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Tribal media campaign brings attention to climate issues in Wisconsin

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CRANDON, Wis. – The Forest County Potawatomi Community began a statewide media effort to raise public awareness of the importance of sustaining our natural resources and maintaining clean air, water and land.

The media campaign, with television ads running in every media market in Wisconsin, creates awareness among residents about the problems caused by global warming and encourages people to take action to reduce their carbon footprint and the effects of climate change. The ads can be viewed on the campaign’s Web site.

As the campaign progresses, it will be used to support anticipated state legislation to reduce greenhouse gasses which cause climate change in Wisconsin.

“Since we were young, our elders have instilled in us the importance of protecting Mother Earth and the resources She provides,” said Forest County Potawatomi Chairman Phil Shopodock. “It is our hope that this campaign will help others see that this is not just Madison or Milwaukee’s responsibility; rather this is a statewide problem, and we all must work together to help solve it.”

The tribe was a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming. In July 2008, the Task Force issued its final report, which included a list of recommendations to help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously creating jobs and growing the state’s economy. It is expected that those recommendations will be introduced as legislation.

The media campaign is a new chapter in the tribe’s history of environmental advocacy. In addition to its work on the Task Force, the Forest County Potawatomi Community is involved in a number of significant environmental initiatives both to lighten its own environmental footprint while also working with others to significantly reduce environmental impacts within Wisconsin.

For instance, the expanded Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee uses less energy per square foot and has a significantly smaller greenhouse gas footprint than the original facility because the tribe incorporated energy efficiency plans in the design and construction.

Another example is the tribe’s successful fight against the proposed Crandon Mine. For decades, the tribe has worked with tribal and other partners to raise concerns regarding the proposed Crandon Mine in Forest County, Wis. The proposed mine would have significantly affected hundreds, if not thousands, of acres of pristine wetlands and contaminated billions of gallons of groundwater and surface waters in the area.