I accidentally went to a Sierra Club meeting

Day 21: Politics of the Environment in 2012 – A presentation by Mike Berkowitz and Richard Barron of the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club

I wanted to go to this partially because I really wanted to attend one event at the U of M Botanical Gardens and I failed that night I tried to be a beekeeper. It’s a nice building, although somehow I always enter every building through the wrong door and instead of finding the lobby I end up in a hallway that looks like this:

Paradox hallway that's in every building ever

As it turned out this event was also the monthly meeting of the Sierra Club (they’re planning a ski trip if anyone is interested) and everyone in the Sierra Club kind of looks like my dad.

Old hippies may be closer than they appear

The actual talk on politics was given by two guys; a young political go-getter and an old cynical hippie. They complemented each other well, like a big dog who is friends with a yappy dog.

They broke their talk down into three main parts:

  • National Perspective
  • Local Perspective
  • How you can make a difference

At one point they read a Rick Perry quote about how the environmental lobby was killing jobs or some such nonsense. I’m pretty sure that if I had booed I could have got everyone going – like we did in the Little Mermaid sing-a-long. I restrained myself. Barely.

Anyway, they talked a lot about different politician’s environmental voting records. While they made clear several times, often making jokes about it, that the Sierra Club was a non-partisan organization every Republican they mentioned had an environmental voting score between 0 and 10%. Many of the Michigan legislators were at zero. Meanwhile, the Democrats ranged from 80-100%. (Full disclosure, I’m one of those Democrats who thinks that the party needs to take a jump to the left – not a step to the right)

They ended the talk by discussing the 25×25 initiative that they are trying to get on the November ballot in Michigan. This is a clean energy accomplishment initiative which would require that 25% of Michigan’s energy come from renewable resources by 2025. If you want to learn more about it check out www.mienergymijobs.com

I did fulfill Natalie’s quest and spoke to someone that I didn’t know. He was this dude who is challenging John Dingell in the Democratic primary. I’m sort of fascinated by local people who run for office, I once closed down my favorite bar in Indiana with this weirdo local wanna-be politician (he was missing teeth and some of his campaign literature was about unicorns). Anyway, this guy seemed nice but I don’t think he took kindly to my questions about whether he really thought he had a chance against Dingell and if he really thought he could do any better. He did ask me if I would get people to sign his petition. I said no.  You can check him out at www.no30thterm.com.

I thought this talk was very interesting, although a lot of it seemed to come down to them telling the audience to donate money to different environmental causes and candidates. I did learn some stuff, though nothing particularly surprising, and spent an hour in a room full of people who smelled like a food co-op. If’s funny because I hate hippies (sorry, dad).

There is actually a Q and A with John Dingell tomorrow at the Ford Library, but I’m gonna try and go to a talk on Russian Spirituality (noon at 1636 SSWB, 1080 South University) and Katie’s all about this animal thing they’re doing at 7pm at the Public Library downtown.

~ Kara

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4 thoughts on “I accidentally went to a Sierra Club meeting

  1. VV says:

    What do you mean you hate hippies?

  2. Didn’t you know that hippies and punks are natural enemies?

  3. Einar says:

    More like unnatural enemies.
    Well, was talking to a stranger worth it? Or will it be another 4 years before you try that again?

  4. Al says:

    If the Sierra Club are anything like Clean Water Action (and their help wanted ads in the paper and offices were identical) they raise money by going door to door and bullying little old ladies who have no idea what they’re on about into signing up.

    I watched my supervisor perform this technique, but was not able to replicate it, mostly because when I pronounced “water” with a ‘t’ in it the response I got was invariably “Huh?”, and partly because I am only a medium-sized asshole.

    For this reason I do not support them, although I do think the Earth is nice.

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