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Points North
Fridays on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, or wherever you hear podcasts

Points North is a biweekly podcast about the evolving land, water and inhabitants of the Upper Great Lakes. It’s about where we are and how we move forward.

Latest Episodes
  • Dick Mallery is tired of quick fixes to his 50-year-flooding problem; he wants a nearby culvert replaced. But even that will only keep floodwaters away if it’s designed to withstand the new normal. As climate change brings heavier rainfall and more frequent floods to the Upper Great Lakes, our infrastructure needs an overhaul.
  • The Constitution refers to treaties with other sovereign nations as “the supreme law of the land.” But what happens when promises have been made that are potentially in conflict? Two different treaties with the U.S. could lead to very different outcomes for Line 5 – a controversial pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.
  • In 2013, a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The dangers of oil trains are part of the controversy around Enbridge Line 5 – a pipeline running through the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan. In part two of this series, we look at the risks of transporting crude oil by pipe and by rail.
  • There’s no safe way to move crude oil across an entire continent. So what risks are we willing to take? And who bears the brunt of that risk? Over the next couple episodes, we'll be looking at two times when transporting oil went horribly wrong. Today, we’ll hear about a pipeline that ruptured. Next time, we’ll consider the alternative.
  • Most of the freshwater in the U.S. is in the Great Lakes. That’s why some in the region worry western states will come after it. But others say the real danger is commodifying water. Next time on Points North, the ethics and economics of trading water futures.
  • On Lake Charlevoix, a landowner is seeking permits to build a controversial boathouse. But conflicts arise where public waters meet private property.
  • This week we’re featuring an episode of Outside/In from New Hampshire Public Radio. It’s a podcast about the natural world and how we use it. Whether you grow them, collect them or grind them up and swallow them, antlers are one of the most astonishing sets of bones on the planet.
  • Lake trout are on life support in Lake Michigan.Every year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spends tens of millions of dollars raising and stocking them.But what if there was another way? Genetic engineering is advancing fast. Could it be used for conservation?
  • Over time, people have caused extensive damage to rivers by scouring their banks with logs, channelizing them through towns and cutting them up with dams. In the last 50 years, scientists have discovered removing dams can vastly improve conditions in rivers. But not all dams can come down. Sometimes they are our greatest protection against invasive species.
  • Most people think of the wilderness as a place untouched by humans, but that’s far from the truth. Evidence stored in tree rings in the Minnesota Boundary Waters affirms an oral history of Indigenous land management through controlled burns. Those intentional fires created one of the Great Lakes’ most popular wilderness destinations.