The first was, of all things, a tour of our trash collection facility. American Waste is a local company in Northern Lower Michigan which has emerged as a leading edge trash and garbage treatment center. The scope of what we can put in the recycle bin has become so much more than I had ever dared before, and the recovery rate of that into new resource is 99%! In addition, 33% of what we put in our trash is also recycled. From what is left, some is compost, and the compost (not food grade) is used to put a cap on the landfill of what remains. Since Michigan spends about $100,000 to landfill $400,000 worth of recoverable resource (which is better than most other states), the success our local company is garnering international interest. By the way, I now generate about half a (recyclable) plastic grocery bag a week of trash. It doesn’t seem to make sense to use a garbage bin for it, so I stick it in my neighbor’s. Okay, I live in a condo community, so it’s not cheating. See www.americanwaste.org for more information.
Then our local Cherryland Electric Cooperative teamed with Traverse City Light and Power in a program for members of both to rent solar panels. The panels will provide electricity to the utilities, and the members who rent a panel for $470 will receive credits on their electric bills for twenty years. The demand for rental of panels in our area has been overwhelming, and the utilities expect to erect many more of them. See www.cherrylandelectric.com for more information.
Finally, a tour of a local gem of which I was previously unaware: Archangel Ancient Tree Archives in tiny Copemish, Michigan. With most, if not all, of our planet’s species of trees being gradually decimated by disease to which they are not resistant, this formerly tree farming group has set out to change things. They seek, collect, develop methods to propagate, and archive the genetics of ancient champion trees that have not succumbed to the diseases that plague our forests. These genetically strong trees may eventually reforest the earth, with all the benefits that provides the human population. See www.ancienttreearchive.org for more information.
These events have been so heartening, I'd love to hear if you know of others that are of potential huge benefit to our planet.