We have a moral obligation to protect our environment. We cannot be the last generation to enjoy Michigan’s beautiful nature and leave our children and future generations to struggle with constant major disruptions in their lives from heat waves, hurricanes, floods and droughts. We must act now to stop the “business as usual” environmental practices.
Christine is dedicated to finding real solutions to address Climate Change, grow our economy for long-term prosperity and keep the “pure” in Pure Michigan.
At a recent climate summit, the President remarked “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it.” The debate has long been over, and we are seeing the weather extremes predicted by the climate models in front of our eyes every day. 2014 and 2015 are the warmest years on record, and the destabilization of our climate is destructive particularly to Michigan. Extreme weather events will kill Michigan crops; a warming climate will lower water levels in our lakes; higher temperatures will shorten the season for winter sports and recreation; unless we act, the effects of climate change will significantly impair Michigan’s economy and ecology.
Finding Clean Energy Solutions
In addition to the destabilizing effects fossil fuels have on the climate, they also cause direct harm to human health. Burning fossil fuels releases toxins such as mercury, carbon monoxide, and sulfur oxides.
This crisis brings opportunity. Adapting to and mitigating climate change requires technology, manufacturing, and engineering expertise that is plentiful in Michigan. From wind turbines to solar panels to advanced batteries to electric cars, we have the ability to create those jobs here in Michigan. Christine supports policies and programs that encourage these solutions.
The shift to greener technologies is inevitable and according to the New York Times, nearly two dozen of the largest corporations, including five oil companies, have already started planning for carbon pricing and are making the transition to cleaner, greener technologies. These businesses see the necessity and inevitability and would rather get ahead of the crisis and make profit through innovation over exploitation.
Protecting our Waters
Christine has introduced legislation to phase out the use of plastic microbeads. These small plastic beads are used in some personal care products including certain toothpastes and soaps. Microbeads enter aquatic ecosystems where they are often eaten by aquatic animals. This introduces toxins to the food web harming Michigan’s commercial and leisure fishing. Fortunately, microbeads can easily be replaced by more environmentally friendly alternatives.
Moving forward Christine also plans to support legislation that will reduce the use of disposable plastic bags which present similar hazards to aquatic ecosystems.
Communities most affected by environmental crises are disproportionately minority and low-income communities, and the issues affecting these communities are often ignored by those in power. This has been demonstrated in the Flint water crisis, Marathon Oil refinery emissions, and Southfield oil drilling. In spite of complaints from Flint residents, it took over a year for the governor and the department of environmental quality to enter the conversation on the ongoing crisis. We must be more attentive to prevent crises; and when they do occur, we can never ignore the voices of the people directly affected.