Today marks a new era for our country, as it does with any new president. But for the environmental movement, it means one step forward and likely two steps back. Back to the time when climate change was not recognized as truth by those with the highest powers. Back to the time when energy independence didn’t mean working toward energy efficiency or renewables, but drill baby drill.
In this new old era, localities will need to work harder to create change. Funding will change, programs will be cut, but we must continue to work toward cleaner more resilient communities. Now local organizations and municipalities will need to show what we stand for in our community.
When I think about the work that WMEAC does in West Michigan, I think about the children we are teaching with Teach for the Watershed or Zero Waste in Landfill. These young people are going to be hearing from the most powerful people that climate change is not real, that we need to continue mining coal and drilling for petroleum, that there are no ramifications for this short term thinking. We are needed more than ever to stand up for them. To teach them that climate change is happening and impacting our community and that there is hope for addressing it. We need to teach them that they are the hope for addressing it.
In 2017, WMEAC is going to work harder to represent the needs of our community. We will help everyone, especially the vulnerable populations who will be most impacted by climate change, to ensure West Michigan continues to move forward. But that will take you.
It will take Teach for the Watershed Mentors helping teach our young people about what they are protecting, and why they are protecting it. It will take people cleaning the Grand River. It will take activists calling their legislators. It will take donations and volunteers to ensure that programs thrive and expand to the support needs of our community.
We. Me. Act. is more than a campaign; it is how we do our work. We are a community working as one to protect this place. Me is our personal commitment and personal energy that makes change in the community. Act is the action, the gathering of our hopes and moving it forward to create and sustain.
But behind all of that is you.