A letter from the coalition co-chairs to recap 2023:
Dear Climate friends,
As we come to the end of 2023, we see that there is much to be grateful for, even as the urgency to address the climate emergency grows. Daily news reports continue to offer sobering (if not alarming) accounts of the global scale of the crisis. Sitting in a Michigan Winter holiday with no snow and very mild temperatures is a reminder of the changing climate even here in what is something of a climate haven. Thankfully, we are making some progress locally and you have been an integral part of that movement.
In reviewing the year's efforts by the Grand Rapids Climate Coalition (GRCC), we are so grateful for the strength of our members - now numbering 88! Strength in numbers has given us the ability to lift the voices of member groups who also do climate work. It has increased our profile in the community and the state. Our members have made an impact this year in local and state efforts to impact policies that will make a difference in our future. Thank you for being part of our strength!
We advocated for the City of Grand Rapids to make a community wide carbon reduction goal—and it has done so (more to come once they make a public announcement);
Our members showed up in numbers to help influence the Community Master Plan—and the City has responded favorably to our input so far;
We continued to push for a solar project at the former Butterworth dump—and the process has begun to develop the space for solar energy;
Members asked that we expand from a City of Grand Rapids to a more county-wide approach and we did so by meeting with county commissioners and engaging discussions on how we manage waste;
In April we hosted an Earth Day March with community partners and an Earth Day Panel Discussion;
In September we worked with other organizations to hold a town hall with elected officials on how to bring the climate and clean energy money from the Inflation Reduction Act to this area, which made the local climate movement even more connected and collaborative;
We collaborated with many local and state groups to lift climate justice issues and to positively influence climate and clean energy legislation (despite the energy bills’ shortcomings, Michigan is now positioned as a national leader based on them and the movement can further push for improvements, resist false solutions, and prioritize equity);
Our member groups increased from 72 to 89!
As a completely grassroots, volunteer-driven organization, we have accomplished much with no funding streams other than occasional donations from individuals (which we appreciate!).
As 2024 approaches, we know there will be more work to do, as we seek to grow the climate movement in our community. There will be opportunities and challenges, which we intend to meet with vigor and resolve. We hope that we can continue to count on the support of your time, talent, or treasure as we continue to work together on local and statewide issues.
Wishing you and yours a hopeful start to 2024.
Janet and Nate, Co-Chairs