This Saturday: Forest Heroes Halloween Party!

The Michigan Forest Heroes campaign has hit the ground running and are continuing to put pressure on Kellogg’s cereal company, which buys palm oil from Wilmar International (the company that controls almost half of the palm oil industry worldwide).

This weekend, Ann Arbor’s Forest Heroes — Eva and Katie — would like to invite you and your family to their Halloween Party:

All ages welcome for games, tiger-friendly goodies, and action! 

Forest Heroes hit downtown Grand Rapids! Photo: mlive

Saturday, October 26th, 10am – 1 pm
Gallup Park
3000 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105
RSVP HERE

It’s almost Halloween, and the Forest Heroes of Ann Arbor invite you to join us for a family-fun Halloween celebration! There will be games, tiger-friendly candy giveaways, fun tiger costumes, kids craft activities and tables set up to take immediate actions like calling John Bryant and taking pictures to urge Kellogg’s to be a Forest Hero too! It should be a lot of fun, and we need as many people there as possible to make sure Kellogg’s hears us loud and clear! Can you and your friends or family make it to the party on Saturday? It’s a free event, but please take 30 seconds to RSVP here today!

Kellogg’s is a Michigan institution and Tony the Tiger is an American icon, but they’ve recently partnered with Wilmar International, ranked the least sustainable corporation in the entire world. Wilmar’spalm oil production destroys the homes of endangered species like Sumatran tigers, elephants, orangutans and other wildlife, and is a top driver of climate change.

We envision a world where rainforests are protected and cherished; not destroyed for profit. The good news is that Kellogg’s has the power to influence Wilmar to change its practices to preserve the rainforest, but they will only act if they see that their neighbors here in Michigan want them to do the right thing. This Saturday, we have an amazing opportunity to make a real impact on this critical global effort – and to have some fun while doing it!

Join us with your family and friends this Saturday for the Forest Heroes Halloween Party to help us protect our precious rainforests! Please take 30 seconds to RSVP here today!

Ann Arbor City Council softens — then passes! — divestment resolution

divestment-from-fossil-fuels

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’.

To learn more about other cities’ divestment plans and the campaign in general, visit 350.org’s Fossil Free Campaign.

 

Fracking in Michigan: A chance to have your voice heard

Fracking in Benzonia County Michigan

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.

Not sure what to ask or suggest? The Union of Concerned Scientists has developed a new toolkit to help you out. This practical guide provides the top critical questions that Michigan needs to ask and resources to get the scientific information necessary for weighing the prospects and risks of fracking.

Climate meet-up is this Wednesday, 9/25, at 6pm

P4T

At this month’s climate meet-up, we’ll learn about Partners for Transit, a coalition of folks working to improve transit in the county.

We’ll also have updates on issues we’ve been working on — divestment, fracking, 350.org’s Draw the Line event, and more. RSVP here.

Other agenda items? Let us know!

In the meantime, check out this inspiring slideshow from this weekend’s #drawtheline events:

Detroit Draws the Line this Saturday — Let’s coordinate rides!

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.”

draw the lineDetails –> 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.

 

Learn more and RSVP for the event at melanieb@ran.org.

Other Draw the Line events:
You can also find other “Draw the Line” events by searching here:http://act.350.org/event/draw_the_line/search/

You’ll want to add these events to your calendar


Erb Speaker Series:  Peter Sinclair ‘Communicating Climate Science in the Disinformation Era’

peter-sinclairWednesday, Sept. 11, 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Room 2230
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.

Sinclair will be receive the Ecology Center’s Herbert L. Munzel Award for Environmental Activism next month at the Fall Dinner featuring James Hansen.

Peter Sinclair is now producing a companion series, “This is Not Cool,” through the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.

Click here for full event listing


Climate Meet-up featuring Partners for Transit – Sept. 25 at 6pm

P4T

At this month’s climate meet-up, we’ll learn about Partners for Transit, a coalition of folks working to improve transit in the county.

We’ll also have updates on issues we’ve been working on — divestment, fracking, 350.org’s Draw the Line event, and more. RSVP here.

Other agenda items? Let us know!


draw the line350.org’s ‘Draw the Line’ day of action Sept. 21

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

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.

Read more about James Hansen at aa350.org >>

The Ecology Center brings James Hansen to Ann Arbor

James Hansen photo from The Guardian

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.

Hear from an A2 student activist who was part of the campaign to remove palm oil from Girl Scout cookies!

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/

Did you know that in 2012, two high school juniors from Ann Arbor won the first-ever United Nations Forest Heroes Award for their campaign to remove Palm Oil from Girls Scout cookies?

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

Refreshments provided: RSVP here

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 that their 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!

You can RSVP here, and are encouraged to bring a friend!

To learn more about how you can get involved before the meeting, please contact Eva Resnick-Day at eva@greencorps.org

Add Ann Arbor to the growing list of cities divesting from fossil fuels

A growing number of cities and institutions are committing to divest from fossil fuels (you can see who’s working on it here). Can you help us add Ann Arbor to the list?

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.

divest-ann-arborCan you help? 

We’ll be delivering this petition to City Council on September 3rd and we need signatures to show support from Ann Arbor residents.

We don’t have a lot of time so please share the URL (http://bit.ly/divestA2) with any Ann Arbor residents you know. Sharing on Facebook and Twitter is incredibly helpful too!

If you would like to provide public comments at the meeting, email us so we can help you sign up and coordinate our message.

Ready to start — or grow — your vegetable garden? Read on!

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.
  • Planning: What will you grow? MSU Extension has tons of tip sheets to help you figure out what you can do with the space you have.

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.

In the wintertime, you can kick back with a cup of tea and daydream about what you’ll grow. Don’t forget to make some calendar notes — different plants start at different times. You can buy and swap seeds, buy or start your own seedlings. The options are truly limitless — and the best part is you’re pretty likely to have fun and grow at least a few things!

This is a great article from TreeHugger if you want to learn more.