Fossil fuels are a bad bet, and its time for our schools to own up to that. Mindy Lubber is an investment expert with Ceres and she has a message to the folks who think they can weather this storm. Here’s her full article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mindylubber/2012/12/17/fossil-fuel-divestment-is-timely-issue-for-investors/
“A resolution on divestment from fossil fuel companies has been approved by the Ann Arbor city council on a 9-2 vote.” - The Ann Arbor Chronicle
The Ann Arbor City Council has been considering urging the City’s Retirement Board to divest from fossil fuels since September.
This would not have happened without the work the community. In particular, Energy Commissioners like Mike Shriberg, Wayne Appleyard and Dina Kurz — all of whom drafted and then championed the resolution by delivering public comments. The student-led campus divestment campaign also stood up and spoke out as did members of Ann Arbor 350.
Ann Arbor is among the first 20 U.S. cities to pursue divestment because — to quote from the resolution itself:
Continued support for the fossil fuel industry undermines the quality of life for the City of Ann Arbor retirees and runs counter to the requirement of the City of Ann Arbor Employees’ Retirement System’s duty of ‘providing benefits to members’.
University of Michigan researchers are conducting a detailed study of the potential environmental and societal effects of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural gas drilling process known as fracking.
Researchers are working with government regulators, oil and gas industry representatives and environmental groups to explore seven critical areas related to the use of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan: human health, the environment and ecology, economics, technology, public perception, law and policy, and geology/hydrodynamics.
Because a critical aspect of the process involves engagement with a wide range of decision makers and stakeholders, UM researchers are inviting the public to review the technical reports and to provide input – questions, ideas, and suggestions – for the focus of the Integrated Assessment, which will be completed during the next phase of the project. As part of the investigation, research teams are soliciting input from the public through an online comment form on the Graham Institute website: Share your questions and thoughts now.
This Saturday, September 21st, we’ll be joining with allies in Detroit to draw a line against tar sands and dirty energy. Across the country, 200 cities are participating in this national day of action called “Draw the Line.”
Details –> Detroit Draws the Line: Folks will gather at 1pm at Kemeny Parkat 2260 S. Fort Street to connect with each other, hear from some local artists. The group will then march a few blocks to the Marathon refinery to deliver our demands — drawing a line (by lining up) on the public sidewalk in front of the oil refinery. Individuals will be invited to share their stories and vision for a future that works for all of us.If you’re able to make it, let’s coordinate! Saturday is also the Tour DeTroit and parking could be difficult so carpooling is optimal. If you’re interested in carpooling, you can enter your information here OR let me know – email works well and you can call/text 734-707-1350.
The event starts at 1pm so we would like to leave Ann Arbor by 11:45am in case we need to find parking.
Saturday morning Farmers Market activism:
If you’re interested in participating in some local activism on Saturday morning:
Rainforest Action Network at Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Saturday, September 21st, 7am-12pm
315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Come to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Saturday morning, where Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Forest Heroes are raising awareness about the problem with palm oil and collecting photo petitions. Rainforest Action Network staff will then be joining Ann Arbor 350 for the big Draw the Line Action in Detroit!
Last week Rainforest Action Network launched an ambitious new campaign called The Last Stand of the Orangutan which aims to remove “Conflict Palm Oil” from America’s snack foods by convincing major food companies to implement responsible palm oil policies that do not contribute to rainforest destruction, climate change, species extinction, and human rights abuses. RAN is traveling across the US with our The Power Is In Your Palm Tour, visiting the hometowns of many of the “Snack Food 20” companies to spread the word about our exciting new campaign. The Snack Food 20, as we’re calling them, use conflict palm oil in their snack food products and control some of America’s most well known household brands including Pepsi, Heinz, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smuckers.
Erb Speaker Series: Peter Sinclair ‘Communicating Climate Science in the Disinformation Era’
Wednesday, Sept. 11, 5 p.m.-7 p.m.
University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business
701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Free and open to the public.
A primary obstacle climate scientists face in educating the public and decision makers on the realities of global warming, is the well-funded, well-organized and coordinated effort of climate denialists on the internet. One of the most effective social media initiatives to push back against climate denialism has been Peter Sinclair’s “Climate Denial Crock of the Week,” the YouTube series that confronts and calls out climate deniers, deftly dissecting fossil funded disinformation and propaganda.
For this month’s 350.org day of action, “Draw the Line”, we’re helping Detroit draw the line against tar sands. Our partners in this effort, D-CATS (Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands), are coordinating logistics and we’re organizing carpools.
The details are still being figured out, but will be posted here once they become final.
If you’re able to drive, please post your ride here to give us a head start on coordinating carpools. Know a better carpool-coordinating tool? Let us know!
Renowned climate scientist James Hansen will headline Ecology Center’s annual dinner
James Hansen, the scientist whose testimony before Congress in 1988 first raised the threat of global warming to national and international attention, will be the keynote speaker at the Ecology Center’s fall dinner on Thursday, Oct. 3 at the Michigan League in Ann Arbor. Tickets are available online.
When the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies warns that our current climate change policy isn’t protecting our planet, it’s probably a good idea to listen. In fact, it’s imperative. James Hansen is considered one of the world’s top climate scientists and has spent his lifetime not only observing, but teaching students how the Earth’s environment works at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
For these reasons and more, the Ecology Center is excited to bring James Hansen to Ann Arbor as the keynote speaker for our fundraiser this October (click here for tickets). Hansen is helping shape an intelligent response to climate change with scientific understanding. Earlier this year, he received the Ridenhour Courage Prize for his continued advocacy despite a backlash from the government and scientific communities.
At the start of his career, Hansen published research connecting human activity with changes in the climate. In 1988, he testified to Congress that these altered conditions will be dangerous for life on Earth, and did the same in 2001 as a scientist on the Bush administration’s Environmental Task Force. These early warnings have become our present problems. The Earth is experiencing greater and more frequent storms, floods, and droughts. And we’re approaching the point where our impact may be irreversible.
That’s why James Hansen has taken to the street to fight for a healthy world, especially against the threat of our continued reliance on carbon-producing energy sources. Over the last few years, he’s partnered with Bill McKibben of 350.org to pressure the government to stop subsidizing fossil fuel companies, reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, and make carbon-producing industries pay for their cost to society. Ensuring a healthy world requires public education and organization. We hope you’ll join us in learning from James Hansen’s experiences this fall.
NOTE: Limited free/discounted tickets are available. If you’re interested in volunteering for 5 hours in exchange for a ticket (4-7pm and 9-11pm — i.e., not during the dinner and speech), contact Jenn Ketz.
Madison Vorva, left, and Rhiannon Tomtishen also took their campaign against the use of palm oil to the White House. Via http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/palm-oil-and-scout-cookies-the-battle-drags-on/
These two activists – Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen — have succeeded in winning pledges from GSUSA to pledge to limit the use of palm oil to cases where there was “no alternative.” The long-time Girl Scouts partnered with Rain Forest Action and worked for over 5 years to make the cookies “rainforest-safe”.
One of the students, Rhiannon Tomtishen, will share her experiences and give an update on the campaign at Rainforest Action Network’s Forest Heroes Campaign Kick-off Meeting on September 18th at the Michigan Union.
Here are the event details:
Wednesday September 18, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Michigan Union: 530 South State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Room D, 3rd Floor
The most recent campaign to protect forests from bulldozing to harvest palm oil focuses on the Michigan-based cereal company Kellogg’s – because the company is doing business Wilmar International. Wilmar International has been ranked the least sustainable corporation in the world – worse than Exxon Mobil and Monsanto — in part because they bulldoze rainforests to harvest palm oil.
The resulting deforestation caused by the palm oil, which is then used in Kelloggs’ cereals and snacks, destroys the homes of endangered species like Sumatran tigers, orangutans and other wildlife, and is a top driver of climate change.
We envision a world where rainforests are protected, not destroyed for profit. Changing the practices of companies like Wilmar will go a long way toward achieving that goal. The good news is that Kellogg’s can demand sustainable palm oil, but they’ll only act if they see thattheir neighbors here in Michigan want them to do the right thing.
Come to the Forest Heroes Campaign Kick-off Meeting to learn how you can get involved and move Kellogg’s to protect the rainforest!
At their next meeting on September 3rd, Ann Arbor City Council with consider an ordinance to divest its holdings from the 200 companies that hold the vast majority of the world’s coal, oil, and gas reserves. Scientists tell us that 80% of these reserves need to stay in the ground, but that isn’t stopping fossil fuel companies from burning through them.
Divesting pension funds from these companies gives us the opportunity to reinvest in a way that not only creates a profit, but also benefits our communities and the climate such as energy retrofits and solar companies.
Is it making you jealous that so many folks in town have incredible visible/edible gardens? Well, let’s fix that.
Here’s how to start — or grow — your own food garden for next year:
Location: Do you have a nice sunny spot where you could grow food? Does it have access to water? This could be lawn space on the ground or a balcony because you can always do a container veggie/herb garden.
If you’re able to put a garden in outside, then contact us about getting a raised bed kit from Growing Hope (here’s an example of a 4′ x 4′ box). It helps to have a drill to install it, but we may be able to help with things like that…and cost, delivery, etc. Email us if you’re interested and we’ll work something out.
This is the perfect time of year to put in a raised bed because you can fill it with grass clippings, leaves, newspaper and a thin layer of compost (this stuff works great) — read: No Digging! — and it’ll be ready to go next year. Depending on how much interest there is, we may be able to host a work day to help folks install and fill their raised bed kits so they’re ready to go next year.
We’re proud to be supporters of Partners for Transit (P4T) — a coalition dedicated to the improvement of transit, in the belief that better transit means better communities. P4T works to expand and improve the transit system so that more people can use it and more often.
There’s some argument over who should pay for what when it comes to transit improvements and we think that’s because people don’t get how important transit is. We’re looking for folks to help us spread the word that transit…
…helps build vibrant, livable communities by connecting people to educational, cultural, and recreational destinations such as schools, museums, malls, and concert halls
…makes traveling more efficient for everyone, bus riders and drivers alike, by alleviating traffic congestion and reducing travel delays
…fuels local economic activity by creating new jobs, attracting commerce and investment, and enhancing business profits and productivity
…saves costs for households and businesses and expands the workforce and customer base available to local businesses, promoting regional prosperity
P4T is looking for folks to hang out on buses and bus stops to engage riders and table at local events so community members know how important transit is. We’re open to other skill sets and interests too!