To do my part in fighting the threat to our planet, I guard against my own rationalizations, and I make sure I repay what I owe to the Earth. So can you. Here’s how.

What I Owe the Earth

What I owe the Earth

“What I owe the Earth” by Ben Brown

Does what I do really matter? I’m just me! How much difference can I make? And, anyway, what debt do I owe to the planet?

Today we face a life-destroying threat, a danger more serious than the asteroid impact blamed for killing off so much life 65 million years ago. Most of us who recognize today’s threat blame a collection of forces beyond our control. I contend that the responsibility falls on all of us – you and me – individually. The longer we believe the current story being fed us, that our individual actions matter little, the more likely our destruction becomes.

Don’t fall for the idea that it’s them. It’s us. We all matter, and what each of us does today creates the future.

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War On Climate Change?

Should World War III really be a war on climate change?

Fred Upton opposes the war on climate change.

Pooh-pooher and ditherer-in-chief Fred Upton has opted out of the war on climate change. In 2009, he called climate change a “serious problem.” As the Union of Concerned Scientists points out, now that Upton heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is getting lobbied by – and getting campaign support from – the likes of Exxon and other fossil fuel giants, Upton says the opposite. He is not entitled to his counterfactual opinion. (Photo from Upton Website.)

Climate change? What climate change? I don’t believe it. It’s all a big hoax!

All our lives we’ve heard that “everyone is entitled to their opinion.” Well, not always. No one is entitled to a counterfactual opinion.

When satellite photos and people on the ground see that our polar icecaps are melting and lakes are forming in Antarctica, no one is entitled to the “opinion” that the Earth’s polar ice is not melting. When we see islands disappearing and people fleeing the coasts, no one is entitled to the “opinion” that sea levels aren’t rising. If icecaps are melting and sea levels are rising, no one is entitled to the “opinion” that the Earth is not warming. Rolling Stone, in a report that doesn’t mention melting ice and rising seas but points at floods, droughts, wildfires, and science, says climate change is here. What more do we need? An open letter signed by 375 of the nation’s top scientists, including 30 Nobel Laureates? Well, here it is. The first sentence, says “Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality.”Read more

The Fracking Linkletter © – Final Push for Signatures

Hello, Friends –


With just 17 days left to reach our signature goal for the Ban Fracking Initiative, it’s time for our utmost effort. We need all hands engaged, all minds focused.

Resolve to collect an extra 100 or 200 signatures, or to spend an hour or two hours every day petitioning; whatever works best for you. Seek out the places where people gather, and get their signatures.

The Fracking Linkletter © - Earth Week, by Craig Brainard

The Fracking Linkletter © – Final Push for Signatures, by Craig Brainard

Because the truth is this: we cannot collect too many signatures, only too few. And too few would render useless all the hard work of you and every other concerned person who has contributed to this campaign.

Logistics: May 25th is the last day to mail petitions to CBFM, at the address on each petition. Signatures gathered after the 25th will need to be turned in to your coordinator, or at special collection centers in Ann Arbor, Charlevoix, Flint, Grand Rapids or Waterford. Your coordinator should have information on that.

Make sure each sheet is signed and dated by you.

Everyday places like outside post offices, coffee houses, and libraries are great places to petition. Also, farmer’s markets, concerts, sporting events, fairs, festivals, art fairs, runs and races, and school events. For a list of events around the state, go to:

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The Fracking Linkletter © – Dear President Obama, the movie

Hello again, Friends


Recently I was doing something I never do: cruising the channels on the Dish. Through sheer happenstance, I ran across a new documentary about fracking. It was called Dear President Obama. I managed to record most of it for repeated viewing.

