Over the past month, we have seen the disastrous effects of climate change play out across the country. The devastating wildfires on the west coast, Hurricane Sally in the Gulf and the dam collapses in Michigan are glaring examples of how our changing climate threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans. The climate crisis is no longer a problem for future generations — it is the most pressing problem we face right now.
Here in Michigan, we see the serious impact of our changing climate in numerous ways. An increase in severe weather events and precipitation over the past five years have led to record-high lake levels and increasing stress on our aging infrastructure, costing billions, and damaging the homes and livelihoods of thousands of Michigan residents.
Climate change is wreaking havoc on our Great Lakes, home to 90% of our nation’s fresh surface water. Rising lake levels have caused extreme shoreline erosion on the Lake Michigan coast, while rising lake temperatures have fueled toxic algae blooms in both the Great Lakes and inland lakes across our state, posing a danger to our public health.
From Detroit, which is home to some of the state’s most polluted and vulnerable neighborhoods, to the urban, rural, and suburban communities throughout west and northern Michigan, the effects of climate change will only continue to worsen without immediate action.
In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has links and parallels to the climate crisis, and the Trump administration refusing to acknowledge scientific facts, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters — our staff, board, members, and our sister organization, Michigan LCV Education Fund — call on every Michigan resident to step up and demand that the climate crisis be addressed with immediacy and urgency. It is imperative that elected officials at all levels of government — from city, township, and county to the state legislature, our governor, our members of congress and the president — take action NOW.
The upcoming election in November presents an opportunity to elect public servants who will take the climate crisis seriously. We ask you to register and make a plan to vote, and, if you are able, sign up to be a poll worker. You can also volunteer with Michigan LCV — we have voter education and mobilization programs running all over this state. It is incumbent upon us all to get involved, and work together to protect the health of our communities, our families and our state’s most precious natural resource: our fresh water.