Photo: Barret Kaltz, submitted to the 2021 LMB Photo Contest
When I get on my bike instead of starting up a car, I feel that I’m doing my part. It’s not just for my personal health and wellbeing, but also for the wellbeing of our planet. With every mile I commute to the store, to work, or to run errands, I feel that I am making positive change and being mindful of the consequences of my actions. I’m investing in the future.
Bicyclists have been doing the work. But is our government doing its part? In a state known for the automotive industry, we can’t take sustainability for granted. It has to be a priority for our transportation system. We have to reduce the need to drive and make it easier to bike.
In the last week, we came to terms with a bit of a wake-up call concerning our planet. The latest UN climate report shed light on our possible trajectory over the next two decades, and it is unsettling. The report forecast even more population displacement, severe weather, and irreversible damage than past studies.
It is not too late to prevent the worst of this. We must fight now harder than ever.
Michigan is in the process of drafting the MI Healthy Climate Plan, and it has not yet been finalized. You can still have a say. This plan will shape our state’s approach to the climate for the coming decades – now is the time to speak up.
So far, the plan has outlined several steps that Michigan will take to combat climate change. These include a commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2050, and to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2025. These ideas are promising, but not enough. We need more concrete commitments to clean transportation, with safer infrastructure for people who bike and walk.
Take action by March 14
We’ve made it easy for you to send in comments on strengthening the MI Healthy Climate Plan for people who bike. Take a look at the template letter, add your own story, and send it by March 14 to have an impact on the draft Plan.
We’re asking for two additions to the plan:
1) To reduce transportation climate emissions to the level needed, we must reduce the amount Michiganders drive. The plan should require transportation agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in their decision making and urgently provide Michiganders with more transportation options by ensuring safe places to bike and walk, committing to a zero deaths vision and a Safe System approach, and funding major expansion of public transit.
2) We must also make it easier for people of all income levels to choose affordable and efficient forms of transportation. The plan should balance rebates and incentives for electric cars and trucks by including incentives for the purchase of electric bicycles, especially for lower-income households.
Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbors. Our voices matter, and we can make a difference in the future of Michigan’s climate. This moment is what we have. Let’s make the most of it.
Communications and Design Associate
League of Michigan Bicyclists
P.S. On a positive note, the Little Traverse Wheelway, which we mentioned in the last message, is on its way to being restored! Read more on their post-washout efforts.
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