'We can't just make things up as we go': Lincoln City Council approves mayor's climate action plan

A 120-strategy plan to reduce Lincoln's climate impact while bracing for future effects of climate change received City Council approval despite concerns from residents over the uncertain costs.  City Council members acknowledged the human impacts of climate change before a 5-1 vote to approve the 2021-2027 Climate Action Plan, which has the overall goal of reducing the city's carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and makes Lincoln the latest American city to enact such a pledge. Continue reading

Midwest Misfit Podcast Ep. 57: RegeNErate Nebraska with Graham Christensen

Hey Misfits, Today we are talking with Graham Christensen founder and president of GC Resolve, a communication and consulting company designed to increase education and mobilization of the general public in order to build regenerative and resilient communities. Currently GC Resolve is raising awareness about Nebraska’s rising water quality issues, and educating and advocating for a change in the food production system to “regenerative” farming and ranching principles. Continue reading

Local View: NU must act on divestment

Brittni McGuire UNL student As students, we come to the University of Nebraska to invest in our future. In exchange for tuition, the university invests countless resources to prepare us to positively impact the world after graduation. It’s unsettling that our investment is being counteracted by the university’s investment in fossil fuels -- an industry destroying the lives of people and the planet, making our future uncertain. The last six years have been the hottest ever recorded on Earth. Recent Australian bushfires intensified by climate change killed or displaced over three billion animals. The 2019 flood cost Nebraska more than $1.3 billion in losses and displaced too many families from their homes. This is a global crisis with local solutions. NU must take action, starting with divestment. Continue reading

Monsanto’s Big Lie About Roundup and the System That Enabled It

Carey Gillam exposes a corrupt regulatory regime in “The Monsanto Papers” Just after midnight on August 1, 2017, attorney Brent Wisner gave his legal team the go-ahead to start publishing a series of internal memos and documents from the Monsanto corporation. The internal communications made clear that Monsanto—the company that created saccharine and went on to develop DDT and Agent Orange—was not only aware that independent scientific studies had found that its blockbuster weed killer, Roundup, and the primary ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, were probably carcinogenic and harmful to human health, but the company had also tried to bury the findings. The documents also proved that Monsanto ghost-wrote scientific studies that suggested Roundup was safe (when the company knew it wasn’t), paid experts to support those claims, pressured scientists to reverse their previous conclusions that glyphosate could be linked to cancer, and successfully lobbied regulators at the EPA to keep the agency’s own findings—that glyphosate was probably harmful to humans—under wraps.  Continue reading

Youth Panel Discussion On Climate Change Solutions Goes Live Tuesday

The University of Nebraska- Lincoln’s 2020-2021 E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues will hold a virtual youth panel discussion on climate change solutions tomorrow at 7 p.m. Patrice McMahon is the chair of the forum’s board and said she’s excited because it’s the forum’s first student organized, led and driven panel. Continue reading

Making America's Rivers Blue Again: Connecting the Dots Between Regenerative Agriculture and Healthy Waterways

Building a regenerative food system where bees buzz, dragonflies hover, and fish and frogs thrive will begin when we change hearts and minds. Fake meats and GMO soy are not the answer. Two hundred years ago, before the Industrial Revolution, the rivers across North America ran clear and blue. Rivers from the mighty Mississippi to the Columbia flowed wild and clean into the sea. In the 1800s and 1900s, the growth of manufacturing and agriculture across the continent brought prosperity to America, but at the great cost of unmitigated pollution. In 1969, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caught fire due to toxic runoff from nearby factories. This incident sparked the modern Earth Day movement and in 1972 helped pass the Clean Water Act, which established much-needed industrial regulations that considerably improved water quality in the United States. Unfortunately, lawmakers overlooked the negative impacts of agriculture on America’s waterways. Continue reading

Ho-Chunk, Inc. executive joins Biden Administration

WINNEBAGO, Neb. (KTIV) - An enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe has been tapped to join the Biden Administration as the Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs. According to a press release, Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, Ho-Chunk, Inc.'s Executive Vice President of Community Impact and Engagement, will be the Indian Affairs legal team lead at the Department of the Interior. Continue reading

Nebraska senator seeks to create 'Farm-to-School' network for student lunches

A Nebraska lawmaker introduced a bill Thursday to expand partnerships between local school districts and local producers to feed students. The bill (LB396), brought by Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth, would create a "Farm to School Network" administered by the Nebraska Department of Education and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. It would connect school administrators and cafeteria managers with farmers, market gardeners and other producers to supply school lunches with fresh produce, dairy and meat products. Brandt called the legislation "Economic Development 101." Continue reading

Why Aren’t USDA Conservation Programs Paying Farmers More to Improve Their Soil?

Soil health is crucial to fighting climate change, but a new study finds that funding to support it in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is lacking.  Ron Rosmann’s 700-acre certified organic grain and livestock farm in Shelby County, Iowa is an island in a sea of very large conventional soy or corn operations. Farmers in the area don’t typically pay a lot of attention to the health of their soil—which has, on occasion, eroded onto his property. Others in the area operate concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). It’s not uncommon, for example, for one of his neighbor’s cattle manure lagoons to overflow into a nearby creek. While Rosmann is pleased that more farmers there are adopting cover crops to reduce erosion and runoff, it still only amounts to roughly 4 percent of Iowa farms. And he laments that the pace of change toward conservation practices is simply too slow given the region’s mounting water quality concerns. Continue reading

21 Predictions for 2021: Twenty-one visionary climate and justice leaders point the way to progress in the year ahead.

We’ll grow strong regional food systems Graham Christensen Founder and president of GC Resolve CLOSE “As global supply chains fracture and grocery store shelves dry up, consumer demand for local products is growing. Nebraska is seeing new energy around legislation that supports a decentralized network of meatpacking plants, which could help enforce worker safety, generate revenue for small ranchers, and strengthen regional marketplaces. With that comes more opportunities for regenerative agriculture, which cultivates soil health and draws down carbon. But local, sustainable farming means so much more than that. It creates food security. It fosters relationships between rural and urban entrepreneurs. It connects consumers with farmers. It even protects clean water. I’m looking forward to all of those things coming to fruition now that public support is strong and we have an administration that’s willing to fight for them.” Continue reading