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E-M:/ Retransmit burnout piece
Enviro-Mich message from email@example.com
Because of the malfunction of email transmission
on Enviro-Mich last week, I am retransmitting this
piece, since some have said they did not receive it.
>What on earth is going on?
>With all the environmentally destructive BS going down just here in
>Michigan (not to mention the rest of the country & world) it's no wonder
>we all seem to be continually burnt-out. I think we need to recruit an
>Enviro-Militia after reading Wendy Tobler's post "Say yes to Michigan's
>Polluters" - and now this...
What is going on, you say.....???? ..
IT'S A WAR......
And it is against you, the keepers-of-the-faith, the guardians, the watchdogs,
the student activists, the conservationist, the public servants....
......all the current generational lineage of all who are here to
protect the Michigan we love and who are keepers of Michigan's traditions
of environmental protection, conservation and public health
You must remember that much of our modern-day national
environmental movement was born in Michigan.
Now if you are among the goons at the Competititive Enterprise Institute, the
Mackinac Center or the Heritage Foundation, you can't let common Michigan
folk believe that their traditions in protection the state we love are
them everything we've done for the last 40 years is wrong.....we can't let
Michigan environmental protection spirit spread elsewhere!!!
So, yes, they are trying to burn you out, demoralize you, "committee you to
death", ignore you, etc. etc. The "they" of course is John Engler and the
top management layers up at MDEQ and MDNR and the Jobs Commission
bureaucracy that Engler built, and the State Chamber of Commerce, the
Michigan Manufacturing Association, the Michigan Oil and Gas Association,
the Michigan Realtors and all of the other "Lansing insiders"
who run rampant these days....
Here are Sagady's prescriptions against Michigan environmental/conservation
"burnout".... guarenteed effective!!!
1. Stop worrying about burnout... and no wining!!! Start stoking "fire
in the belly" and
turn off any "emergency core cooling systems." Angry??? Redirect those
tough feelings into action,
creativity, writing, advocacy, research, issue and organizational
practicing politics as a participant sport
2. Go pick on someone 5000 times your size!!! Like your largest local
figure out what the most important, high impact issues are and then work them,
engage and intensify participation!!.
3. Persistence, and persistence alone, is omnipotent!!
4. Stop trying to work on everything. Work on only 1-2 of the most important
issues to you, your family and community. Focus is essential to winning.
Failure to set priorities means failure at the end.
5. Redefine all environmental, public health and conservation issues into terms
relating to children, families, community, heritage.
6. Lee Atwater was right!! Pay attention to building the "big tent" with
outreach to folks in different racial, ethnic and economic groups that you have
not usually worked with in the past.
7. Don't let outsiders (i.e. Greenpeace) define your issues for you,
Michigan activists!!! You
decide what is important!!! Make our Michigan issues more important than even
national issues in your organizational and individual activism. Remember that
the strength of Michigan environmental policy once led the nation!!
8. Grab on to your issue and don't let go!! Like the Gila Monster, the
lizard of the Southwest Desert that won't let go, bite down on the opposition
until you make it hurt!! One of the best examples of this philosophy is
of the Huron Environmental Activist League up in Alpena against Lafarge
Corporation. HEAL won't let go and the bite is going to be felt all the way
to Paris by the time hazardous waste burning ends up there.
9. Learn it, do it, teach it!!! Take on a mentor, or search one out.
10. Spend a lot of time, energy and trouble to make all of your messages simple
and easy to understand. Always be prepared to explain your issue in extremely
brief talking points, sound bites, etc. You should be able to explain your
in capsule summary in as little as 15 seconds of speech and imagery for
electronic media consumption. On paper, you should be able to articulate your
issue in one page of talking points, one side, triple spaced. Get it down to
eight grade level of language to make it easy to understand.
11. Always take some time off from time to time to swim in the lakes, hunt the
game, cast some flies to search for the wary brown trout, hike the forest
trail; let some 5 foot
waves on Lake Superior knock you right over, before watching that sunset;
celebrate Michigan's environment by going out into it.
12. Create organization, infrastructure and campaigns out of high energy and
thin air!! (How do you think Enviro-Mich was created???...we thought it up
and did it!!!)
