Speaking of Resilience Podcast

A podcast series exploring how to propel a clean energy transformation in the Great Lakes State. Hosted by Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities and the Michigan Climate Action Network.

Join host Kate Madigan for a series of interviews with experts to explore how we transition Michigan to a clean energy economy to help solve the climate crisis while creating economic stimulus in this changing landscape. If you care about protecting Michigan from an overheated future, and want to rebuild the economy to be more resilient, just, and sustainable, this is the podcast for you.


Listen on Spotify

Apple Podcasts

Listen on Apple Podcasts


Watch on YouTube



Kate Madigan

Kate Madigan

Jim Lively

Jim Lively



Climate Action: What can we expect from Congress?


In the recent Michigan Climate & Clean Energy Summit, co-hosted by Michigan Climate Action Network and Groundwork, we invited Michigan’s U.S. Senators Peters and Stabenow, and U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib to discuss the likelihood and scope of potential congressional action to stop global warming. This episode of our podcast is a recording of their comments edited into a single broadcast. The legislators express a genuine understanding of the urgent need to transition to a clean energy economy, and a commitment to do what’s needed to pass legislation that will deploy the full might of the U.S. government to create the essential renewable energy infrastructure we need—and the jobs that will be created as the nation moves beyond fossil fuels.


Michigan climate & clean energy summit preview


These are historic days in the arc of Michigan’s clean energy transformation, and to give momentum and inspiration to that transformation Groundwork and MiCAN teamed up to present the Michigan Climate & Clean Energy Summit, May 24–27. In this brief episode Summit organizers share highlights and their thoughts on what we can expect!

EPISODE 19: nancy wang


Our guest today is Nancy Wang, executive director and a founding member of Voters Not Politicians, the organization that led the successful ballot initiative to end gerrymandering and draw fair districts in Michigan. Nancy led the policy committee that wrote the constitutional amendment language with input from the public. Nancy is an attorney, and prior to leading Voters Not Politicians, she was the Director of the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. We talk about redistricting, climate policy, and how gerrymandering threatens our democracy.

EPISODE 18: Esosa Aimufua


In this episode we interview Esosa Aimufua, an attorney at Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). Enbridge is trying to keep climate impacts from being considered as the state reviews the company’s proposed oil tunnel. Esosa is one of the attorneys leading the fight to convince the state of Michigan to consider the climate impacts of Enbridge’s massive oil tunnel as part of its review.

EPISODE 17: Laura schmidt


This episode of Speaking of Resilience features LaUra Schmidt, co-founder of the Good Grief Network, a nonprofit organization that creates community space to process the painful feelings and realities of our time, and to help participants orient their lives toward meaningful action.

EPISODE 16: Jim MacInnes


We invite Jim MacInnes, CEO of Crystal Mountain Resort, in Benzie County, Michigan, to discuss the impact of warmer winters on the people, culture and business of Michigan—and what we must do now to slow global warming. Jim is among the best people in the nation to explore this topic because prior to running a ski resort he was an electric power engineer working with some of the nation’s largest electric utilities.

EPISODE 15: douglas jester


Douglas Jester is a partner at 5 Lakes Energy and one of the most knowledgeable energy experts in the state. We talk with him about what achieving carbon neutrality for Michigan’s entire economy means, and what we need to do in the shorter term to be on track to meet that goal. We also discuss the devastating power outages that happened recently in Texas, and his work on the UP Energy Task Force — including how the UP can transition to clean electric heat sources and save money.



Gillian Giem Gillian Giem is the Program Manager for the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan, where she works to accelerate equitable investment in Michigan's carbon drawdown through smart energy management, mobility, and the adoption of high-performance buildings. We talk about how green buildings not only make a huge impact on reducing climate pollution but also save money and can enormously improve people’s quality of life. And we talk about specific programs Gillian works on like the Michigan Battle of the Buildings, bilingual Energy Assistance Program, and Grand Rapids Zero Cities Project.



Liz Kirkwood, Jim Lively, Sean McBrearty, Mike Ripley Leaders of the Oil & Water Don't Mix campaign examine the victory and next steps after Gov. Whitmer revoked the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline easement.

