Michigan, and its neighbors Indiana and Ohio sit at the forefront of the recession. Once the cornerstone of American manufacturing, the drop in U.S. based auto manufacturing has left thousands unemployed in the Midwest and the Millennial generation in search of an economic future. In the Midwest where unemployment hovers at 15% in Michigan – the highest jobless rate since early 1983 – combined with a growing national trend of jobless young people, emphasized by the Labor Dept.’s report that the employment rate of 16-to-24 year olds has eroded to 46.6 percent — the lowest ratio of working young Americans in that age group, including all but those in the military, since WWII, it is time for us as young people to chart a new economic path, we must Define the Decade for the auto states as the decade we become the clean energy manufacturing states.
The potential of the green economy in the Midwest cannot be overstated – it could revitalize our economy while maintaining environmental equity, thus sustaining future generations. Closed auto plants could be retrofitted to pump out solar panels, wind turbines and advanced transportation to power the new clean energy United States economy. However, the fossil fuel industry led by forces trying to push through 8 coal-fired power plants in Michigan have led major marketing and public relations campaigns, to win over the jobless with the promise of job security through building more fossil fuel based infrastructure. This being the case, public opinion and commitment to building the green economy will deepen only once people can see, participate in, and benefit from concrete community-based energy solutions. So this must be our focus as we dive head first into 2010 and a new decade.
Let’s Get Started, from Campus to Congress – Join a Call w/ our Senators, Tuesday Feb 16th at 3 PM
Tuesday, February 16th at 3 pm we have our first opportunity to demonstrate our leadership and ask our Senators to follow our lead. A conference call has been set-up for young leaders from across the state to talk with Senator Levin and Stabenow’s aides. We’ll have the opportunity to speak to our work, the aides will give us updates from Washington, DC and then we’ll open it up for discussion and questions.
To join the 2010 Campus to Senate Call: Dial (712) 432-3100, and enter passcode 253385#
To submit a question in advance to the Senators, email firstname.lastname@example.org
How Do We Want to Define The Next Decade for Michigan
But we can’t wait on Washington to bring about the clean energy revolution. That’s why when students at Michigan State University learned that the MSU coal plant was in violation of it’s air permit, we requested a public hearing with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. This is another great opportunity for us to emphasize that we want a just transition away from dirty energy that quits polluting our communities and creates new economic opportunity.
We are excited to use the MSU coal plant hearing to kick off the Define Our Decade discussions in Michigan – throughout March, across Michigan and the rest of the country, the movement will be engaging in a dialogue about how we — the Millenial Generation — wants to define our decade. We’ll be offering our own communities visions and solutions, and collectively setting the course for the national movement. This is a really exciting initiative that you want to be a part of.
Join us at Michigan State University to kick off the discussion, and join the hearing about the MSU Coal Plant. We are going to have a community wide discussion w/ representatives of MSY’s Facilities, Administration, Faculty and Student Body on the evening of 24th, and prep to submit student testimony for the Coal Plant Hearing on the morning of the 25th. To learn more, click here, or contact Casey McKeel for more info.
And join the action in your own community – get started and register an event of your own during the Define Our Decade Weeks of Action, March 15th-26th.
Making Our Dreams a Reality, Translating Words to Action
Following-up on the Coal Plant Hearing and Define Our Decade events across Michigan, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to gather to make our voices and vision heard. There’s the Urban Green Summit featuring Van Jones and young leaders in late March. And then in early April, we’ll join other youth networks across the Midwest, and Focus the Nation and the Will Steger Foundation to host youth forums with elected representatives, delivering our vision for the region and demonstrating our political power.
And this summer, we’ll have opportunities to get our hands dirty in the actual building of a green economy and sustainable solutions. Keep an eye out for more information on the Green Brigade, and how we’ll engage with Energy Action Coalition’s summer program.
It’s exciting to not only be advocating for green revitalization in the Midwest, but to be actively contributing to building it. The green economy can be the solution to economic revitalization in the Midwest, but no one yet has created the road map to get us there. We need to advocate for the most effective policies, but most of all, we need to pick up tools and actively start building the green economy.
We hope you’ll join us!