13. Don't take a bunch of crap from politicians, industry dogs, PR goons,
top management...Fight back!!
14. Support family values!!! Remember that environmental and conservation
are passed down with the generations!!! Take some time and make sure some
children in your life understand how important Michigan's environmental
and conservation traditions are to this state!! "Earth Mothers" and "Outdoor
Fathering" are both important to the development of the attitudes of young
children on environment and conservation traditions. I can remember
my own father telling me about Lake Erie pollution and teaching me about
recycling when I was 5 years old. Take the children fishing, hunting, hiking,
exploring, swimming in Michigan's oustanding northcountry!!!
15. Make a commitment to yourself to increase your grasp of the science of our
issues. Go out and read some scientific journals about an issue in which you
are interested. Do it regularly!! Don't forget that childlike scientific
16. Find a middle management and/or inspector/field level public servant
in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources, the Forest Service, the U.S. EPA or
other state, federal or local government agency who is
important to your environmental and conservation issue, and network
with them on the issues. Go out to lunch, invite them to your meeting,
set up an informal contact....do some brainstorming together.
Those MDEQ/MDNR/EPA folks don't bite.......
17. Make the great existential leap from a "complainer" to a "worker"....
"Complainers" expect everyone else to solve local environmental
problems. "Workers" take initiative and responsibility... "Workers" help
build the leadership, information, political, scientific and organizational
infrastructure and case statements to solve problems and prevent others
18. Be an environmental protection "cop" "marine" "tough guy" "equalizer".....
(sorry for all of this male imagery, but it works for me...)
My own personal hero in this regard happens to be a MDEQ fish biologist
turned environmental enforcer turned groundwater protector
who once got a DNR deputy director
canned after he accepted a $150 per year lease of a cottage on
one of the north country rivers from Consumers Power.
19. Try to use humor as your own personal tool for environmental protection.
20. Celebrate volunteers and their activities. Create important roles for
people to get involved.
21. A little bit of leadership and a little bit of advocacy can go a long way
where there has been no leadership and no advocacy before!!
The worst tragedy is that no participation will occur when only a little
might do a lot (or someother tortured paraphrasing of Edmund Burke).
22. Accumulate and use salient, pertinent facts like a machine gun.
23. The environmental advocate is most effective when they rank their
arguments with the strongest first, followed the next strongest, etc.
24. Don't use words that your opponents use to talk about the issue
at hand. Doing so makes you guarenteed to lose.
Create your own way of describing the issues that emphasizes
your own advocacy with "on message" words and imagery. Whoever,
can define the issues in their own terms the longest and last will
win. (i.e. never again use the Engler/Harding term "environmental
audit and immunity bill" Redefine it as the "pollution secrecy
and enforcement laxity" policy.)
25. Don't get so wrapped up in trying to create "policy" that you
forget real, on the ground, community problems. Like Dave
Zaber, go out on that stream, make some observations, illustrate
the problems. Use your local issue to set statewide precedent.
26. Go down the tortured river and experience "Apocalypse Michigan."
Make your own personal observations of obnoxious environmental pollution
and resource destruction/waste. Take the camera and the video recorders and
the notebook and the computer .... bear witness to and record "The Horror"
27. Spend a lot of time with Freedom of Information Act requests
by looking in government files at MDNR, MDEQ and EPA.
28. Learn as much as you can about computers as your tools
for research, action, communications and activism.
29. Make your next student academic project something big, ambitious,
and important. Don't just get by looking for good grades. Make
your academic pursuits important exercises in environmental
investigation and environmental policy formation. Turn your
next student project into an important instrument of Michigan
environmental activism and individual leadership!!!!
30. "WINNING MEANS EVERYTHING" and don't you Michigan
activists forget that!!! We're not here to "work the process" and
do a bunch of pretend work. Make all your efforts count with
tough planning and strategy. Michigan's environmental
protection and conservation traditions are counting on YOU.
Alex J. Sagady & Associates Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39 East Lansing, MI 48826-0039
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)
ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.
Postings to: email@example.com For info, send email to
firstname.lastname@example.org with a one-line message body of "info enviro-mich"