This is a huge win for the Oil & Water Don't Mix coalition and other organizations in Michigan, and thousands of people who have been working to get this pipeline shut down for over 7 years.

In this episode, host Kate Madigan speaks with four leaders of the OWDM campaign to talk about this huge win - how it happened and what we need to do going forward - because it is not over yet, and Enbridge is still pursuing their oil tunnel project. With us today we have Sean McBrearty, Clean Water Action, who coordinates the OWDM Campaign; Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director of FLOW - For Love of Water; Jim Lively, Program Director of Groundwork Center and the Great Lakes Business Network; and Mike Ripley, Environmental Coordinator with the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA).



Charles Griffith Charles Griffith is the director of the Climate & Energy Program at the Ecology Center. HE has more than 20 years of experience in research and advocacy on clean energy solutions. He is one of the top experts in the automotive and transportation sector and advocates for cleaner vehicles, fuels, and transportation choices.

In our interview, Charles and host Kate Madigan discuss how electrifying our vehicles will help solve the climate crisis and how Michigan - the world's car capital - can lead this transition - creating good jobs along the way.

EPISODE 11: Justin Snowden


Justin Snowden The engineers and marketers who made Detroit the global center of automobiles were stunningly successful in getting us off the sidewalks and into our cars. Now urban planners see the need to reverse that scenario: get people on bikes, e-scooters and on their feet—out and about for the health of our people and our community cohesion. Justin Snowden, chief of Mobility Strategy for the City of Detroit, shares insight from his unique perspective in the Motor City.

Justin Snowden is a Mobility Strategist and Project Manager in the City of Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation. In this role, Justin works to test and deploy new technology, with the goal of bringing advanced mobility options to Detroit.

In our interview, Justin and Kate Madigan, Director of the Michigan Climate Action Network, discuss public transit in Detroit, micro-mobility vehicles (such as scooters, bikes), and how to make different transportation options accessible to everyone. We also talk about some lessons learned from the current pandemic and how streetscapes are changing as a result of people relying less on cars.

EPISODE 10: Marnese Jackson and Grover Easterling


Marnese Jackson and Grover Easterling Oakland County is ground zero for Michigan's conservative movement, the place where power brokers and big donors reside. Is there reason to hope that the county can also be a place that embraces clean energy and the environmental justice opportunities that can blossom from a transition to a carbon free economy?

This week's Speaking of Resilience podcast guests, Marnese Jackson of Mothers Out Front and Grover Easterling of Michigan League of Conservation Voters, are working hard to make that answer "yes" through the Turn Oakland County Green campaign. The good news: they see signs of positive change.

Marnese is an environmental and climate justice advocate who works as the Frontline Organizing Program Director with Mothers Out Front, and she is the former Midwest Regional Organizer for NAACP’s Environment and Climate Justice Program. Grover is the SE Michigan field organizer for Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and previously worked as a legislative assistant to Detroit City Council, and led events and direct actions with a group of organizations known as the Coalition for Black Struggle.

EPISODE 9: Dr. Sarah Mills


Dr. Sarah Mills In part two of our two-part series on clean energy siting, our guest Dr. Sarah Mills, Senior Project Manager at the University of Michigan’s Ford School’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy speaks with host Kate Madigan, Director of the Michigan Climate Action Network. Sarah’s research focuses on how renewable energy development impacts rural communities.

Let's dive back into an issue that’s especially important for successfully developing renewable energy in Michigan: finding land to build new solar and wind projects, and getting the projects approved by local townships. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to go back and listen to last week’s episode with Ed Rivet from the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, in which we discuss renewable energy siting and his work with local governments to build support for new renewable projects.

EPISODE 8: Ed Rivet


Ed Rivet In this week’s edition of the Speaking of Resilience podcast, Ed Rivet, Executive Director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (and Chevy Volt driver), joins host Kate Madigan, director of Michigan Climate Action Network, for a look at the many points on which liberals and conservatives can agree when it comes to moving clean energy forward in the Mitten! We dive into an issue that’s especially important for the success of solar and wind energy projects in Michigan: the process of finding appropriate sites for those projects, and getting them approved by local townships.

