By way of On The Wilder Side:
GPMI Candidates Will Focus on Prosperity and Peace for People, Environment
Members of the Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) are disappointed, though not surprised, by the contradictions between Governor Granholm’s talk of a new direction for Michigan’s economy and her obvious support of the same old business as usual . . . and the same old businesses.
Art Myatt, a GPMI vice-chair and the head of the party’s Platform Committee said:
Had Granholm stopped after saying, ‘Our world has changed, utterly; the old Michigan economy is gone,’ I would have been left with the surprising impression that I agreed with her. She did not stop. She went on to outline ways to bring back whole chunks of the old economy. Her vision is simply a revived automotive economy that has less automobile manufacturing in Michigan.
In her final speech on the state of our state, she mentioned the waters of Michigan just once — and then only as a ‘natural resource’ to be exploited. There was no mention of protecting those waters, or protecting Michigan’s environment at all. Earlier this month, her Department of Environmental Quality, on the day before it was to be dissolved, ruled in favor of permitting sulfide mining in the Upper Peninsula, bypassing the legal process in place to contest this permit.
There are too many other examples. She’s done nothing to stop confined animal feeding operations, with their lagoons of untreated sewage fouling ground and surface waters. She’s taken no action to stop planning for new coal power plants, or to clean up any of the old ones. The list goes on and on.
Linda Cree, a Green Party member in the Upper Peninsula, observes:
Protecting our environment must go hand in hand with any new job creation. Job creation should be a win-win situation for our people and our environment. For example, our forests have been hard hit by over-harvesting by international corporations, and now there are efforts underway to exploit our woodlands and grasslands for biomass production.
It makes more sense to protect our lands and at the same time give a boost to the regional recycled-paper industry by having state government mandate that all government offices use 100% post-consumer-waste, unbleached paper,” Cree says. “Let’s get behind jobs in recycling paper and wood rather than letting our lands be stripped until the soil is ruined.
GPMI Elections Co-ordinator John Anthony La Pietra agreed:
Instead of begging foreign corporations to ‘save us’ with highly-subsidized, highly-polluting jobs, we need to relocalize our own economies and revitalize our state’s rural areas and small communities as well as our big cities. And we need to reverse decades of government policies that abandoned our small farmers to chase after agribusiness. We know how unsustainable corporate farming is in the long run — and we know it’s healthier all around to have Michigan small family farms growing good food for Michigan family tables.
For example, Michigan could end the virtual blackout its Women, Infants, & Children food program has on organic foods — and put more WIC money into encouraging the purchase of locally-grown produce. “The state decides how these federal funds are used,” La Pietra notes. “We could be getting a double benefit from that money. We could ensure WIC recipients a secure and convenient supply of healthier food, and local and organic growers more local demand for their produce.”
Aimee Cree Dunn, also a member of the North Country Greens in the Upper Peninsula, suggests:
Rather than looking for a technological fix, we’d do better putting money into programs at the county and tribal level to recover traditional ecological knowledge. We’ve lost so much information about how to live sustainably and comfortably on the land. Why not create jobs while creating a wealth of valuable information to help people live more sustainably in their bioregions?
“The era of cheap energy is over,” Myatt points out. “The emerging economy will be local, not global, and should be more oriented toward supplying the basics for everyone than toward endless growth. The environment — the water we drink, the air we breathe, the soil that grows our food — is our life-support system. If we can’t preserve our environment, then our society will collapse. It’s as fundamental as that. Granholm’s way fails on the fundamentals. Greens are calling for a genuine economic transition, not empty rhetoric.”
“Prosperity is meaningless if it doesn’t reach the people,” concludes La Pietra, an attorney in Marshall. “And prosperity can’t stay with the people long if it destroys the environment we live in — either the natural environment or the human environment of peace and justice.
“It was a Michigan case the Supreme Court overturned when its recent _Citizens United_ opinion ironically said corporations had the ‘free speech’ right to spend money on independent campaign ads. We’ve seen in Benton Harbor what can happen when a corporation has the economic and political clout to rule a city — raw power not balanced by duty to the people or properly checked by state agencies, much less local authorities. Michigan needs a government run as if we the people matter.”
Michigan Greens will be discussing how best to offer the people of Micigan that kind of government at a state party meeting February 27-28 in Lapeer. GPMI will nominate candidates for the November 2 ballot at a statewide convention in Lansing May 15-16. And local Greens can nominate candidates within their own counties at caucuses until August 3.
For more information on the issues, values, and candidates of the Green Party of Michigan, please visit the party’s homepage: