On the Road for Climate Action

Ann Arbor CCL was excited to host a presentation by visiting climate activists Shahir Masri, a University of California-Irvine air pollution scientist and author, and Athina Simolaris, a teacher.  A year ago, Shahir and Athina decided they would pause their careers for one year (forgoing both pay and career growth) to dedicate themselves to climate advocacy. On August 1, they departed California on an 11-week outreach tour across 35 states.  Along the way, they are giving presentations about climate change and solutions, collecting data on the different ways people are experiencing climate change impacts, and inspiring others to take action.

Athina and Shahir gave an engaging presentation to an audience of about 25 at the Nature Cove Community Room during their stop in Ann Arbor.  Shahir shared with us an inspiring journal entry, written during the 2017 CCL Conference in DC, explaining how he came upon the idea for the tour:

I came to DC prepared to tell my CCL chapter leader that I just cannot lead the local climate resolution team. I’m just too overwhelmed with work. Walking to the conference, preparing to talk to my chapter leader. Then it hit me… What am I doing?  Climate change is the issue of our time, perhaps the species! And I’m too busy? . . . Suddenly the distortion of my priorities shined like a light. THIS is my calling. THIS is important, and what I  must prioritize. What better reason to pursue your passion than “the world depends such pursuit.” The other things can wait. I am going to complete my remaining 1-year of post doc research and then take the year off. . . I want to visit climate afflicted regions, blog, and write about it. . . . I want to give myself completely to this important cause.

In addition to presenting clear and sobering facts on climate science, Athina and Shahir engaged the audience in a conversation about the climate change impacts we have observed here in Ann Arbor, and the actions we can take to effect change — making personal changes to reduce our own carbon footprint as well as working to enact policies at the local, state and national level.  Audience members each wrote down one action they are currently taking to lessen their fossil fuel use.  All of the ideas were displayed for everyone to see, and then attendees were encouraged to adopt another action from someone else.

The event concluded with a book signing of Shahir’s newly published book, Beyond Debate: Answers to 50 Misconceptions on Climate Change, the sales of which are helping to fund Shahir & Athina’s Climate Action Tour.

If you would like to learn more about On the Road for Climate Action, you can follow Shahir and Athina’s journey here, and you can support their efforts here.

Thanks Shahir and Athina for your dedication and commitment to leaving the world a better place!

4th of July Parade

What better way to fight the extreme heat on the 4th of July than advocating for action on climate change?!

Ann Arbor CCL volunteers marched in the Ann Arbor Jaycees 4th of July Parade through downtown Ann Arbor to share our message that we have a great solution to put us on the path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Despite being slightly upstaged by the entertaining Redford Jaycees Lawnmower Drill Corps marching directly in front of us, our crew was very well received by the large audience, hearing many cheers and shouts of encouragement along the way. We ran out of our 400 Carbon Dividend Check flyers (see photo below) early on!

We had loads of fun and came up with several ideas to make it even better next year.

Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival – 2018

We had a great time at the Earth Day Festival at the Leslie Science Center on Sunday, April 22.  We caught a break from the weather gods, and turnout was quite good.  There were a lot of organizations represented, and we got as much foot traffic as the others.  We gave the kids a chance to draw pictures of what they love about living on earth, and they took full advantage of the opportunity.  Hopefully these kids will grow into climate activists in ten or fifteen years.  (We consider it a long-term investment!) We also distributed organizational information to the adults and added a few names to our email list.  All in all, a fun and worthwhile event.  Thanks to Richard, Peggy, Mary Anne, Judy, and Leo for their great volunteer work.  Also, thanks to Mary G. for stopping by our table, and to Ginny for rescuing us when we were running low on constituent comment forms.

-David G.

Call Congress November 8

On Tuesday, November 14, 500+ CCL volunteers from all across the U.S. will be on Capitol Hill asking Congress to support Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation, a simple, fair and effective national policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

YOU can help amplify our message and demonstrate that the public wants #ClimateAction by calling Congress on Wednesday, November 8. Use this website http://cclusa.org/callcongress to get a sample script, phone numbers and log your calls.  RSVP on our Facebook page, or sign up to get text alerts if you want to get a reminder!

Already know your Senators’ and Representative’s phone number?  You can use this sample script:

I’m a constituent and I’m calling about climate change. Would you like my address to confirm I’m a constituent? I want Senator / Representative _____________ to enact Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s carbon fee and dividend proposal. Congress should be moving strongly forward on solving the climate problem, rather than pulling back. This is a very important issue to me because…..[INSERT YOUR REASON]

Thank you for taking my call.

Feel free to use your own message, but please always be respectful.

Let us know how your calls went by sending email to annarbor@citizensclimatelobby.org

Thanks for your help!

UM Art Students Create Climate Change Posters

In Winter 2017, University of Michigan students in Catherine VanVoorhis’ Drawing II class viewed the film, Before the Flood, a documentary produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. In this film, DiCaprio travels to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand.

The students then did further research about an issue that is featured in the film, and created posters to help others become aware of worldwide problems and possible solutions.

Here are some of the original poster designs that they created.  A selection of these posters are on display in the University of Michigan Union (530 S. State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109) until October 30, 2017.

