Michigan

Often on a hot summer festival day, I'd hear a friend sigh, "I wish we could go swimming," gesturing towards the Kalamazoo River. I'd laugh and say "No one goes swimming in the Kalamazoo River unless they want to grow an extra limb or eye." I repeated this phrase frequently to my out-of-state Kalamazoo College friends walking by the river beneath Kalamazoo Valley Museum, but I didn't fully understand the origins of the toxicity until very recently.

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MSU Resolution

In case you were wondering, MI students are among the thousands nationwide that want to contribute to a moral shift that must take place in order to end the power that fossil fuel companies have to bend policy and politicians to their will. Many MI students have joined up with 350.org’s national campaign to get our local institutions (like campuses) to stop investing their money in fossil fuel companies. By getting university endowments to take their money out of fossil fuels, students hope that this will send a message that the people no longer find it acceptable to fund, or be funded by, corporations that are destroying our climate and planet with little regard for human rights. So far we have campaigns launched at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, with campaigns at several other schools in the works.

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There’s one vote on climate and clean energy this election that’s pretty clear and simple: Michigan’s renewable energy ballot initiative, Proposition 3. And right now, it needs our help.

Prop 3 is being called “the most important clean-energy vote this year” because it would substantially boost the state’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and help further develop Michigan’s clean energy economy, bringing much needed jobs to the state.

Not surprisingly (but still outrageously), dirty energy utilities and fossil fuel-funded front groups are spending million of dollars to defeat Prop 3, running misleading Ads, producing faulty reports and spreading disinformation about the initiative. And it’s not just from in-state utilities, Canadian pipeline company Enbridge, which dumped nearly 1 million gallons into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010 and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (a coal industry front group) also contributed to the campaign to defeat Proposition 3.

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This fall, students in Michigan have been participating in the Power Vote campaign and collecting "Clean Energy Champion" student pledges to vote for Clean Energy. Here is an update for our activities during the Power Vote Day of Action. Students collected pledges on the campuses of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, and handed out facts about corporate polluters to students passing by. This day also coincided with the release of NWF's Student Guide to How Corporate Oil, Gas, and Coal Money Influences US Energy Policy, which is where we got our facts from. Overall this was a great day of solidarity and action in Michigan and across the nation. Read below to learn more about how we did!

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Congressman Conyers with students from Students for a Sustainable Earth and Dele Mr.d.Bakery Akinpelu in Detroit last week.

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