November 6, 2016 – From Big Marsh, IL to Cannon Ball, ND to the Food Tank Summit

podcastbarToday we celebrate more successes on Chicago’s southeast side with Tom Shepherd of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, who says that even more progress needs to be made. Environmental Reporter Steve Horn makes his first appearance on the show to talk about his investigative reports about the #NoDAPL movement in North Dakota. The Food Tank Summit comes to Chicago on November 16 and this is the first of two segments devoted to their mission of worldwide food system change.

Tom Shepherd of SETF and the promise of Lake Calumet

I owe a lot to Tom Shepherd from the Southeast Environmental Task Force. He is the guy who basically introduced me to the southeast side of the City of Chicago and, with it, the environmental degradation that has gone on there for more than a hundred years. He also puts up with me on the golf course, which is going far above and beyond the call of duty.

Today he stops by the Que4 Radio studio to visit with Peggy and me on the day that a bike path opens at Big Marsh, a 278-acre park adjacent to Lake Calumet. What was once an industrial property was acquired by the Chicago Park District 2011 and opened as a new public park earlier this year.Now a 44-acre bicycle park is being introduced, which features jump lines and single track cyclocross features, none of which makes any sense to me.


That’s why Tom is here this morning. With any luck, he will explain 21st Century cycling to me. More importantly, he will talk about the new bike park and the SETF efforts to open up the lands along Lake Calumet to the public. If you’ve been near there recently, you know that the lake is pretty much surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Will that ever change? Tune in this morning.
Tom Shepherd at Lake Calumet

Steve Horn and the anti Dakota Access Pipeline movement

I’ve been following Steve Horn at DeSmogBlog for awhile now. He covers the kinds of environmental issues that have also caught my attention over the past few years. However, while I have considered asking him to be on my show, that never happened…until Steve started writing about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the reaction of native Americans to efforts to lay it across their sacred land and tribal burial ground which would, at the same time, threaten the local water supply.

That it could threaten water supplies all over the Midwest is another matter. But I digress. Or do I?

You might remember that on September 18, Dallas Goldtooth from the Indigenous Environmental Network visited us, fresh from the Sacred Stone Camp established by the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes who are attempting to be Water Protectors. In September, it seemed as if there was at least a temporary victory, as the Obama administration temporarily halted construction on the pipeline.

But a federal court allowed it to proceed, and the protests have continued. This week, filmmaker Josh Fox witnessed a reportedly brutal crackdown of the protests.

Which brings us back to Steve Horn, who has been digging into this story for several months. In his latest piece, he reprorts that

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed to DeSmog that Energy Transfer Partners, the owner of the proposed Dakota Access pipeline, has ignored the Obama administration’s September 9 request to voluntarily halt construction in a disputed area, 20 miles east and west of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. 

The confirmation came in the aftermath of a video published by drone pilot Shiyé Bidziil on the news website Indian Country Today titled, “Drone Footage of Dakota Access Pipeline Approaching Missouri River.” Published November 2, this video offers an airborne view of pipeline construction — coupled with heavily guarded concrete fortresses around key construction locales — in close proximity to the Missouri River.

And that’s not all. Here are some of his reports:

As President Obama Hints At Dakota Access Possible Reroute, Tensions Swirl at Standing Rock
Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence Has Ties to U.S. Military Work in Iraq and Afghanistan
This Natural Disaster Assistance Law Is Why Other States Are Policing Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

There are more, and many of them are disturbing.

That’s why I’m eager to finally welcome Steve Horn to The Mike Nowak Show.

Food Tank Brings Its Summit to Chicago

segmentbarOn Wednesday, November 16, Peggy and I will be participating in something called the Food Tank Summit in Chicago. It will feature more than 40 different speakers, journalists and experts from the food and agricultural fields. The theme is Chicago, We Can Change the Food System.

The one day conference is being presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Booth Business School and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and features a special reception and dinner at Eataly, hosted by Barilla USA.

Food Tank is a global nonprofit founded in Chicago that is focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. They spotlight environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty and create networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change.

On the next two shows, Peggy and I will be talking to folks who are participating in the Food Tank Summit, starting this morning with Lisa Moon, President & CEO at The Global FoodBanking Network and Shayna Harris, COO at Farmer’s Fridge.


Next Sunday, we welcome Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank and Roger Thurow, Senior Fellow of Global Food and Agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

If you’re interested in attending the F00d Tank Summit, it is being held at the Gleacher Center, 450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive (next to the Tribune Tower on the Chicago River off of Michigan Avenue) from 9 AM–5 PM. The reception/dinner at Eataly (43 E Ohio St., Chicago) is from 6 PM–9 PM. You can register here.