Kate Madigan talks with two guests over the next two weeks who are very familiar with the challenges of siting renewable energy projects. A lot of this work focuses on working with local governments and local communities to build support for new renewable projects.



Dr. Laura Sherman This week on the Speaking of Resilience podcast, our guest is Dr. Laura Sherman, President of Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and Institute for Energy Innovation. Listen for her perspective on Michigan's clean energy future with our host and Groundwork Clean Energy Program Director Dan Worth. Dr. Laura Sherman most recently served as the organization's Vice President for Policy Development and as a Senior Consultant at 5 Lakes Energy, and previously as policy advisor to Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado on energy, agriculture, and environmental issues. Follow Twitter @laurassherman



Larry Bell and Beth Wallace Larry Bell of Bell's Brewing and Beth Wallace of National Wildlife Federation speak with Kate Madigan on this week's 10th anniversary of the Enbridge Kalamazoo oil spill. How does the spill relate to the efforts to prevent a catastrophic spill in the Straits of Mackinac from the Line 5 oil pipeline? We’ll also learn about how business leaders are getting involved through the Great Lakes Business Network, and specifically how they are challenging Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer to step up and take the required action to shut down the pipeline.



Justin Onwenu In this episode of the Speaking of Resilience podcast, Kate Madigan interviews Justin Onwenu. Justin is a 4th generation Detroiter and environmental justice organizer for the Sierra Club. Justin is a passionate advocate for environmental justice and a rising star in Michigan. In our interview, Justin and Kate discuss climate change and extreme weather events and its disproportionate impacts on low income communities and communities of color - including his experience with Hurricane Harvey and the devastation that storm caused he observed while he was in college that inspired a lot of his current work. We also talk about water shut offs in Detroit and their significance during the #COVID crisis, and how his work has changed to respond to community needs.

EPISODE 4: Dr. Brandy Brown


Dr. Brandy Brown Sponsored by Desmond Liggett Wealth Advisors In this episode of the Speaking of Resilience Podcast, Kate Madigan interviews Dr. Brandy Brown. Brandy leads the Office of Climate and Energy within the MI Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. This office was created by Gov. Whitmer to lead the state’s work to achieve aggressive climate action goals. Brandy is an experienced energy strategist with deep industry knowledge after working for several years designing energy programs for utilities and businesses.



Bryan Newland Kate Madigan and Jim Lively interview Bryan Newland, Chairman of the Bay Mills Indian Community of the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There is a lot going on with Line 5 right now, and our interview with Chairman Bryan Newland about Line 5 could not be more timely. The conversation focuses on the impacts of the aging Line 5 pipeline owned by Canadian oil company Enbridge, which sits in the open waters at the Straits of Mackinac. We hear from Bryan about the backroom deals made by an outgoing Republican-led Michigan Legislature from the perspective of Michigan's native communities, whose treaty rights are at stake, especially in the event of a catastrophic oil spill.



Dr. Jonathan Foley In this episode of the Speaking of Resilience Podcast, Kate Madigan and Dan Worth speak with Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive director of Project Drawdown, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “Drawdown”— the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. He is a world-renowned environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author, and public speaker. His work is focused on understanding our changing planet, and finding new solutions to sustain the climate, ecosystems, and natural resources we all depend on.



Dr. Missy Stults Sponsored by Harvest Solar and Desmond Liggett Wealth Advisors In our first episode of the Speaking of Resilience Podcast, Kate Madigan and Dan Worth interview Dr. Missy Stults, Sustainability and Innovations Manager at the City of Ann Arbor. She is responsible for ensuring Ann Arbor meets its climate and sustainability goals and to make it one of the most sustainable and equitable cities in America. In two short years, Missy has been at the helm as the city set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030, the most ambitious city climate goals, and created a detailed plan to get there, which was just unanimously passed by the city. She has called it a moonshot goal for Ann Arbor, a nod to her previous work as a Program Manager at NASA. Read about the city's plan at A2Zero.org.


Share This