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:
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.
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.