If you belong to the Sierra Club and live in one of the nine counties in Michigan’s southwest corner, you’re a member of the SW Michigan Group (SWMG) of Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter. We meet at 6 PM on the first Wednesday of every month at the Friends Meeting House, 508 Denner St, Kalamazoo. (Click here for map.) Members and non-members are welcome. Bring your family and friends!

A new program every month:

  • March 7 – You may own dirty-energy stocks and not know it. Financial advisor Brian Spitzley will show you how to make sure your retirement account and other investments support only environmentally friendly businesses.
  • April 4Dr. David Karowe, professor with Western Michigan University’s Department of Biological Sciences, will speak on “Climate Change and It’s Affect On The Great Lakes.”

NOW, MORE THAN EVER, WE NEED YOUR HELP! If you’re not a Sierra Club member, please consider joining the cause. Click the big green “Join” button on the right. Already a member? Or perhaps you’d rather not join, but you still want to help? By clicking the gold “Donate” button, you can make a secure contribution via PayPal directly to the work we do right here in the nine Southwest Michigan counties. THANK YOU!


CDC graphic on health effects of climate change

Graphic from Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Click to enlarge.

Climate change is real, and it’s now.

Glaciers are melting. Polar ice is falling into the oceans. Sea levels are rising. Right here in the U.S. “our bases and stations on the coast are going underwater.” Climate change is harming the Earth’s ecosystem, causing the extinction of many species and threatening many more, creating refugee crises, damaging people’s lives. It’s “killing us right now.”

Winning the fight against climate change requires cutting our emissions and speeding our transition to clean energy.

The most important front in the fight against climate change is the home front. Here’s some of what’s happening on the home front here in Southwest Michigan:

  • Families and businesses in Southwest Michigan are moving to clean energy. Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s partnership with Solar Winds, an installer of home and commercial solar power, helps make the switch affordable; and the switch brings drastic cuts in emissions – and in utility bills.

    The scene at our drive-and-ride demonstration during National Drive Electric Week 2017. Slideshows, photos, and a full report here. (Click photo to enlarge.)

  • People are switching to emission-free driving. Your car doesn’t have to add greenhouse gases to the Earth’s atmosphere. Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group and Kalamazoo Electric Vehicle Association annually sponsor National Drive Electric Week in Southwest Michigan. This year we expanded. We held three plug-in electric car demos. We were in Hastings September 9, South Haven September 11, and Kalamazoo September 13. (Here’s our report on all three events.) Meanwhile, SWMG Drive Electric Week coordinator Ben Brown says, “The oil industry has learned that it pays to create doubt in the minds of gasoline car owners that it’s economically viable to own an electric car, that we have time to make changes in our own lives, or that electric cars are remotely practical.” See this recent report in The Guardian.
  • The battle against plastic is gaining momentum. Plastic adds to the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions at every step, from extracting the hydrocarbons to refining, processing, and manufacturing. Then the used plastic clogs our landfills, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. More and more of us are taking along our own cloth bags when we shop and saying no straw, please at the restaurant.
  • Southwest Michigan activists are lobbying our legislators. Mary Ann Renz, Tim Tesar, Dana Mains, Mark Miller, and other Sierra Club members are also active with the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. They’re calling on legislators to adopt the carbon fee and dividend plan as a way to lower greenhouse emissions nationwide. Kalamazoo CCL meets the second Saturday of every month. Anyone can join and learn how to help.
  • The City of Kalamazoo has published a draft of its Climate Action Plan and wants your comments. It’s a comprehensive plan developed with extensive community input. SWMG Executive Committee member Ben Brown is among the people mentioned in the plan’s acknowledgements. Click here to review the plan. Email your comments to Rebekah Kik, Kalamazoo’s Director of Community Planning and Development.
  • Southwest Michigan’s U.S. Representative Fred Upton may join the House Climate Solutions Caucus. Representatives can join only if they bring along a member of the opposite party. Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky has invited Upton. He recently told Axios he was thinking about it. Citizens’ Climate lobby is asking Representative Upton’s constituents to say, “Thank you for considering. Please accept!” UPDATE: On January 26, 2018, CCL reported that Representative Fred Upton joined the Climate Solutions Caucus. See additional reporting from Think Progress.
  • Our bloggers are sharing their ideas and inspirations. See our posts on Climate Change and Global Warming, Clean Energy, Driving Electric, Solar Power, Fracking, Veganism. Yes, even our eating habits matter.

Sierra Club is “unequivocally opposed” to nuclear energy.

Sierra Club SW Michigan Group and Michigan Safe Energy Future have formed the Palisades Shutdown Campaign Coalition. We’re working to make sure the announced shutdown goes through.

