Last month, a surprisingly large number of people showed up at a remote northern Michigan park to rally against something that, weeks earlier, few of them had ever heard about: the twin, 60-year-old pipelines that transport 22 million gallons of oil a day beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Attracting a crowd to a distant location for a rally about a largely unknown pipeline is impressive; so is reviving a moribund organization to produce the event in just six weeks.
On July 14, about 400 people gathered at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge and listened as speakers warned about the aging oil pipeline that lies west of the bridge, beneath the Straits of Mackinac’s sparkling, cobalt-blue waters.
Organizers are rallying at Bridge View Park in St. Ignace to warn that there’s a 60-year-old oil pipeline beneath the Straits, operated by the same company responsible for the Kalamazoo pipeline oil spill, and that it’s putting the Great Lakes ecosystem at serious risk.
On June 25, President Barack Obama stepped up to the podium at Georgetown University, and truly stepped up to the plate on climate change, wowing even the most ardent and committed advocates with his remarkably frank comments about global warming-and what he will do about it.
Fifty-six people. 27 students. 30 hours round-trip on a cramped bus. Four hours standing on the National Mall in frigid temps followed by a march to the White House. That’s what democracy looks like. It’s not always comfortable, but it sure is inspiring. On Saturday Feb. 16, I joined 55 other people on a bus in Traverse City headed for Washington D.C. to march in what was to be the largest climate rally ever held in the United States.
Wherever one goes in Copenhagen’s Bella Center there are young people gathered, sharing their stories and concerns and making plans to keep in touch once this conference is over.