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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

LEAVE NO TRACE — Heather Vivian from Respect Marquette County educates on the impacts of outdoor recreation as part of the organizations mission of protecting natural resources.
Leave No Trace 101 workshop promotes protecting natural resources
Benjamin BuresDecember 1, 2023

Northern naturally

When it comes to life on campus, there are a lot of things students tend to worry about. Classes, homework, relationships and friends are just a few of them. Unfortunately, there’s another thing students should be concerned about, as well, which is the environment. Everything from how long a shower you take to your mode of transportation affects the environment in one way or another. For students and faculty on campus, this issue is one that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

According to biology department head Pat Brown, the university is looking to increase the involvement and participation of students both in educational and campus endeavors to become more environmentally minded.

Brown stated that he and his colleagues take measures both big and small to address concerns about the environment and ways they can make less of an impact
on it.

“We really talk a lot about government policy that promotes environmental protection,” Brown said. “Each individual has to determine what policies they can support.”

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Brown added that there are a lot of different environmental policies that help reduce waste, conserve energy and create opportunities to promote those things that people can do. Everything from questioning whether or not to print something to turning the coffee pot and computer
off are all small, but important, ways for everyone to be environmentally

“For example, water bottles. People buy water in bottles all the time and yet [nearly] all communities in Michigan have perfectly acceptable water supplies,” Brown said. “If you bring your own water bottle you can load it up every time, and you’re not generating the waste from that

Off-campus students can also take where they choose to live into consideration when it comes to commuting to campus and reducing environmental waste.

“[Make] sure your trips are efficient, that you’re not making two or three trips when you could just do one. When it comes to the individual it looks like a lot of
small things but cumulatively it adds up.”

Not all students are equally concerned about the environment, though. Regardless of whether this comes from simple ignorance or apathy, Brown said those who refuse to do anything aren’t being realistic about the future. There is now more than ample evidence that the climate
change we’re experiencing is driven by humans.

“If you contribute to that knowingly and essentially ignore the evidence that we have now, you’ll be responsible for telling your grandchildren ‘Well, I was one of those people that really ignored all those warning signs and all the advice of the experts,” Brown said.

Biology professor Jill Leonard is also doing her part to make sure the environment remains a place for all of us to enjoy. Leonard’s research brings her
into national parks, and while there, she makes sure she leaves everything exactly the way she found it.

“When we’re doing our research whatever we carry in we carry out. . We hike in instead
of using a motorized vehicle to get to the wilderness area,” Leonard said. “We try to do our best to practice responsible use of the environment.”

Leonard said the most important issue she thinks Northern is facing is how to get people involved and integrate green activities into everyday life on campus.
According to Leonard, one of the bigger issues people are now beginning to understand is that what is happening to our planet and environment is a global
event and everyone needs to be involved with it.

“It’s really an education and communication issue fundamentally,” Leonard said. “I think it’s most easily understood when people look at how the environment impacts their own lives.” Students interested in finding a way to participate and help around campus and in the Marquette community have an abundance of group activities to which they can contribute, which include recycling programs, campus cleanups and service days,
according to Leonard.

Leonard also mentioned that numerous fundraisers are held in order to benefit the environment, which includes the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve and the Central Lake Superior Partnership. The fundraisers often include a concert or activity day that students can help out with.

“I just went to a big cleanup in town organized by the Nature Conservancy and Moosewood Nature Center,” Leonard said.
“There were a number of students that attended and participated in that. There’re lots of different things.”

Junior art and design major Melinda Otto is already doing her part to keep the Earth clean, as she is a member of the campus group Students for Sustainable
Living (SFSL).

According to Otto, the group acts on “a system of horizontal leadership, meaning that anyone with a drive for an activity is in charge of getting it rolling.” To get a project rolling SFSL talks to professors, Associate Students of NMU, President Les Wong, local businesses and people around the area. The group’s mission is to create lasting change and engage in activities that include composting, collecting rainwater, attending conferences and speaking out about issues that are important to the group as a whole.

[“SFSL’s function is to] show other people how we live, inspire them and leave them wanting to live like us too,” Otto said.

SFSL undertakes community endeavors, as well. According to Otto, the group has strong connections with the Marquette Food Co-Op, the Earthworks music collective, Save the Wild U.P. and many others. Last April SFSL organized the Superior Water Festival.

“The highlights of the weekend were the music, dances, community, panels, workshops and festivity to respect and look after our water here in Marquette as well as in the big picture of water
on Earth.”

Otto became involved with the group because she thinks it is the best type of change she can make. To create that change
SFSL celebrates what’s good, and “the people just keep coming to us wanting to be a part of it,” Otto said.

SFSL currently has 20 regular members with 85 members on their weekly mailing list. They also have 182 members on Facebook.
Students for Sustainable Living meet Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in the Peter White Lounge in the University Center next to the
statue of Abraham Lincoln.

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