To escape the sometimes-suffocating walls of the pandemic, we walk. Mother in her Tilley hat, me with a camera, arm-in-arm, we find joy and adventure exploring the parks in Holland.
A favorite is less than a mile from her home. No matter how often we visit, we marvel at the giant girth and height of the trees, the vast array of colors and shapes of the leaves, the hilarious antics of the squirrels, and the miracle that such a park could exist in the middle of a Holland neighborhood.
Prospect Park, a 7.5-acre parcel of land, was purchased in 1901 by eight citizens determined to restore trees decimated by the fire of 1871. Led by Arend Visscher, an alumnus of Hope College and the University of Michigan Law School, the group pooled energy and resources to purchase the land for $1,830, plant a forest and sell the parcel to the city six years later for $1.
The park is a reminder. We, the people, shape the future of our communities.
I asked author and environmental advocate Dave Dempsey and Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, to recount stories from Michigan’s past, when the state was considered a leader in environmental protection.
The stories are profiles in personal and political courage.
Dave, who has authored a number of books on Michigan’s environment, including Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation Leader, is quick to point out that it is the people who historically have organized and pushed the politicians to do the right thing, not the other way around.
We provide the political will necessary for decisions that balance the health of the economy with the health of the people—all people—and the planet.
This November, we must elect politicians who have courage to do the right thing, who inspire, people like those described in this video on environmental leadership: Genevieve Gillette, Governor Chase Osborn (R), Governor William Milliken (R), Representative Thomas Jefferson Anderson (D), Senator Lana Pollack (D), and Senator Patty Birkholz (R).
People like the Holland eight.
This November, it is time to remove the most anti-environment president in history. President Donald Trump has rolled back almost 100 environmental protections including the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule; withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, turning a blind eye to the single greatest environmental threat to the planet; oversaw an unprecedented rollback of protections for national monuments like Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase; appointed fossil fuel-industry lobbyists to oversee critical environmental agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior; stacked the courts with anti-environmental judges; and refused to address the social and environmental injustices putting the health of so many people in our country at risk.
It is time for new leadership in the White House.
to Dave Dempsey and Lisa Wozniak,
and all leaders with the courage to balance the health of the economy with the health of the people and the planet,
Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg
whose presence on the Supreme Court and on this earth
will be sorely missed.
May we all have her strength and courage.
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