Enbridge Line 5 beneath the Straits of Mackinac. It's corroded in places. It is 64 years old.

Don’t let our leaders in Lansing forget the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history when a break in Enbridge Line 6B dumped a million gallons of sludge into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo river. Enbridge Line 5 beneath the Straits of Mackinac is another disaster waiting to happen. It’s corroded in places. It’s 64 years old. It’s inadequately supported on a shifting and eroding lake bed. Keep pressing to shut it down! (Click to enlarge photo.)

Tell Michigan officials: Shut down Line 5!

This ancient pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac threatens catastrophe for the Great Lakes. More info here and here.

Public outcry – including shutdown resolutions adopted by more than two dozen Michigan communities – has prompted Michigan officials to talk tough and to demand more and clearer information. The result? More studies. No action.

  • Sign the petition at Oil & Water Don’t Mix.
  • Send a message to the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force at the Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Call Attorney General Bill Schuette at
    (517) 373-1110.
  • Call Governor Snyder at 517-373-3400 or 517-335-7858.
  • See our News Page for public meeting schedule and more ways to submit comments.

More than 35 million people depend on the Great Lakes for clean drinking water. To understand more about the problem, why it hasn’t been solved, and what you can do, please spend 45 minutes watching the new movie “Immiscible.” Then check out this 35-minute video from Oil & Water Don’t Mix narrated by For Love of Water (FLOW) executive director Liz Kirkwood and Michigan Sierra Club chair David Holtz.

Larry Bell, owner of Bell’s Brewery, and Jeffrey Insko, local homeowner, discuss how Enbridge treated the neighborhood when Line 6B ruined the Kalamazoo River seven years ago.

How do you feel about Gerrymandering?

How Gerrymandering works

How Gerrymandering works. Click to enlarge. Visit our Gerrymandering page for an explanation of how it works right here in our neighborhood.

See our Gerrymandering page.

  • League of Women Voters of Michigan has information, a position statement, and resource material about redistricting in Michigan.
  • Jon Hoadley, State Representative from Kalamazoo, and 35th District Representative Jeremy Moss have introduced a bill that would take redistricting out of the hands of legislators. Tell your Representative to support the bill. State legislators’ contact info here.
  • Join Rep. Hoadley and his co-sponsor Rep. Jerry Moss as a citizen co-sponsor.
  • Get in on Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s Citizen Lobby Day and talk face-to-face with your State Representative and State Senator.
  • Count MI Vote is working on it. They have a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.
  • Voters Not Politicians is on the case, too. They’re working on a ballot initiative. Visit their website and Facebook page.




Craig Brainard | Ben Brown | Bruce Brown | Brian Burroughs | Eric Carrell | Mary Colborn | Jim Ferner | David Holtz | Jennifer McGregor | Paul Pancella | Mary Ann Renz | Hillary Rettig | “Sum1Else


Clean Energy | Conservation | Climate Change and Global Warming | Driving Electric | Fracking | Enbridge Line 5 beneath the Straits of Mackinac | Nuclear Energy and Palisades | Safe Streets | Solar Power | The Fracking Linkletter Archive | Tiny House | Veganism

More blog posts coming, including yours.

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Important news…

From our Environmental News page

  • Exploring for oil beneath Kalamazoo County’s Scotts Mill Park.
  • Rep. Fred Upton joins U.S. House Climate Solutions Caucus.
  • Bridge magazine’s website introduces new “Michigan Environment Watch” page.
  • Cleanup money for Michigan’s 7,300 toxic waste sites is almost used up.
  • MDEQ suing Wolverine for Kent County contamination.
  • “State of the Great Lakes” report released.
  • Flood-prone toxic Superfund sites in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.
  • Latest updates on Osceola Township versus Nestlé.
  • New preserve coming to Portage.
  • Michigan falling to third place in EV production?
  • Study says Michigan utility savings mostly benefit wealthier customers.
  • GM announces driverless version of its all-electric Chevy Bolt.
  • Meijer to test electric semi-trucks.
  • Michigan lawmakers vote to weaken law that keeps ships from releasing untreated ballast water in Michigan waters.

On Enbridge Line 5 and other Michigan pipeline issues

Our Michigan Pipeline news page has all the latest on the movement to shut down Line 5, including the studies and the political maneuvering, and info about the Rover and Nexus pipelines and their encroachment in Southeast Michigan.

On Palisades

On Flint

Two years and counting: Flint’s water problem has faded from the mainstream headlines, but the problem is far from solved, and new developments arise daily. Follow Michigan Chapter’s Flint Water Disaster page for the latest information.