas. She is developing video and slide materials
to complement intimate, face to face workshops where she enables U.S. students and younger scholars to train with their international counterparts for more focused and effective writing, more responsible conduct of research, and more collaborative and productive careers.
Our interview with co-hosts Jennifer Johnson and Sam Molnar was peppered with upbeat recent Kenyan dance tracks (playlist here
), and great stories of her adventures there with colleagues and friends. We honed in on Ella’s collaboration with Professor Jesse Njoka, who directs the Center for Sustainable Dryland Ecosystems and Societies (CSDES)
at the University of Nairobi (UoN). Other UoN faculty Judith S. Mbau and Stephen Merithi collaborated with Ella to facilitate the workshop. They are pictured here in a peer review writing exercise they plan to continue using within their own curricula and communities.
UM will host a “Metaworkshop” with African colleagues from Gabon, Kenya, and Ethiopia in October under the auspices of UM’s STEM-Africa initiative (Science, Technology, Environment/Engineering and Medicine/Math), African Studies Center and International Institute, and with support from colleagues at UCLA and Tulane working on a National Science Foundation PIRE grant in equatorial Africa. The meeting will review models for academic bridge building that can offer a next generation of scholars in sustainability and global health fields more integrative and collaborative training from early in their careers.
Previous Afro-optimist broadcasts on our show abound and the playlists range unapologetically across regions and eras. Our STEM Africa Partnerships
broadcast starts with complex polyphonic pipe orchestras from Central African Republic, reflecting on the intricacies of African indigenous knowledge and practice. Then it takes us through Gil Scott Heron’s angry “Whitey on the Moon” poem set to rhythm, reflecting on asymmetric access to science within racist U.S. systems. It ends with Naeto MC singing “Things are Not the same…Ten over Ten” announcing positive change from his platform as the Nigerian “only MC with an MSc.”
In terms of talk, that hour we quote from the vision of STEM Africa leaders here on campus, Mechanical Engineer Elijah Kannety Asibu
and Mathematician Nkem Nkumba
who have engaged African scientists working internationally in considering scientific needs and strengths on the African continent. We also hear from Dr. Heather Eves,
founding Director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, who has taught in higher ed settings from the DC metro area to the Caribbean, and mentored many conservation professionals from Cameroon to Kenya. Heather’s persistent constructive engagement parallels the care Ella Tomey takes with her curricular materials. Dr. Eves also address radio as a tool for scientific and policy awareness and debate in African settings, and creative writing as a vehicle for better connections among and between scholars from varied disciplines and the wider publics they seek to engage.
Another Afro-optimist broadcast from 2011 tackled the Africa-Asia Nexus
, with a mix of Indian and African music. A lively discussion blazed in studio between Anthropologist Omolade Adunbi
about his work on oil extraction where his family and friends live and work in the Niger Delta, Geographer Dr. Bilal Butt
working in his native Kenya on pastoralism in national parks, and the School of Information’s Dr. Joyojeet Pal
who hails from Mumbai but has worked on installing high speed wifi cables in rural Rwanda, and studying uptake of laptop technology in rural primary schools in India. You think you know the globalized green academy? Think again…
…and again. Just last year, Dr. Pete Larson led us on an audio tour of really heavy metal African rock,
while talking about his own metal band and his research on malaria in Kenya. Hot indeed! These days Pete can be found blogging in English about the interfaces of epidemiology, development and culture,
and teaching in Japanese as an Assistant Professor at University of Nagasaki, based in their Institute of Tropical Medicine Kenya Field Station
. Pete also holds down an Adjunct Professor position right here at the UM’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, mentoring UM masters students like Mike Burbidge, pictured below. Mike and others are seeking better field understandings of pastoralism, wildlife management, and spatial and social aspects of zoonotic disease transmission. They live with families and work with Kenyan field research teams.
Pete figured in today’s interview with Ella--especially in her tales of Nairobi nightlife, to which she was introduced right off the plane! Unlike President Obama, Pete and the Michigan Difference team did not have a heavily armored and defended vehicle. But they did and do make a lot of impact on the lives of students and teachers at UoN (Nairobi), UN (Nagasaki), and UM (that’s right, Michigan). Welcome to the future. The revolution will not be televised. But if Ella Tal Tomey has her way, it will be collaboratively thought out, and carefully written about. Go Blue!
