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E-M:/ Thoughts at 2:51 AM
- Subject: E-M:/ Thoughts at 2:51 AM
- From: "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2006 02:58:13 -0400
- Delivered-to: email@example.com
- Delivered-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-to: "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <email@example.com>
Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What can one person do?
An event Thursday again reminds us that leadership means everything and
even a little leadership where representation is limited or non-existent can
go a long, long way.
An ordinary citizen in North Carolina took down George Bush in a single
sentence. Someone who was just beginning to explore protest
and politics.... Harry Taylor said to Mr. Bush:
"What I wanted to say to you is that I -- in my lifetime, I have never felt
more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington.."
Discussion and info at:
What does this have to do with citizen action and Michigan
environmental protection? Plenty....
I post this to illustrate the example of how just one person can make
a difference with a little leadership. Just a little leadership can make a
big difference in a state like ours. I'm out to remind Michigan citizens
that we have a long and strong conservation and environmental protection
heritage and a principle feature of that heritage is that portions of our
natural resources in Michigan have always been joined at the hip with
volunteer stewards and watchdogs who are the leadership-protectors
and ninja warriors.
We must teach our youth this message so they can learn and assume these
roles by the example of others. The struggle to protect, conserve and enhance Michigan
natural resources has a long history. But the means of protecting these
resources must be passed from generation to generation in the form of
Even better, however, is when youthful enthusiasm and leadership on
environmental protection teaches complacent "grown ups" what one
person can do.
John Engler tried to destroy the Michigan environmental leadership
tradition, but he was not successful.....but we must repair the
damage he did do.
Leadership in protection of the environment is like a virus. It will spread in the
right social environment. So the actions of a single citizen taking up the cause
of even protecting a single stream, beach, park, wildlife species, lake....or
a single citizen acting to demand a tougher pollution control rule, to clean up
a single offending industrial installation, to investigate a single serious local
environmental health problem....mean everything to protecting our resources,
public health, the political environment for protecting past gains....everything
about protecting and conserving the environment of Michigan.
When no one has "spoken for the trees" as the Lorax did in
the child's stories, the new voice of someone taking leadership
can boom and resound in the vacuum of no voices for the resource in the present.
Leadership can take many forms.....
....a single person speaking out....
....doing research on a single, specific problem no one has addressed...
....adopting a citizen stewardship role over a particular natural feature or problem...
....doing the politics of community organizing to achieve a larger goal....
....recruiting other leaders to adopt crucial roles...
....participating on a stakeholder committee where citizen environmental concern was not
....filing effective complaints against pollution, impairment and destruction...
Want examples??....I won't name names but many will know who I'm talking about....
....the woman in SE Michigan who has gotten to the bottom of Michigan's problems
with drain law and drain commissioners and who quarterbacks policy discussions of that matter...
....that MSU labor law professor who got Michigan's earliest right to know law through the
....those citizens down in Hillsdale and Lenawee county who have singlehandedly
illustrated the poor environmental management performance of CAFO operations there....
....a UM-Flint political science instructor who joined with a priest and a nun to put the environmental
justice issue on the national map in NE Flint...
....that woman in the Toledo area who took on the hazardous waste site on Maumee bay
in her earlier years and who ran the campaign against siting a coke oven next to a low income community,
AND, who really ought to run for governor in Ohio....
....that crusty elder gentleman ironworker from Monroe whose local advocacy and organizing
meant 120,000 less sulfur dioxide in the air.
....that woman who is no longer with us who created and grew the Great Lakes Information Network out
of thin air and determination....
....that lumber yard owner in Northern Michigan who spoke for Michigan forest management in
dramatic and effective ways.....
....that Kalamazoo legislator who shepherded much of Michigan's environmental legislation
over a 25 year period through the process, even when serving in the minority party....
.....that woman with the afternoon shift IT job in Lincoln Park whose inner strength and leadership
were key to helping clean up SW Detroit air pollution....
....those housewives in the Western UP who taught Champion International a thing or two about
alternative emission control techniques.
....those radicals, artists and anarchists in the evergreen alliance whose compelling advocacy cleaned
up the Detroit Incinerator....
....those UAW environmentalists who didn't want to see another hazardous waste operation down in
......those citizen activists and lawyer in NW Michigan who didn't want to see Nestle running off with Michigan's
public groundwater resources....
....that artist and his family in the Alpena area and the community network who brought an end to hazardous waste
disposal at Lafarge Corp.
Each of these folks and many more in similar struggles learned something
about themselves in reaching beyond what they thought were the limits of
their effectiveness. Leadership changes individuals and such leadership
also changes communities.
The long journey of exerting leadership begins with a single step.
Want some practical advice about leadership, organizing, power and community?
Try this out:
Make the great existential leap into the unknown adventure of what you
can do to protect and conserve Michigan and the Great Lakes!!
Alex J. Sagady & Associates http://www.sagady.com
Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at: http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf
657 Spartan Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); email@example.com
ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action. Archives at
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