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 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.

‘Oil and Water Don’t Mix!’ rally opposes expanding oil pipeline at Mackinac

More than 30 climate-change activists from Ann Arbor joined Bill McKibben and hundreds of others for a July 14 rally to bring attention to Enbridge Energy’s plans to expand the oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac.rally at Mackinac

“Just like the Keystone XL Pipeline, this pipeline threatens efforts to build a renewable energy economy, especially if they use it to carry tar sands oil from Canada,” according to Monica Patel, policy specialist at the Ecology Center and director of the organization’s Ann Arbor 350 campaign.

“But what’s even more scary is the risk that this 60-year-old pipeline will burst, spilling crude or even tar sands oil into the Great Lakes,” Patel said.

In a recent report, the National Wildlife Federation pointed out that pipelines at the Straits carry 20 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas fluids each day from Wisconsin to Ontario.

The pipelines were in the straits in 1953—the year President Dwight Eisenhower took office and four years before the Mackinac Bridge was opened to traffic.

“If either of those pipelines leaked, the resulting oil slick would likely devastate some of the lakes’ most bountiful fisheries, wildlife refuges, and municipal drinking water supplies,” the NWF report said. “A significant rupture would cause an Exxon-Valdez scale oil spill
spreading through Lakes Huron and Michigan, the heart of the largest freshwater seas in the world.”

Oil and Water Don’t Mix was brought together by Traverse City 350 and
many many allies throughout Michigan; a huge crowd showed up in this fairly remote spot, and stayed for hours,” Bill McKibben, co-founder of, said in an e-mail after the rally.

“And I got to explain how these local battles fit into the global one: even if that oil doesn’t spill in the Great Lakes, it will eventually spill into the atmosphere in the form of carbon, changing the climate,” he wrote. “In fact, the water level on the Great Lakes is already falling fast because they don’t ice over for much of the winter any more, allowing increased evaporation.”

Slideshow from the event:

Oil and Water Don’t Mix! A Rally for the Great Lakes

rally-for-great-lakesOn July 14, climate activists from around Michigan will converge at the Straits of Mackinac to protest the pipeline that runs underneath the Mackinac Bridge. This 60-year old pipeline connects the aging pipeline infrastructure in Michigan with the tar sand fields in Western Canada. The Enbridge Pipeline system pumps crude oil under our lakes and through our communities, to be turned into Petcoke, which is haphazardly piled on the banks of the Detroit River.

Ann Arbor 350 is organizing a bus, to make sure that Southeast Climate activists have the opportunity to participate in this important event. The bus will leave Ann Arbor at 7AM, and will return that evening. Bus tickets are $15 and some limited scholarship opportunities are available, to reserve your seat(s) on the bus, click here or email us. Please invite your friends, and bring along your family.

350 Climate Action Training – And Summer Heat

This past weekend, the Ecology Center and Ann Arbor 350 hosted a leadership training with Justin Haaheim, a climate action training facilitator and coach. All weekend, 25 Southeast Michigan activists worked together to learn about leadership, story-telling, and building effective and inclusive organizations to advance the climate movement.

Justin Haaheim

We thank Justin for sharing his experience, and his insight, and of course everybody who participated. We are beginning to grow deep roots and connections across Southeast Michigan, and now it’s time for this movement to blossom.

Moving forward, we agreed to work together to get people to the closest Summer Heat event – the July 14 Rally for the Great Lakes to protest the use of the dirtiest tar-sand oil, and the pipelines that pump it past our communities and threaten our rivers and lakes.

If you want to participate, please sign up at this link. We are looking for those who can give rides to others, as well as those who need transportation.

Mark Your Calendars: Project Grow/Ann Arbor 350 Seed Swap on February 16th

Calling all current and soon-to-be seed enthusiasts!

Did you save more seeds than you could ever use? Did you perhaps go a bit mad at the end-of-year seed sales?

Then the Seed Swap is for you!

Come see what you can exchange your extras for with other gardeners! Bring your loot and your bargaining skills and see how many different varieties you can acquire. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find seeds for delicious corn variety you couldn’t buy enough of at the farmer’s market!

This event is open to the public, so you don’t need to be a Project Grow gardener to attend.

