Support #BLM and the George Floyd Protests

Hi again, 

Welcome to Climate Weekly! 

Last week you might have noticed that we didn’t send out a newsletter. We had been working with Elizabeth Kostina from Michigan, USA to prepare a great piece on what was happening in her community, and suddenly, everything changed. We just didn’t feel right sending it out. 

Racism and white supremacy are built into the foundations of the climate crisis and we wholeheartedly support the protests in the United States.

This week, we’re sending out Elizabeth’s newsletter in a way that we hope feels more relevant. 

Our thoughts and actions go out to anyone of you reading this who may be going through any physical or emotional trauma because of the horrific police brutality across the US.

If there is anything you believe we can do more to support you, your friends, your family or community, please let us know. 

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I’m Elizabeth and I’m writing to you all from Michigan in the USA.

It’s been an intense week in Michigan. You may have seen the videos of the Michigan sheriff  and the head coach of the Michigan football joining protests. But the protests are still going on and it's not all positive across our critical swing state. If there’s one thing you want to support, get behind Little Miss Flint (Mary Copeny),  the 12 year old girl who has just raised $200,000 for clean water filters in her community of Flint, and now around the world. 

But climate news hasn’t stopped either.

NOAA has issued their summer forecast and are predicting that MI has a 50-55% chance of warmer than average temperatures as well as a higher than average rainfall for most of MI, and it’s suspected that this will continue into the early fall, MLive reporting.

MI had its wettest year on record in 2019 since records started in 1901, with an average of 39.85 inches of precipitation. Wet areas, especially the 5 Great Lakes that MI is so well known for, are getting wetter. Greater precipitation due to the greater moisture content in the warmer air is a clear link to a warming atmosphere, and NOAA writes that “[a]veraged as a whole, February 2020 was near-record warm with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average of 1.17°C (2.11°F) above the 20th century average.”

Aging state infrastructure is ill-equipped to handle the consequences of the warming climate. This proved to be more than true in Midland on May 19th. 5 inches of rain caused the Tittabawassee River to breach two hydroelectric dams and 10,000 people had to be evacuated.

On Friday, May 22nd, the water level was 25 feet, exceeding the flood level set at 24 feet. The river is adjacent to a Dow Chemical facility which used to dump waste into the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers before being labeled an EPA superfund site. Dow issued a statement saying that there had been no reported product releases from the flooding, though there are concerns that the chemical cleanup progress has been lost. Additionally, chemicals from people’s garages, gas stations, and wastewater plants have all been swept away. The consequences of the flood and chemical pollution flowing to Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay are yet unknown, but fears of pollution are increasing

A controversial project to replace a “67-year-old Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac with a pipeline in a tunnel under the straits remains an issue between Enbridge Energy and the state of Michigan,” Great Lakes Now reporting. A new permit would allow Enbridge to “withdraw water from the Great Lakes and discharge wastewater.”

Michigan has joined California and two dozen other states in suing the “Trump administration's rollback of Obama-era mileage standards”, saying “science backed up the old regulations developed with the help of the nation's car makers,” as reported by Detroit Free Press. The new mileage standards would require automakers to “achieve 1.5% annual increases in fuel efficiency. The Obama-era standards called for 5% annual increases and were seen as the government's most forceful initiative against climate-changing fossil fuel emissions.” 

From Climate Tracker

George Floyd Protests: This week the whole team discussed ways to support the protests across the US. Here is our statement on why we think Environmental journalists need to support the protests.

Cyclone Amphan: Last week we ran a quite beautiful story on the horrible impacts of Cyclone Amphan. Please have a look.

What else we’re reading

3 Recommendations

  1. Follow this amazing list of Green voices of Colour created by @MaryHeglar

  2. Support Mari Copeny’s clean water campaign ;) 

  3. Read this quick piece on Intersectional Environmentalism by influencer Leah Thomas (@greengirlleah)

By Nikkolas Smith


This is a Weekly newsletter created by Climate Tracker. If you have any questions, comments or want to get involved, email Chris at chris@climatetracker.org - that’s me. I’d love to hear from you...and don’t worry, I’m locked inside too.

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