Green Initiatives & Environmental History for: Michigan
Indian tribes were living in the Michigan region when the first Europeans, the French, arrived in 1618. The first permanent settlement was established in 1668. France was ousted from the territory by Great Britain in 1763, following the French and Indian Wars.
After the Revolutionary War, the U.S. acquired most of the region, which remained the scene of constant conflict between the U.S. and British forces and their respective Indian allies through the War of 1812. As a result of the ineffective control of U.S., parts of Michigan almost immediately fell to the British. Michigan remained in British hands through most of the war until it was restored to the U.S. in the battle of Thames and in the battle of Lake Erie.
Michigan became a state in 1837.
Maple, birch, hemlock, aspen, spruce and fir predominate the Upper Peninsula. Others common in the state are the white pine and red pine. Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries and cranberries are among the fruit-bearing plants and shrubs that grow in many areas of the state, as do mushrooms and wild asparagus.
Michigan’s fauna, like its flora, has been greatly affected by settlement and, in a few cases, by intensive hunting and fishing. Moose, wolves, deer, common cottontail, snowshoe hare, raccoon, and various squirrels are found throughout the state.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed 13 Michigan animals as threatened or endangered which included the Indiana bat, two species of beetle, two species of butterfly, gray wolf, bald eagle, and piping plover.
State parks, recreation areas and state harbors of Michigan have gone green with a series of initiatives to promote environmentally-friendly management practices and products. Whether using a bio-based fuel, building more energy efficient facilities or mowing less, these programs help protect and preserve the natural resources in Michigan State Parks, Recreation Areas and Harbors. Some of the pilot projects of Michigan Department of Natural Resources are water conservation, green building, growing not mowing, use of bio-products, and recycling.
Department of Environmental Quality provides assistance to businesses, institutions and the public to improve the environment and save money by adopting the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. Known also as pollution prevention, this is a non-regulatory assistance program that provides information, technical assistance and financial incentives to reduce pollution.
Recycling is a major component of Michigan waste reduction efforts. It is the first step toward a more efficient and cleaner operation. A few of the many environmental and economic benefits of recycling are: creating more jobs than managing waste does, resulting in stronger local economies; diverting waste from landfills; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; minimizing the need to harvest and mine virgin materials thus preventing habitat and natural area destruction and disruption.