Pictured left to right: Cameron Bothner, our fabulous radio engineer, host and professor Rebecca Hardin, our wonderful guest Ella Tal Tomey, as well as host and founder of the show Jennifer Johnson
One of our favorite Kenyan bands - Just a Band - and their music video: "Usinibore"
Join us on It’s Hot in Here this week to hear about GIS (Geographic Information System) applications in the Environmental Field -- Mark Yoders from Quantum Spatial Inc. shared with us details on a variety of GIS projects involving the environment and David Betcher shared specifics on his work with the Great Lakes Communication. We also discussed different GIS technologies, including 3D LiDAR and photogrammetric point clouds, as well as thermal and infrared imagery. All these technologies have revolutionized the ease and precision of large-scale environmental assessments and monitoring, but still rely on field data for verification and expertise across fields to interpret.
After master’s in Environmental Informatics at the SNRE of UMich, four years as a utility forester in the midwest, and a bachelor’s in forestry from Ohio State, Mark started a full-time career with GIS at Quantum Spatial Inc. Mark’s work focuses on environmental monitoring, planning and assessment in areas ranging from electric utility vegetation management to state level timber estimation to monitoring for illicit wastewater discharge into surface waters.
In the show, Mark detailed a few of the projects he has worked on and started the conversation out by describing the process of using LiDAR to measure trees heights. The LiDAR data can then be used with infrared and other imagery to estimate potential declining trees and their ability to fall onto electrical lines. Utility companies use this data to reduce power outages and help prevent forest fires.
Mark then goes into a cost-benefit analysis project where the goal is to estimate if fish habitat creation, by anchoring logs in the stream to slow down the river current, usurps the value of extracting that particular piece of timber in that particular location. Mark also explained how LiDAR technologies work and how flights take overlapping pictures that can be used to create 3D imagery.
After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s degree in Geographic Information Science and working as a GIS intern at Ohio Department of Agriculture, David started his career as a GIS program specialist at the Great Lakes Commission. His main projects focus on invasive species and oil spill contingency planning.
In the studio, David first shared with us his project on sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes basin. Sea Lampreys are parasitic fish who attach themselves on fish to feed off them which also can cause damages to water quality and aquatic ecosystem. To help raise awareness, David is developing a web-based map viewer to help increase the public’s spatial knowledge of lamprey locations and offer reasons on how barriers in lakes affect sea lampreys.
Later in the show, David talked about a new analysis tool he is developing to find leaking pipelines and help pinpoint the origin of a spill. The tool will not only map out the locations of sensitive habitat, water intake, etc., but also show an estimate of how the oil spill will travel and when it would reach open water, based on time of year.
David Betcher and Mark Yoders sandwiched between the IHIH team: Sam Molnar, Pearl Zeng, and Cameron Bothner.
Join us this week for a patriotic (and musical) edition of It's Hot in Here as we discuss symbols of American pride (or are they?), the cultural context from which Jimi Hendrix's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock arose, the newest news concerning the Geddes road expansion and the fate of the surrounding trees, and more!
Mark Clague (see credentials above) studies all forms of music-making in the United States, especially in Chicago, focusing on the functional aesthetic of music and the relationship between music and society. He serves as Executive Editor for Music of the United States of America (MUSA), a scholarly series of critical scores representing the diversity and excellence of composition in the United States. He has presented papers at many prestigious institutions, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where he presented "'This is America': Jimi Hendrix's Reimaginings of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' as Social Comment for Woodstock and Beyond", which we unpacked with Mark on the air.
Links to all things that were hot this week:
Star Spangled Music, a collection of songs celebrating the history of American patriotic song targeting K-12 students, school teachers, scholars, and the general public. Brought to you by the Star Spangled Music Foundarion: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUDPnekB-tDei1AsPh6Pfuw http://starspangledmusic.org/
Banner Moments, an exhibit celebrating the bicentennial of the U.S. National Anthem (1814-2014), illustrates the cultural history of the national anthem in American life was organized in part by Mark Clague last year: http://www.lib.umich.edu/events/banner-moments
Special guest Mark Clague and co-host Dave Clive listening to some psychedelic rock brought in by Dr. Clague for the show
Co-host Jennifer Johnson and Mark Clague sharing some laughs on the air
Join your friends on It’s Hot in Here this week as we dive into Climate Change Negotiations, morality in a global context (including the Pope's recent climate change encyclical), and the impressive possibilities of solar energy right here in Michigan. Two special guests (and one special “caller”) are our guides on this political, material, conceptual, and auditory journey:
- Arman Golrokhian, a second year dual degree student here at the University of Michigan in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ford School of Public Policy, is freshly back from the recent June 2015 Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany and shares with us his unique insights into what’s at stake re: the potential futures of a global climate catastrophe and the complexities of the negotiation process itself. Arman also debriefed us on the importance of INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) and how INDCs will set the stage for next meaningful steps in climate talks, and how the previous climate change conferences will lead global effort towards the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris this December.
