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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Annamarie Parker
Annamarie Parker
Copy Editor

I am an English, Writing major with a double minor in German and journalism. I'm also pursuing my TESOL certificate while working for Housing and Residence Life. I love to travel and meet new people.

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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.

THE END — Me, sipping my tea, as I prepare for my last few days at Northern. Finishing college is a tad more anxiety-inducing than I expected, but it feels good nonetheless.
Opinion — A nervous editor's reflections on time spent at NMU
Harry StineDecember 8, 2023

Preserve biodiveristy in Michigan

On Monday, April 22, I celebrated Earth Day by educating myself about issues that could potentially affect the health of Upper Peninsula ecosystems.

The Michigan Senate passed a bill on Tuesday, March 5, which would amend the National Resources and Protection Act (PA 451), subsequently redefining the legal definition of conservation.

Under the 1994 language present in PA 451, conservation is defined as “measures for maintaining natural biological diversity and measures for restoring natural biological diversity through management efforts, in order to protect, restore and enhance as much of the variety of native species and communities as possible in quantities and distributions that provide for the continued existence and normal functioning of native species and communities, including the viability of populations throughout the natural geographic distributions of native species and communities.”

In the amended Senate Bill 78, the definition has been changed: “‘Conservation of biological diversity’ means measures for maintaining, managing or enhancing biological diversity while ensuring accessibility, productivity and use of the natural resources for present and future generations.”

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Michigan Senator Tom Casperson (R) introduced Senate Bill 78 in January in an effort to undermine decades of work to ensure the conservation of Michigan forests and ecosystems. The changed definition of conservation places an emphasis on “accessibility,” which Casperson claims will promote economic opportunities by way of increased access to land for recreational purposes. This may be true, but what else is at stake?

The potential economic benefits from emphasizing accessibility over promoting biological diversity do not outweigh the negative impact on the logging industry in the Upper Peninsula.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, for example, exists “to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests,” according to

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) was certified by the FSC in 2005.

The passage of Senate Bill 78, which would reduce the MDNR’s ability to conserve lands that promote biodiversity, could jeopardize the FSC certification.

One of the 10 principles listed as essential for FSC certification is contingent on environmental impact: “Forest management shall conserve biological diversity and its associated values, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, and, by so doing, maintain the ecological functions and the integrity of the forest.”

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification includes the promotion of biodiversity in their definition of sustainable forestry, as well.

Losing these two certifications will hurt the Upper Peninsula’s economy, which would be devastating during a time of economic recovery in Michigan.

According to a 2010 report of County Economic Profiles from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, more than 16 companies that rely on the lumber industry exist in the U.P.

These companies employ 2,168 people, according to the figures available in the report.

Companies such as Verso, Connor Hardwood Courts and Louisiana Pacific require a third-party forest certification — either the FSC or SFI certification. Collectively, these three companies alone employ 763 people.

The Michigan Forest Products Council estimates that “the total economic benefit of the forest products industry is greater than $12 billion and represents over 150,000 jobs.”

When this is taken into account, the economic cost of losing the FSC and SFI certifications would cost Michiganders jobs in the forest products industry.

This negative impact could not be compensated for by way of an increase in revenue from a slight jump in recreational activity on sites now used as Biological Stewardship Areas (BSA).

Casperson is undermining his district and Michigan citizens with the introduction of Senate Bill 78.

Citizens must take matters into their own hands: write to your representative. Give senator Casperson a call at (517) 373-7840.

It is time to urge those members of the Michigan Natural Resources Committee to vote “no” on Senate Bill 78.

The representatives from the Upper Peninsula are Ed McBroom (R-108 District), John Kivela (D-109 District) and Scott Dianda (D-110 District).

Make your voice heard, and let these representatives know that Michigan residents will no longer tolerate a government that undermines environmental conservation efforts while working against the wishes of their constituents.

Michigan citizens cannot allow their representatives and senators to undermine the basic  tenants of democracy by ramrodding legislation through the house and senate.

Remember Michigan’s state motto: “if you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” Let us keep our peninsula pleasant and conserve biodiversity in our environment.

Represent, Michigan.

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