Environment Picture

Annual meeting message:

Communication is key
From toxics to transit, conservancies to CAFOS, and politics to power (renewable, of course!), freewheeling discussions on dozens of key Michigan issues were sprinkled throughout MEC’s annual meeting at the Bengel Wildlife Center near Lansing Dec. 8.
Representatives from several dozen member groups took part in the daylong series of workshops and meetings that closed out a solidly successful 2006 and looked ahead to a 2007 where energy and water issues will be at the top of the Lansing agenda.
A renewed emphasis on maintaining dialogue among MEC’s 75 member groups was arguably the meeting’s focal point, with a spirited presentation by MEC Member Services Committee Chair Jennifer Silverston (Northern Options). Silverston traced the year’s efforts to take the pulse of MEC’s far-flung allies and weave their needs and concerns into a coherent program of outreach, collaboration and—when possible—consensus. To that end, MEC staff and the Member Services Committee will conduct five separate regional meetings around the state in 2007 to better connect with membership and to help members connect with one another on issues of common concern.
“With dozens of member groups of all sizes, stripes and types, it’s no easy task for MEC to keep everyone under one comfortable umbrella all the time,” said Silverston after the meeting. “But there is recognition that Michigan is one of the last remaining states with a statewide environmental collaboration like MEC. The opportunity that lies within Michigan’s environmental groups working together is too great to ignore. The Member Services Committee is honored to have the task laid before us to facilitate discussion between the member groups in hopes to build a stronger, more cohesive environmental movement in this state of great lakes.”
The meeting closed with the election of two new board members: Beverly Ghesquiere, coordinator of human and financial resources for Dawn, Inc. in Ypsilanti and a longtime leader in the nonprofit community; and Tim O’Brien, who is stepping down as deputy chief of staff with Ford Motor Company. One seat will remain vacant until spring in the interest of recruiting candidates to expand the board’s diversity and breadth.
Top five annual meeting “moments”
5 Jennifer Silverston’s Orwellian explanation of how she “hired a volunteer.”
4 Hugh McDiarmid, Jr. suggesting one of the year’s highlights was moving to a job where he’ll never again have to quote the Mackinac Center.
3 Fr. Charles Morris reveling in being in Rolling Stone magazine. (But did he get his picture on the cover? Noooo!) 2 David Holtz asking for a pro-nuclear show of hands; and none being raised.
1 Lunchtime!
-Hugh McDiarmid Jr., Michigan Environmental Council
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