- Peter Clive, home-solar energy producer, father of co-host Dave Clive (and much else), called in to tell us about his own experiences with producing solar energy on his own domestic property, including both potential costs and benefits, and offered great suggestions to others who’d like to do the same.
And now for a few relevant links:
Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change Bonn Climate Change Conferences Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) Canadian Astrophysicist and Dr. Hardin’s key climatological interlocutor Hubert Reeves Biodiversity and climate change conference held in early 2015 at UNESCO
Arman Golrokhian with Christiana Figueres
, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Arman Golrokhian with today's IHIH Team: Pearl Zeng, Sam Molnar and Jennifer Johnson.
Water conservation is the focus of this week's show as we discussed conservation efforts in the White Lake area, invasive species and their effect on the local food supply, regulating levels of harmful chemicals like PCBs in the Great Lakes, the spotted gar, and more!
For more information about the dark past and revival of the White Lake watershed, go to: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140626/METRO06/306260001
Dr. Edward Rutherford is a research fishery biologist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), a branch of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The majority of his research deals with invasive species in the Great Lakes and their effects on local food chains and native benthic (bottom dwelling) species.
Dr. Solomon David completed his M.S. in Aquatic Sciences and his Ph.D. in Aquatic Resource Ecology and Management at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Michigan. He is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research at the John G. Shedd Aquarium.
Rebecca Hardin, Jennifer Johnson, David Clive and Bailey Schneider were joined in the studio by the lovely Donia Jarrar, a Palestinian composer and DMA student here at the University of Michigan. On this week's segment of It's Hot In Here, we discussed the pros and cons of the proposed reconstruction of Geddes Avenue and its social, economic and psychological effects on the Ann Arbor community, transporting trees on the University of Michigan campus, Donia's recent trips to Palestine and her work here at U of M and over in the Middle East.
Geddes Avenue Reconstruction
The $6.4 million complete reconstruction of Geddes Avenue
from Huntington Drive to Hickory Lane is one of the biggest road projects happening in Ann Arbor in the next two years. They are expected to break ground in early July 2015 and construction is expected to wrap up in October 2016. Nancy Faught, an engineer with Hubbell, Roth and Clark, a Bloomfield Hills firm hired to assist the city with the reconstruction project. While a safer road is a necessity, the community is concerned about the adverse effects of removing trees, the cost of construction and traffic.
It will be a hefty and dusty project, but the project leaders says that Geddes residents will have access to the road and it will keep people safer in the long run. However, there will be a hard closure of Geddes Avenue and traffic will be detoured to Washtenaw Avenue. Homeowners along Geddes Avenue in Ann Arbor could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars each for improvements coming to their street, and some of them are making it clear they aren't happy about that.
We raised concerns about the environmental impact that the reconstruction will have on the surrounding area and the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment. At present, there is no Environmental Impact Assessment of the project. Tree removal and deforestation is considered to be one of the leading contributing factors to climate change. Other effects of tree removal include increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, loss of local species and habitats, damage to the water cycle, soil erosion, life quality and psychological impacts on the community. Although very costly, it would be a more environmentally friendly method to relocate the trees surrounding Geddes Avenue. Last year, the University of Michigan spent $400k to move a 65-foot-tall, 200-year old bur oak tree at the Ross School of Business. This tree was saved due to its legacy, history and its symbolism of strength and resilience at the University of Michigan. These historical trees along Geddes Avenue deserve the same respect.
The period for public comment closes tomorrow, June 13th 2015. The city will be posting updates here.
is a composer, pianist, and songwriter whose work spans the genres of classical, electronic, experimental and pop music with undertones of Arabic influence. Her work has been performed and premiered across North America, Europe and the Middle East to positive reviews, including in Paris, Kuwait City, Palestine, Egypt, and South Africa. In 2012, she was awarded first prize in the Marcel Khalife Competition for the Young Palestinian composer. She is currently teaching music theory classes and piano lessons at Al-Kamandjati
, in Ramallah, Palestine and in her beautiful hometown village of Jenin. She is also working as a music appreciation teacher for UNRWA elementary school children in Jalazon and Qalandia refugee camps as a part of the Terre Des Hommes project “Music bridges West Bank, Italy and France.” She is working on a current project entitled Letters to Palestine
, and expressed her belief that piano is something to write with. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance and is pursuing a Masters in Music Composition.