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 explained that a conversation with a friend during the Citizens’ Climate Lobby national conference last June sparked the idea for the tour. When Shahir told his friend he was “too busy” to take on another activity for CCL, he suddenly realized that there was no more important way he could be utilizing the skills and knowledge he gained through his education, than advocating for action on climate change.
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.
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.
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.