The Mackinac Straits between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsula were the site of the first stop of the quite accurately named Summer Heat wave of action — last Sunday was a sunny, hot day for this northern reach, and the waters of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, which meet beneath the Straits, have never looked bluer.
And that’s how we want to keep it. Topic #1 for the day was a pair of pipelines — 60-year-old pipelines — that run underwater across the Straits. This might have seemed like a good idea in 1953, but a lot of things seemed like a good idea in 1953, before the Exxon Valdez or the Santa Barbara oil spill or the Deepwater Horizon. And it seems like a particularly bad idea now because Enbridge, the pipeline company, apparently wants to start pushing — yes, you guessed it — tar sands oil through those aging pipes.
But judging from last Sunday’s rally, they won’t do it without a fight. Oil and Water Don’t Mixwas brought together by Traverse City 350 and many many allies throughout Michigan, a huge crowd showed up in this fairly remote spot, and stayed for hours. There were great speeches, including a great one from Beth Wallace of the National Wildlife Federation whose “Sunken Hazard” report last year really kicked off the fuss.
And I got to explain how these local battles fit into the global one: even if that oil doesn’t spill in the Great Lakes, it will eventually spill into the atmosphere in the form of carbon, changing the climate: in fact, the water level on the Great Lakes is already falling fast because they don’t ice over for much of the winter any more, allowing increased evaporation.
The closing highlight of the day came from our old friends Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, who sang Seth’s new song “We Can Change (Our Own Minds)” which is fast becoming something of a Summer Heat anthem. And then I set off for Oregon, the next place to make some trouble for the fossil fuel industry.
Thank you for all you’re doing to raise the heat for the fossil fuel industry,
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