We’re working on environmental issues in Southwest Michigan. We need your help!
Here’s how you can get started: Come to our meetings and bring your ideas.
We meet at 6:00 PM the first Wednesday of every month at Friends Meeting House, 508 Denner Street, Kalamazoo. Members and guests are welcome. If you’re interested in what the Sierra Club is doing in Southwest Michigan and how you can help, please visit our next meeting, ask questions, get to know us.
Coming to our monthly meetings is the best way to start getting involved with our work. Find out what we’re working on. Volunteer to help with whatever project grabs your interest. Most of all, bring us your own ideas and inspirations.
Volunteers must provide the following:
No experience necessary. Plenty of on-the-job training is available!
What we’ve been doing lately.
WOW! Ben Brown and his crew of SWMG and Kalamazoo Electric Vehicle Association volunteers put on the very best Drive Electric Week ever, anywhere!
We expanded our celebration of plug-in electric electric cars to three programs this year. Besides our usual show in Kalamazoo, we also went to Hastings and South Haven. Dozens of EV owners showed off their cars and explained why driving electric is clean, affordable, and fun! Visit our Southwest Michigan Drive Electric Week page for a full report.
Fracking coming to Barry County? Craig Brainard says, “Don’t Frack Up Our Future!”
On July 3, Sierra Club fractivist Craig Brainard learned that a Texas company had asked Michigan DEQ for a permit to drill Barry County’s first fracking well. Craig immediately scheduled an appearance of his “Don’t Frack Up Our Future” program at the Hastings Library for Saturday, July 15. Craig has made his presentation in dozens of Michigan cities and town over the past few years. This was his first showing in Hastings, his hometown. The proposed well would be about six miles from Craig’s home.
The Hastings Banner promoted Craig’s show in their July 13 edition. Fox-17 filmed the afternoon event and interviewed Craig for that evening’s Ten O’Clock News. Click here to read their report and watch the video. You can see WWMT Channel 3’s video and read their report here.
As Craig was gearing up for his presentation, fellow fractivist Jackie Schmitz was going door-to-door warning her neighbors and collecting signatures for the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan. The organization hopes to put a legislative initiative on the Michigan ballot. If they succeed, Michigan voters could agree with Craig and tell Michigan legislators, “Don’t frack up our future!”
We learned what to keep an eye on as Palisades nuclear plant moves toward shutdown and decommissioning.
Bette Pierman, Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group Executive Committee member and Michigan Safe Energy Future, co-founder organized a program on what to expect as Palisades undergoes shutdown and decommissioning. Activist Chris Williams shared what he’s learned from watching Entergy’s decommissioning work at its Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Beyond Nuclear, of Takoma Park, Maryland, and nuclear activism organization Don’t Waste Michigan sponsored the program along with MSEF and SWMG. Rebecca Thiele of WMUK was on hand for the July 13 program at the South Haven campus of Lake Michigan College. Click here to see her report.
Among the key points Williams made:
- The people of Vermont formed an independent panel of Vermont citizens, state and local agencies and authorities, news media, interested organizations, and workers and companies involved in decommissioning at Vermont Yankee. The panel meets regularly to communicate with one another and to keep the public aware of the process and its progress. Williams said it was crucial that a similar panel be established to assure accountability at Palisades.
- The decommissioning program’s financial aspects, such as available funds, budget considerations, and the temptation to save money by cutting corners will require special attention. Right now, Entergy is obligated to completely finance the decommissioning. If Entergy sells the plant to a decommissioning company, the transaction must not push any of this cost onto the Michigan public. Cleanup estimates at Vermont Yankee exceed a billion dollars. The Palisades decommissioning fund has only $427 million.
- Short-term and long-term plans for safe handling of the high-level nuclear waste that Palisades has been producing for more than 45 years will be critical.
Our Think Outside the (Plastic) Bottle campaign kicked off with a free showing of “Tapped” at the Portage Library.
Guests at our free June 28 showing of the movie “Tapped” learned about communities that have fought, won, and lost battles against the mega-corporations that exploit community water supplies to produce grossly overpriced and overhyped convenience in plastic bottles that we throw away without thinking.
Those who signed a pledge to stop buying water in disposable plastic got a free Sierra Club stainless steel bottle!
- You can watch “Tapped” online for free.
- You can see the PDF version of the slideshow that was part of our program.
- Please see our blog post on bottled water.
Then we had a repeat showing of “Tapped” at the Parchment library and gave away more free stainless steel Sierra Club water bottles! Contact us if you’re interested in sponsoring a showing.
Tim Tesar’s Birding Excursions
Tim Tesar is a birder, a photographer, an environmentalist, a climate-activist, and a member of Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group and Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
“Of course, my main concern about climate change,” said Tim, “is the threat it poses to humans. But I also am a nature lover and thus also worry about the threat to animal and plant life. Since I am a birder, I am especially concerned about birds.
“I hope seeing the beauty of these birds will further inspire you to work to mitigate climate change.”
Photos in the two slideshows below © copyright Timon Tesar. Used by permission.