Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Green Lesson from Northern Michigan

As the icy wind blows, the cold bites, and the boots are the only suitable footwear, I fall in love with Northern Michigan, again.

It's been a while since I've been to the North in the winter, and I realize how "stuck" in the Mid/Southern portion of the state that I've been. Growing up in the Metro Detroit Area, and living in Lansing for a good part of the last decade, trips to the North have been few and far between, and usually require packing the swimsuit and flip-flops.

I was granted the opportunity to grow my passion for our state. After spending several days here, I realize once again how incredible this portion of our state is, and how precious it is. My visit here has renewed my dedication to continue to fight to keep Michigan environmentally great, because it is a delicate ecosystem that hangs in the balance.

Climbing a frozen sandy beach to view the icy shore of the Great Lakes and having my breath taken away equally by the cold and the view, I was struck with a sudden sense of being incredibly humbled. Michigan is not about our cars, our sports, or our schools.

Michigan started with and continues to stand out against the other 49 states by our environment. Unlike any other state, Michigan is known for its two peninsulas, our massive shoreline, and the extraordinary beauty that lines our land from Houghton to Pigeon and everywhere in between.

It's easy to laugh and dismiss the Tree-Huggers in their stereotypical Birkenstocks and hybrid cars, but you open to your eyes to the real Michigan, and you realize they are right. Everything in Michigan revolves around our environment one way or another. If we take care of our land and our lakes, our economy will follow.

In our environmental stewardship, we will continue to grow and develop technologies to protect and preserve this great land. Isn't it ironic that our state's greatest manufacturing accomplishment, the automobile industry, is now one of the most harmful components of our society? The Big Three's race for survival has turned into the Green competition. First one to the finish line has the most environmentally-friendly vehicles. I don't think it's just a coincidence.

I get by each day believing that everything happens for a reason. In Michigan's economy, it is the industries and people who are going green that are succeeding. With a growing mountain of evidence from our universities, businesses, and our government, is it really that surprising that green is the way to go for the sake of our health, our pocketbooks and our lives?

We need to keep fighting the good fight, the right fight. We keep our government and legislators, our businesses and our own hearts on the right track, protecting the most precious of assets, our environment. I'm convinced that everything else will follow.

Living in our beautiful state comes with a price, and that's keeping it great and green.

1 comment:

Cathleen said...

Very nice piece!

I have got to get up to the UP this summer and visit my Mom's new house/cabin. They are on a lake right next to federal (? I think) forest land and have bald eagles and everything.

We must preserve this beauty-