The Fracking Linkletter © - Earth Week, by Craig Brainard

The Fracking Linkletter © by Craig Brainard – Dear President Obama, the movie

Capably narrated by Mark Ruffalo, the film travels across the USA, talking with fracking’s neighbors, workers, and victims, as well as scientists, experts and activists. It presents video of leaky gas wells set next to schools; waste disposal and earthquakes; people whose lives, property, and communities have all been destroyed by fracking’s proximity. From North Dakota to Louisiana, Texas to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, and California: the details differ, but the story is the same. The oil and gas industry do what they want, where they want; and their collateral damage (the victims) are left to pick up the pieces.

But all is not doom and gloom. There is also a triumphant telling of New York’s rejection of fracking, The People’s Climate March, and a lengthy celebration of the advances and promise of the Clean Energy Revolution.
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The Fracking Linkletter © – Down to the Wire

Hello, Friends-


The Ban Fracking Initiative campaign has entered its last 4 weeks. No reprieves, no extensions; make it or break it.

This is the best opportunity we’ve ever had, and may be the last opportunity we ever get, to stop horizontal fracking and frack waste disposal in Michigan.

The Fracking Linkletter © - Earth Week, by Craig Brainard

The Fracking Linkletter – Down to the Wire, by Craig Brainard

The Michigan Legislature, realizing that their abortive attempt to close the door on our campaign was unconstitutional, have put off further discussion until after the election. The Board of Canvassers, though still non-committal, will be forced to accept our signature submissions on June 1st.Now we just need to deliver enough signatures to put us over the top.

If you’ve been out getting signatures all along, again we thank you, and urge you to redouble your efforts.

If you’ve been waiting to get involved, go to, click Volunteer, take the quick training, and get down to business. We’ve got no time to waste.

If every person reading this were to collect just 10 signatures a day, every day, for the next 30 days, we would make our goal with room to spare.

Two things to remember. 1) Voters cannot sign twice; that would nullify both signatures. And 2) Send in your signatures every week, get new petition sheets, and get back out there. We cannot wait for the last minute to process all the signatures.

You will receive special instructions for the last week. Stay tuned.

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The Fracking Linkletter © – Earth Week

Hello, Friends-


“Dearly Beloved: We are gathered here together to help each other make it through this thing called Life.” RIP, Prince.
Last week I called Earth Week, “the year’s biggest week in environmentalism.” And that’s true.
But this week has also marked a pair of the worst environmental disasters in history.

The Fracking Linkletter © - Earth Week, by Craig Brainard

The Fracking Linkletter© – Earth Week, by Craig Brainard

Case in point: It was 30 years ago this week, on April 26, 1986, that a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine (then the Ukraine SSR), exploded and burned, covering Europe, to as far away as Ireland, with a blanket of radioactive isotopes. As a result, hundreds of thousands of creatures have died or been sickened since that day. There still exists a 38-mile-wide ‘exclusion zone” around the site, too hot to visit for more than a few hours, which may be unfit for human habitation for hundreds or thousands of years. More:
Then, six years ago, there occurred another “worst.” The Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire, on April 20, 2010, resulted in a flood of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. Millions of fish, shellfish, birds, turtles, and marine mammals have died as a result, as well as at least 11 humans. Still today, a layer of tarry oil covers at least 1200 square miles on the floor of the Gulf, and life is forever changed for residents of five states. Here’s the link for that:
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The Fracking Linkletter © – Earth Day 2016

Hello again, Friends-


Earth Day 2016The year’s biggest week in environmentalism starts tomorrow: Earth Week! This perennial celebration is the sparkling opportunity for us all to get outside and (hopefully) soak up some spring sunshine, to renew our eternal love affair with Mother Earth, and to prove that love by doing something meaningful. Something that will ensure that her beneficence will continue to be lavished on our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren, ad infinitum.
(Here’s a reminder of her beauty, with some quotes from John Muir, who would be 178 years old on April 21st: )

fracking ban ballot initiative

The Fracking Linkletter© – Earth Day 2016, by Craig Brainard

If you’re free on Sunday, the 17th, you might want to make a pilgrimage to Ann Arbor, where Earth Day began way back in 1970, with the first of some 12,000 events around the country, involving over 20 million Americans. Carry on that tradition this year at:

