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On the Water Front

Hosted by Lynn Broaddus, Ph.D. MBA | Director, Environment Programs

Big problems start in little packages: Blue-Green Algae in our waters

Paddling on the Wisconsin River is one of the best kept secrets in the Midwest.  The state’s namesake river cuts diagonally across Wisconsin, winding a lazy, sandy path through some of the state’s most stunning scenery on its way to join the Mississippi. One of my favorite features is the sand bars that dot much of the length. These are largely publicly owned and available for picnics and overnight camping on a first-come, first-served basis.  On a beautiful summer weekday, you can pretty much have the river and its sandbars to yourself. 

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The Link Between Corn Futures and Water Futures

Ceres has done it again. With the release of “Water & Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production: How Companies & Investors Can Cultivate Sustainability” the team of Boston braniacs moved the agricultural sustainability conversation forward by a giant step, and without ever asking, “Mother, may I?” For more than 25 years, Ceres has been bringing capitalists and environmentalists together with the understanding that environmental sustainability and financial sustainability go hand-in-hand.

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Flushing Away a PhD: Where Ecology and Sanitation Meet

Last weekend I had the great fun of attending a reunion of sorts for those of us who shared Dr.

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When Life is Tough, Take a Leap

Life can be overwhelming, can’t it? There are times when the problems seem insurmountable, when you just don’t know how to go on. Even for me, blessed with unimaginable good fortune, there are times like this winter when I had to literally will myself to put one foot in front of the other because standing, paralyzed at the top of the stairs wasn’t going to solve anything. That’s more personal than I usually get, but Earth Day, especially this Earth Day, is personal for me.

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Money Matters

Water is in an odd quandary relative to financial matters.  On the one hand, money is the quickest translator for people and is the way they can most easily understand the cost, rarity and importance of most items in life, and then make decisions relative to their own priorities and financial capabilities. Why, then, is there so little attention to these matters when it comes to water?

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Waste Not, Want Not: A Phosphorus Tale

As usual, Ben Franklin had it largely right with his sage advice: “Waste not, want not.” Take phosphorus, for instance.

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Clean Water is No Accident

Where were you when you first heard about Freedom Industry’s contamination of the Elk River and the 300,000 people who depend on it for daily water? I remember it well: I was driving east on I-94 toward Milwaukee, returning from an afternoon meeting. It caught my attention because my mother’s roots are in Charleston, W.V., and our family has a long, loved history with the Elk.

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The Fundamentals of Water in Four Very Readable Steps

If you care enough about water to read this blog, you need to read David Sedlak’s new book, Water 4.0. When David told me about his undertaking, I foolishly type-cast him as the erudite engineering professor that he is and imagined a dense textbook about water infrastructure that only a graduate engineering student could love.  This is one of the rare occasions that I’m anxious to tell you how very wrong I was.  

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"Urining" for a better way to go

My guess is that you’re probably pretty comfortable with the flush toilet. Having a clean, operational toilet and the privacy that comes with it is something you probably take for granted, right? The flush toilet long ago revolutionized the way we live, and was part of the advances in human health and sanitation that lengthened our lifespan and facilitated urban growth. It solved a number of society’s problems, but as we face growing resource constraints, is it time for us to reconsider how we go?

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A Great Environment for Craft Brewing

Who says sustainability is bad for the bottom line? It was Wisconsin’s own Sen. Gaylord Nelson, most famously known as the founder of Earth Day, who correctly stated, "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around." In other words, if you think big enough, there is only one balance sheet, and that’s the one for the planet as a whole.

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