Our hosts do ask that seed swappers find street parking rather than taking spots in their parking lot that could be used by their customers.

Come on out Saturday, February 16th, 10-11:30 a.m., at Downtown Home and Garden, 210 South Ashley in Ann Arbor!

Be sure to come and take care of all your 2013 seed needs – anything you can’t find will certainly be for sale at Downtown Home and Garden!

Downtown Home & Garden
210 South Ashley Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Saturday, February 16 2013 10:00am – 11:30am

For more information, contact Monica Patel at 734-369-9277

 Don’t know where to begin with seed saving, nonetheless swapping?   

The Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa has a webinar coming up – conveniently this Tuesday – about starting your own seed bank.

Cost breakdown for #ForwardonClimate

Updated Friday, January 25, 2013
The biggest environmental rally EVER is happening in D.C. on President’s Day weekend. You definitely want to be there. Even though this kind of thing is physically exhausting, it’s inspiring and way-past-due. Travel and transportation are definitely big carbon guzzlers, but this is Important. So we decided to do some math to help you figure out what’s your best option for getting to the biggest, most important single event of the year. Here goes:
  • Drive yourself: About $120 in gas and 895 pounds carbon (see picture below and multiple by 2 for round trip)

    This is assuming you drive a Ford Fiesta by yourself. Cost of boredom not included!

  • NOT A FEASIBLE OPTION:  Ride with us in a 15-passenger van: $45 per person, 115 pounds carbon per person
  • Ride with us in a big old charter motorcoach: $100 per person, can’t find a calculator for such a large vehicle

What do you think? Get on the bus.

#ForwardonClimate – Let’s go to D.C. on Feb 17th!


Maria Gunnoe, Wallenberg Medalist and super-activist, comes to Ann Arbor

Maria Gunnoe is the 22nd recipient of the Wallenberg Medal, awarded to outstanding humanitarians whose actions on behalf of the defenseless and oppressed reflect the heroic commitment and sacrifice of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during the closing months of World War II.

2009 Goldman Prize for North America: Maria Gunnoe

The evening before the ceremony, Ms. Gunnoe will visit us at the Ecology Center to talk about her work, the current lay of the land and activism. Please RSVP to attend our “Secret Session with Marie Gunnoe”.

Ms. Gunnoe is a fearless advocate for environmental and social justice. Her family arrived in Boone County, West Virginia, in the early 1800s, when her ancestors escaped the forced removal of their Cherokee peoples from Georgia and settled safely in the fertile hollows of central Appalachia. She comes from a long line of coal miners, including her Cherokee grandfather, who in 1950 purchased the land where her home stands.

From her home in Boone County, she has fought for years to protect communities from devastating mountaintop removal coal mining and valley fill operations. Boone County is one of the most active mountaintop removal regions in the United States. To date the practice has destroyed an estimated 500 mountains and buried or polluted over 2,000 miles of rivers and streams. Despite threats and intimidation Ms. Gunnoe works to educate and build citizen advocacy, and to rally communities that face the destruction of their natural environment.

The Wallenberg Medal ceremony and lecture will take place on Tuesday, October 23rd, at 7:30pm in the Rackham Auditorium on the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Bill McKibben’s secret session

Bill McKibben at SNRE Dana Building 9-14

Bill McKibben at SNRE Dana Building 9-14. Photo by: Dave Brenner, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment

Last Friday Sept. 14, Bill McKibben, climate activist and founder of, gave a big speech in the Rackham Auditorium that lots of people heard about and attended. The Univ of Michigan’s Erb Institute sponsored event nearly filled the auditorium’s 1,100 seats.

Continue reading Bill McKibben’s secret session

Honey, reggae, and a high chance of tomatoes

I don’t know about you, but a lot of us (probably all of us) at Ann Arbor 350 headed over to the Farmer’s Market last Saturday, Sept. 8, for the fifth annual HomeGrown Festival. Featuring food tastings, face-painting, local bands, beverages, a silent auction, and learning booths, there were activities for students and the whole family. And there were LOTS of people from both crowds. Want to know more? Continue reading Honey, reggae, and a high chance of tomatoes