Ann Arbor City Council Unanimously Supports Carbon Fee Dividend Legislation

Tom Stedman

During their meeting on August 21st, 2017 the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting carbon fee and dividend (CFD) legislation. The passing of this resolution represents positive momentum for Citizen’s Climate Lobby whose primary goal is to pass CFD legislation on a federal level. It is also representative of the political power that organized and active citizens hold in a democracy. This is more than just a symbolic victory as the city will take action to advocate for CFD legislation. The resolution will be sent to Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to propose CFD as a viable piece of legislation to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Council Members Chip Smith (D-Ward 5) and Jason Frenzel (D-Ward 1) sponsored the bill and both offered comments expressing their support for this resolution. Frenzel clarified that the resolution is nonbinding and serves primarily as a catalyst to encourage action on both the state and federal levels. He further commented that the resolution was “well liked in business” due to its clear language and lack of ambiguity regarding the fees. Ann Arbor joins a list of around 50 other U.S. cities such as Philadelphia, Portland, and San Francisco in supporting CFD policy. Councilwoman Kailasapathy (D-Ward 1) agreed with the resolution but had a concern over the lack of “action items”. As a result, Councilman Eaton (D-Ward 4) proposed language that included the suggestion from Kailasapathy for sending the resolution to Dingell, Stabenow and Peters, plus language directing the city to come up with a plan for how to advocate for CFD and work to get the plan enacted. This amended version of the resolution was the one passed by City Council.

Although the primary goal remains federal enactment of CFD legislation, the passing of this resolution is a testament to the hard work of CCL and community members to offer pragmatic, bipartisan solutions for monetizing environmental damage caused by fossil fuel consumption.

Huron River Day Tabling

We had beautiful weather and a great turnout for Huron River Day on July 9!

Check out all of these photos which show why CCL is working so hard to solve climate change — there are so many things we love and need to protect.

Ann Arbor CCL is hosting a Solar Power Hour

Want affordable solar?

Want to know more about Ann Arbor’s Climate Action Plan?

Please join the Ann Arbor Citizens’ Climate Lobby as we host representatives from the City of Ann Arbor for a special information session. We’ll hear about the City’s “A2 Solar Club”, a campaign to incentivize solar installations in Washtenaw County by simplifying the process and offering a low price guarantee. We’ll also learn about the City’s Climate Action Plan goals and what actions the City is taking to meet those goals. Join us to learn more about what our local government is doing to act on climate.

The presentation will be on Thursday, August 10, 7:00 – 8:00pm in the basement meeting room of the Ann Arbor Public Library (343 S 5th Ave).

Hope to see you there!

Bipartisan climate caucus is small step to restoring sanity, civility in politics

By Mark Reynolds

They’re shooting congressmen now. That’s the level of insanity we’ve finally reached in our toxic political environment.

Our nation prays for the recovery of Rep. Steve Scalise — still in critical condition with life-threatening injuries as of this writing – as well as the others injured in a hail of gunfire from deranged shooter James Hodgkinson, who was reported to be a supporter of former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

Sanders went to the floor of the Senate to say, “I am sickened by this despicable act, and let me be as clear as I can be: Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

Unfortunately, Sanders’ words will not stop the war between our ideological tribes. They won’t stop some people from exploiting this tragedy for political purposes. After a brief respite from partisan bickering in which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker Paul Ryan made impassioned speeches on the House floor, most Americans expect Congress will return to business as usual. These days, business as usual means savage attacks in which each side depicts the other as evil.

That’s a shame, because as horrible as this incident was, it should provide us with the opportunity for serious introspection. It should shock us into acknowledging that the current public discourse is unsustainable and bad for our nation. It should make us realize that in order to solve the big problems our country faces we must start listening to each other rather than demonizing each other.

The first small steps toward adopting that attitude are now being taken with the issue of climate change, perhaps the most toxic topic in America today. One day after the shooting, South Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Sanford was asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe how we could return to civility. This is what he said:

“We’ve got to find a way to dial this back. I would give an example of people trying to do that in a small way. There’s a Climate Solutions Caucus here in the Congress, and what they’ve said is that for every Democrat that goes on, you can’t get on unless there’s a Republican that goes with you. And I think there probably ought to be a little more pairing, whether it’s in a caucus form or whether it’s in legislative form here in Washington, and I think people are going to be looking for ways to do just that.”

The Climate Solutions Caucus was started by Republican Carlos Curbelo and Democrat Ted Deutch, both of whom represent coastal Florida districts that have become ground zero – literally – for rising sea levels. It’s predicated on a simple idea: We know our nation is facing big problems with climate change, so let’s have members of Congress from both sides of the aisle come together, listen to one another, and find the common ground to introduce and enact effective solutions.

It’s an approach that many members of Congress appear to be hungry for. Since the start of the year, the caucus has tripled in size to 42 members with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Following meetings that 1,000 climate advocates recently had with 500 House and Senate offices, that number will soon reach 50 and continue to climb throughout the year.

Pennsylvania Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, a member of the caucus who recently received the 2017 Climate Leadership Award from Citizens’ Climate Lobby, said, “We need to get beyond this Hatfields versus McCoys brand of politics.”

He’s right. We have to end this feud, because it’s a war where people are now being shot.

Mark Reynolds is executive director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-partisan advocacy group working to preserve a stable climate.