Activism by Southwest Michigan Group Sierra Club Members: Jim Ferner Working in the Streets

Jim Ferner of Kalamazoo has been busy on several activism projects that coincide with Sierra Club goals.

Safe Streets

Jim is working with several local organizations and fellow activists on the “Safe Streets” campaign to convince MDOT and the City of Kalamazoo that local traffic patterns need to be redesigned so that they are safer, more convenient and accessible for all users, not just drivers. Check out Jim’s Safe Streets blog posts.

Jim Ferner woring for bike lanesThe one-way streets feeding downtown—West Main St., Michigan and Kalamazoo Avenues—along with Stadium Drive are designed as commuter routes to get cars through downtown with little concern for the safety of other users. One-way streets also encourage cut-through traffic in neighborhoods. Creating safer streets and facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and people taking transit allow all of us to feel safer.

Safer streets encourage us to use other options of getting around, reduce our dependence on cars, improve our health, and benefit the environment. Two-way tree-lined boulevards slow traffic, are more efficient, and improve the local economy as shown in examples from around the state, this country and the world.

Fewer cars? Lower exhaust emissions? More walking and bicycling? More trees? The Earth says, “Yes!”

Here’s a video by Mark Lakeman, who was the special guest at a recent event Jim helped organize at the Westwood Neighborhood Association.

  • “What good is freedom to assemble if there’s no place to assemble?”
  • “If you think it’s too late to fix things, maybe you haven’t talked with second-grade girls who don’t yet believe that things are not possible.”
  • “Our patterns are laid out more for profits than for anything else.”
  • “When we look each other in the eye, the village begins to regenerate again.”

Jim is also an advocate for veganism.

Getting our protein from plants is many times more efficient and healthier for us than eating animals. It lowers agriculture’s carbon footprint, allows more land to be reforested, conserves water and reduces methane and manure from animal agriculture. Again, the Earth says, “Yes!”

As Vice-Chair of the Westwood Neighborhood Association, Jim helps coordinate Earth-centric events in  the Westwood Community Room.

The Westwood Community Room is behind the Westwood fire hall at 1310 Nichols Road, Kalamazoo. The public is welcome at the March 27 and April 17 events, and admission is free.

On Friday, March 27, Jim will introduce Mark Lakeman to the community. Lakeman has worked for years helping people empower their lives by exercising democracy through urban connections and cooperation. More information is available on the SWMG calendar, or you can email Jim or call him at 269-382-4460.

Jim also is planning a Westwood Neighborhood Association Earth Day celebration for Friday, April 17. The Sierra Club and other groups will be there with info on alternative energy, permaculture, energy efficiency measures, and similar topics. Metro Transit will be there, showing off their new hybrid electric bus in the parking lot.