Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival – 2019

We had a table at one of our favorite events of the year recently, the Earth Day Festival at the Leslie Science Center.  This is an opportunity for us to reach out to youngsters – budding young climate activists, we hope! – as well as to tell their parents about the work that we do.  We gave the kids a chance to express their love for the planet in drawing, and it’s amazing how much they love the opportunity.  (Take a look at the photos below.)  Some of them were real perfectionists, erasing and refining their pictures until they got it just right. We got plenty of new sign-ups and told people about our monthly meetings, and hopefully recruited some new members.

Thanks to Leo Gnatovskiy, Nadine Wang, John Loken, Richard Barron, Ginny Rogers, Shelley Steele, and our newest volunteer, Hannah Halberstam for handling the tabling duties.  And special thanks to Nancy Stoll for putting together some phenomenal new display materials.  Can’t wait until next year’s Festival!

— David Gurk

Paris to Pittsburgh

Photo of attendees at screening of Paris to Pittsburgh
It was standing room only at the “Paris to Pittsburgh” movie night, co-sponsored by Ann Arbor CCL and the Washtenaw Chapter of The Climate Reality Project.

Ann Arbor CCL partnered with friends from the Washtenaw Chapter of The Climate Reality Project to host a public screening of the documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh” on March 10, 2019.  Over 40 community members, including several members of the Ann Arbor City Council, enjoyed snacks, the movie, and a presentation on carbon fee and dividend and HR 763.  The documentary, directed by Emmy Award winner Sidney Beaumont and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Michael Bonfiglio, explored local, grassroots efforts around the U.S. to mitigate climate change.  After the movie, there was time for questions, and a discussion about local climate efforts.  The message of the movie and the subsequent discussion was that the U.S. may have withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement, but local communities recognize the dangers of climate change and are not deterred in their efforts to seek solutions.  The screening was held at The NEW Center, a local incubator for nonprofits.

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.

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.