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
3000 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105 RSVP HERE
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!
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!
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!
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.
“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.
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 350.org, 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.”
On 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.
People Against Petcoke Protest – Monday, June 24, 2013
When the news of the petroleum coke piles dumped along the Detroit River broke last month, I’m sad to say that my immediate reaction was not surprise. The petcoke piles are just another notch on the continuum of pollution and environmental injustice in Southwest Detroit. Ever since my mom chose to move back to the city of Detroit two years ago, I’ve become used to the mysterious soot that seems to coat every outdoor surface and to the pungent smells that radiate down the block of my family’s home in Southwest Detroit.
As a brief reminder, the piles of petroleum coke (“petcoke”) have been deposited along the Detroit River, just east of the Ambassador Bridge to Canada, since the fall of 2012. Petcoke is a byproduct of burning crude tar sands, and it is estimated that every barrel of crude imported from Alberta results in an output of 60-130 pounds of petcoke. The petcoke being deposited along the Detroit River is only the beginning. The Marathon Oil Refinery in the 48217 zip code that produces this substance recently went through a $2 billion expansion in order to be able to process more of the tar sands, and thereby produce more of the petcoke.
It pains me to know that my family is suffering the side-effects of such environmental injustice while I live, work, and go to school in Ann Arbor, enjoying the privilege of clean air that is so often taken for granted. So when I learned that the Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands (DCATS)-a division of the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS)– had been formed and was working on action around the petcoke piles, I was thrilled that people were taking action to combat the injustices my home community have been facing. On Sunday, June 23, DCATS organized a march, rally, and action called “People Against Petcoke.” At 3pm, we all met in Clark Park–a hub for community events in Southwest Detroit–where we heard several amazing speakers, from DCATS organizer Jarret Schlaff to the inspiring Charity Hicks. From Clark Park, we marched the 1.8 miles to the site of the largest of the petcoke piles at the intersection of Rosa Parks and Jefferson Avenue. Once there, we heard from more speakers, were fed exorbitant amounts of pie and pizza, and got direct action training, in which we practiced making consensus decisions and dealing with police, workers, and our fellow activists. After the training, we walked down to the riverfront to join in a candlelit vigil at dusk with fellow activists across the river in Windsor, Canada. It was windy and the candles flickered in and out, but the sense of solidarity emanated from one side of the river to the other nonetheless.
A group of people kept a presence at the site of the action overnight, and at around 8:30 the next morning (July 24), they began a blockade to stop a truck carrying petcoke into the site. I arrived around 9:15 and linked arms with the brave people who had stood in front of the truck to stop it. There was a large cardboard padlock tied with string across the drive into the dumping site, behind which stood several police officers and border patrol, the numbers of which increased throughout the day. In front of the padlock stood about 25-30 activists, about 7 of whom had arms linked directly in front of the truck, and the rest of whom stood in successive rows behind those who were willing to risk arrest for the action. We held a press conference in which we read a “People’s Eviction Notice,” which ordered Marathon, the Koch Brothers, and Matty Maroun (the property owner) to shut down the docks and the discontinue the illegal dumping of petcoke. We had incredible press coverage, and our police liaison did a spectacular job of communicating to the police that this blockade wasn’t about just “making a point.” It was about turning the trucks around and not letting anyone dump petcoke in this space anymore. Therefore, when the police asked us several times to pack up and go, our response was that we wouldn’t leave until the petcoke was moved.
The morning continued on, and the amount of trucks waiting to enter the facility/dumping ground increased. Several of them turned around, but when the action came to a head, there were 5 trucks piled up waiting to get in. One of them–the one we stood directly in front of–held petcoke. We held signs with the Marathon logo that read “Murder” and signs that informed that Koch brothers that Detroit is NOT their dump. Once in awhile the wind would pick up and we would all be coated in a layer of petcoke. When I returned home I discovered the cap of my water bottle was filled with the substance and the sign I was carrying had a thin layer the black, oily grime on it. The police were incredibly cooperative, and kept underlining that they didn’t wish to make any arrests that day. However, as the hours came and went, they began to give us warnings that if we didn’t move, they would be bringing a paddy wagon to arrest us all.
The 7 people standing directly in front of the truck were prepared to be arrested; they had come to a consensus that they were willing to do so, and we had written the phone number of the legal aid on all of their arms and were beginning to prepare for the process of getting them out of jail. Just before the paddy wagon had appeared, however, a worker from the facility we were blockading the entrance to appeared to negotiate with us. He explained that it was really important to get the trucks that weren’t carrying petcoke into the facility, and that if we backed up the blockade, he would make the truck carrying petcoke turn around and wouldn’t let any other petcoke trucks return for the day. When we asked how we could trust him on this promise, he pulled out his wallet and handed it to one of the protesters. We confirmed that his I.D. and other important information were in the wallet. The decision was made to back up the blockade to allow the petcoke truck to turn around and let the other trucks through. As we backed up, the police line backed up, and several people were in tears as the petcoke truck turned around. It was truly one of the most beautiful and cooperative outcomes I’ve seen at a direct action. DCATS–the organization responsible for coordinating the action–has vowed to continue its resistance until the petcoke piles are gone.
The illegal dumping of petcoke in the city of Detroit is just a small piece of the destruction created in every step in the process of fossil fuel production and consumption. I stand with DCATS, MI CATS, the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, and everyone else across the country and the world standing up against the fossil fuel industry. All power to the people!