Season 3 of the Land I Trust brings you storytellers from across the Midwestern US who share their experiences of climate change, the impacts of dirty fuels, the fight for clean energy—and more. Host and narrator Precious Brady-Davis weaves together these stories and shares some of her own perspective as well. The series is a unique window into this important part of the country, at a pivotal time for the nation and the planet.
Read a transcript of Zip Code 48217.
Hear more from the individuals featured in our Season 3 episodes.
Episode 1: Zip Code 48217
Theresa Landrum has lived in Southwest Detroit her whole life. Her zip code is 48217, which is infamous for being the most polluted zip code in the state of Michigan. Nearby is an oil refinery from Marathon Petroleum Corporation that sends chemicals up into the air. There’s also a coal-fired power plant just a few miles away. I-75 runs right through the zip code. Right in the center of all this is Theresa’s community. She’s been fighting for environmental justice for a long time. But when she was a kid, she saw her neighborhood much differently. Read a transcript of Theresa's profile.
Kate Madigan is the director of the Michigan Climate Action Network, which organizes grassroots climate action. For her, the next steps to address climate change are pretty obvious, it’s just a matter of whether or not we can get it done. Read a transcript of Kate's profile.
Jim Nugent is a farmer from Traverse City, Michigan, which some people call the Cherry Capital of the world. It produces nearly 75 percent of the country’s tart cherries, and about a fifth of our sweet cherries. However, in recent years, cherry farmers have been feeling the effects from climate change. Read a transcript of Jim's profile.
Episode 2: Coal-edonia
The Michna [MICK-na] family has lived near Caledonia, Wisconsin since the 1800s. In fact, there are now 11 Michna siblings living on Michna Road. But they have a bad neighbor now—a coal plan. Frank Michna and two of his sisters, Renee Michna and Maureen Michna-Wolff, sat down to talk about living in the shadow of coal plants
To Charles Hua [Hwah], Madison, Wisconsin, is more than dairy. It’s his hometown and the land has shaped who he is as a person, and how he approaches the issues of climate change.
Girl Scout Troop 6195 in Pleasant Plains, Illinois, does more than just sell cookies. They speak up and act on environmental issues. For them, environmental activism started small, literally, with protecting the Monarch Butterfly. Their success with the monarchs got the girls fired up about other environmental issues. Girl Scout Troop 6195 does more than just sell cookies. They speak up and act on environmental issues. For them, environmental activism started small, literally, with protecting the Monarch Butterfly. Their success with the monarchs got the girls fired up about other environmental issues.
Episode 3: Terrific Haute
Pete Lenzen lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where Duke Energy operates. When Pete heard that coal-burning Duke Energy proposed a rate increase, this got him really fired up. So fired up that he testified in front of the The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
Casey Weinstein probably is the most public environmentalist in Northeast Ohio, where he lives. In 2018, he ran for office and flipped a seat by 51 percent. Now, he represents part of northeast Ohio in the State House. Before that, he served on Hudson City Council. He’s in the public eye often, but the reason he ran for office started at home.
Episode 4: The Future
Bob Pashos is from St. Louis, Missouri. For him, reckoning with climate change meant he had to grieve for what we’ve already lost, and for what it’s too late to do anything about. But he didn’t just bury his head in the sand and give up. He came out the other side.
Lewis Reed led the effort to pass Resolution 124, which called upon the city to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2035. St. Louis, Missouri, is home to the headquarters of coal companies, but it’s also about to become a lot more solar friendly.
Josh Usdan [pronouns they/them/theirs] is a 17-year-old high school student from Nashville, Tennessee. Josh is also a climate activist and a member of the Sunrise Movement, a group of young people fighting climate change.
About the Producers
This series was produced by the award-winning team of Isaac Kestenbaum and Josephine Holtzman. Their climate change audio project Frontier of Change, a series documenting climate change in Alaska, recently won the 2017 Online Journalism Award for Audio Digital Storytelling. Kestenbaum and Holtzman explore connections between climate and culture through immersive audio, experiential storytelling and live events.