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E-M:/ Thoughts at 2:51 AM

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

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:




The video

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 
inspired leadership.   

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
    previously represented...
....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 Sagady

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); ajs@sagady.com

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