There are a multitude of other events coming up for Earth Week and beyond. Here are lists of some of them:

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The Fracking Linkletter© – CALLING ALL FRACTIVISTS

Hello, Friends-


CALLING ALL FRACTIVISTS: The effort to end horizontal fracking and frack-waste disposal in Michigan goes on. Signatures will continue to be collected until the end of May, just eight more weeks. The time to step up your game is NOW!

fracking ban ballot initiative

The Fracking Linkletter©, by Craig Brainard

Events around Earth Day and Earth Week will provide numerous opportunities to gather signatures, and Farmers Markets all over the state will be opening soon. With the coming of warm spring weather, citizens will be flocking to all kinds of outdoor activities, and remembering why they love Pure Michigan. Let’s take advantage of that.

The current Ban Fracking Initiative is the best opportunity we’ve ever had, and may be the last opportunity we ever get, to put the question of fracking and frack waste disposal before the voters of Michigan. Voters want, and deserve, the chance to answer that question. Only our concerted efforts can give them that chance.

If you’ve already been collecting signatures, THANK YOU, and please redouble your efforts. If you’ve been meaning to get involved, but haven’t got there yet, the time is now.Read more

The Fracking Linkletter© – The Times They Are A’Changin’ – Part III

Hello, Friends –

(The third of three essays with the same title, but different subjects.)

Once again last year was the hottest year on record. Again, this year looks to be hotter still. We just finished the warmest winter on record, with the warmest February by a shockingly large margin. Our planet’s Arctic regions were at times as much as 30 degrees above normal temps this entire winter. Not surprisingly, that led to the smallest winter icepack in recorded history.

fracking ban ballot initiative

The Fracking Linkletter©, by Craig Brainard

The thirteen hottest years on record have all occurred in the last fifteen years, and that statistic has been true for every one of the last 30 years. No person born since 1977 has ever experienced a winter colder than the 20th century average.

This winter’s record El Nino Pacific warming event is still hanging on, practically guaranteeing we’ll have an incendiary summer, with heat waves, droughts, and widespread wildfires. Our climate is going off the rails, friends, and it’s happening with a speed we never thought possible.

The single silver lining to this dark cloud is that it is becoming impossible to ignore the gathering proof of global warming caused by our continued burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and methane). Even Americans are beginning to grasp the urgency of moving to clean energy, on all fronts, with all possible speed.

The idea that we can’t afford to make the energy change is being disproven every day. Building the clean, green infrastructure we need will be a tremendous boost to our economy, and will deliver public health benefits so huge it is almost impossible to calculate them. What we cannot afford is to continue dragging our feet and delaying, daily poisoning our world even more.

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The Fracking Linkletter© – The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Part II

Hello, Friends-

(Second of three essays with the same title, but different subjects.)

Nine days ago, I woke up to a robin singing in the pine tree outside my bedroom window. How sweet and pleasant; I just closed my eyes and reveled in it. I hadn’t even realized how much I missed it, since September or October at least.

fracking ban ballot initiative

The Fracking Linkletter©, by Craig Brainard

Spring came to rural Barry County the first week of March this year, a bit early. A five-day stretch of 50- and 60-degree temperatures disappeared our snowpack. The runoff combined with a little rain to fill the local vernal pools.

The first harbingers were the sandhill cranes and the Canada geese, stopping over briefly on their northward journey, to glean a second harvest in nearby corn and bean fields. My farmer neighbors are nice that way, leaving an occasional row of crop to feed the winter deer and the spring travelers.

A week later, the blackbirds appeared; swarms of grackles and starlings hundreds strong, picking the yard for seeds and early-emergent insects and worms. Migrant mallards showed up in the vernal pools. The robins and the red-wing blackbirds came next, some to stay. Soon it will be the sparrows and finches and the whole glorious panoply of songbirds, who make the spring soundscape a riot of joyful noise.

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