Creating awareness environmental threats takes more than a day

This month, as weather warms and spring arrives, Michiganders begin to think about heading outdoors. As we do so, it’s important to remember there is still fierce debate going on — in the Michigan Legislature and at the federal level — on how best to protect the environment for future generations.

Here (below) is a collection of viewpoints from local activists, advocates and environmentalists who offer solutions to some of the most significant environmental issues facing us today.

Michigan forests offer solutions to climate change

Richard Kobe

Curbing greenhouse gas emissions that hasten global climate change is an all-hands-on-deck, global undertaking, and each jurisdiction — including Michigan — must do its part, in earnest. The state promised a vision and a plan to do just that, but the draft Michigan Healthy Climate Plan released in January misses the mark. Although the plan includes many good ideas — particularly related to energy and transportation — it leaves out powerful forest sector solutions essential to Michigan’s achievement of our goal for carbon neutrality by 2050.

Michigan forests, urban trees and harvested wood products remove 10 percent — and store the equivalent of 37 years — of all CO2 emissions produced here. By improving forest management practices, planting more trees, restoring forests and using climate-beneficial wood products, forestry’s contribution to global climate change solutions could increase substantially.

Sandra Lupie

The federal government is leveraging forests, forest practices and forest products as a major thrust of its climate policy: the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a $1 billion program for forestry and agriculture-based climate solutions to move markets towards ‘climate-smart’ food and wood products in ways that contribute to clean air and water, benefit public health and create new jobs in both rural and urban areas.

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