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Aug. 12, 2011

Holland, MI: Windmills, wooden shoes and lithium-ion batteries

by Neil Wagner

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STORY UPDATE 8/13/11: The Prez was in Holland yesterday!!! It was barely over a week ago that I read the story of Obama’s plans to visit Holland. Mayor Dykstra received an email last Thursday announcing the visit, about which details had “not yet been released.” Washington DC moves fast… sometimes.

When it comes to the future of the U.S. automotive industry, Holland, Michigan mayor Kurt Dykstra can be understandably proud of how his town is positioned: “You’re not going to find a higher concentration of lithium-ion battery production anywhere in the country.”

The 144-year-old town sits on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, and is known for upscale shops and its Dutch foundings. It also happens to be home to the Reader’s World book store where yours truly has purchased several books about (you guessed it) climate change.

But Holland also has two factories that have received 35% of the federal government’s investment in advanced automotive technology. As a result, it was recently announced that President Obama plans to make his second visit to the town in just over a year.

Read Jim Harger’s story in the Grand Rapids Press

Special thanks to John and Beth Loehr for the use of their summer home in Grand Haven, MI. Their generous hospitality has allowed for my visits to Reader’s World, as well as the opportunity to read Jim Harger’s article which inspired today’s strip.

CAN’T GET ENOUGH WHAT ON EARTH?

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Interview: Katie Kline, Communications Officer at Ecological Society of America interviewed me via Skype for the ESA’s Ecotone blog. Read and hear it here.

Video: Bebbo and Kito were featured in one of Jim Parks’ terrific Today’s Green Minute episodes. See the video! Learn more about it.

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Your creative idea could be chosen to appear in the September 23rd edition of What on Earth? which highlights Moving Planet, the worldwide event being planned by Bill McKibben’s 350.org environmental organization. Entering the contest is easy:

  1. Think of a green mode of transportation (Walking? Electric car? HANG GLIDING?) — the wilder the better — we want your craziest green ideas!
  2. Post your idea on the “What on Earth?” Facebook page www.facebook.com/whatonearthcomics by September 3, 2011.

That’s it! The winner will first be announced through 350.org. The What on Earth? comic strip featuring your idea will be circulated around the world including right here. Good luck!

About Neil Wagner

Neil Wagner's What on Earth? comic strip uses humor to discuss global warming.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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