Michigan Climate Action Network connects and amplifies individuals, communities, and organizations confronting the climate crisis in Michigan and supports them in advancing equitable climate solutions with the urgency science demands for the environment and all that live in it.
We envision a state with equitable climate solutions and 100% clean, affordable energy for all; where communities are prepared for and resilient to the climate impacts we cannot avoid; where everyone has access to good, family-sustaining jobs; where frontline and fenceline populations, along with local and indigenous communities, are centered in authentic engagement and decision making; where investments in the most impacted and vulnerable communities are prioritized; and where all Michiganders live in pollution-free communities, thereby preserving the health, safety, and quality of life that makes Michigan the exceptional place we all call our home.
Meet the MICAN Staff
Denise Keele, Ph. D., Director
Having been a farmer, a forester, a grassroots organizer, a political scientist, and a professor, Denise Keele comes to her role as Director of Michigan Climate Action Network with a holistic understanding behind the need to rapidly reverse global warming. Denise holds an undergraduate degree in forestry and a master’s focused on endangered species conservation from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), as well as a doctorate in Environmental Politics from Syracuse University (a joint degree with the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry). For Denise, a leading priority is inspiring and connecting people—and particularly, taking stock of how policy is matching up with lived experience, to ensure equitable solutions are centered in the movement toward a net zero Michigan. “I just want all of us to have a livable future,” she says with straightforward conviction.
Colleen Otte, Communications Specialist
A northern Michigan native, Colleen Otte learned to appreciate early on the rare beauty of the natural resources surrounding residents of Michigan. Eager to protect the lakes she swam in, forests she hiked, and wildlife she spotted growing up, Colleen looked for ways to combine her knack for wordsmithing with environmental causes, which led her to join the Residential Initiative on the Study for the Environment at Michigan State University, majoring in journalism. After earning her undergraduate degree with a minor in sustainability studies and specializations in design and visual communication, Colleen continued on to her master’s, to take advantage of MSU’s program focused on Environmental, Science, & Health journalism specifically. Stints as a social media intern with the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, launching the online presence for the National Park Service’s Great Lakes Research & Education Center, and engaging volunteers in the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Adopt-a-Beach program landed her at her previous position with the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, where she oversaw the full digital marketing strategy to determine how best to communicate her colleagues’ critical work in advancing decarbonization to quell climate change.
During her downtime, Colleen turns to creative outlets, like photo walks along the lakefront. She hopes her captures can serve as a reminder of the splendor in our surroundings, with the quiet caveat of what’s at stake. Colleen prefers to take a perspective of climate optimism, and brings that spirit to MiCAN, where she looks forward to elevating the voices of those most impacted by climate change in Michigan.
Serena Amdur, Social Media Specialist
As Social Media Specialist, Serena Amdur's mission is to encourage a more engaged climate movement through MiCAN’s social media channels. Serena’s natural interest in community resiliency and local climate solutions led her to earn a bachelor's degree from Macalester College in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Cultural Sustainability as well as a minor in Food, Agriculture and Society. Serena went to high school in the Netherlands which provided one of many opportunities to experience how societies differ in their perception and interaction with their environments. She also has cross-cultural experience through spending time with her family in Taiwan, growing up in a multicultural family in the north suburbs of Chicago, and studying food security, nutrition and sustainable development in Geneva, Switzerland during college. Now, in northern Michigan where she grew up spending the summer, she recalls how the area sparked her passion for preserving the environment. In her free time, Serena is an avid reader, language-learner, and cook.
MiCAN's Mailing Address:
Michigan Climate Action Network
602 W. Ionia Street
Lansing, MI 48933
The MiCAN Steering Committee
We appreciate the contributions and experience of the following individuals who are moving our Mission and Vision forward.
- Frank Houston, Regional Program Manager, BlueGreen Alliance
- Bentley Johnson, Federal Government Affairs Director, Michigan LCV
- Conan Smith, President & CEO, Michigan Environmental Council
- Missy Stults, Ph.D., Sustainability and Innovations Manager, City of Ann Arbor
- Bill Wood, Executive Director, West Michigan Environmental Action Council
- Tom Porter, Porter Family Foundation (advisor)
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WATCH MiCAN's Story Since the Beginning
LISTEN to Director Denise Keele's Overview of the Network
READ How We'll Achieve Our Vision for Climate in Michigan
BUILDING AND MOBILIZING A STRONGER CLIMATE MOVEMENT IN MICHIGAN
We have grown our network to over 75 organizations and 30,000 individuals, and we partner with many coalitions and campaigns working for climate solutions and justice around the state. We create opportunities for network members to share information and work together.
MiCAN organizes events, like the annual Michigan Climate Action Summit, the first statewide public gathering focused on climate action. We also support and uplift dozens of events each year happening around the state, from virtual webinars to rallies and marches.
MAKING CLIMATE A TOP ISSUE IN MICHIGAN
Climate in the Media - MiCAN generates dozens of stories on climate and solutions each year in newspapers, television news, and radio programs.
Building the Biggest Social Media Platform - We have strategically built our social media presence to have one of the largest social media audiences of any group in Michigan, and we reach over 100,000 people each month between our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, while also keeping people informed with our emails.
The Climate Solutions Podcast - MiCAN partnered with the Groundwork Center to host the Speaking of Resilience Podcast where we interviewed thought leaders on climate and justice in Michigan and the Midwest, and reached tens of thousands of people with our content.
Climate Candidate Education – We meet with candidates and use surveys and videos to educate them about priority climate, health, and clean energy policies.
ADVANCING EQUITABLE CLIMATE SOLUTIONS FOR 100% CLEAN ENERGY
Supporting Local Climate Work - MiCAN led the effort that passed the first community-wide 100% clean energy goal in Michigan. We are supporting partners who are leading efforts in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Oakland County, Grand Rapids, Petoskey, and communities around the state.
Supporting Climate Policies in Lansing - Using phone banking, email, and social media, we let network members know about opportunities to help move forward new policies in the legislature, and have generated 5000 comments on climate-related policy in a matter of weeks.
Shutting Down Line 5 - We are a leading group in the Oil & Water Don't Mix Campaign and we are formal interveners with the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) working to prevent the Michigan Public Service Commission to deny a permit for a Line 5 oil tunnel.
Many citizens and groups in Michigan want to take bold action on climate change. The Michigan Climate Action Network is working to bring everyone together to make sure our state acts for solutions to climate change with the urgency the science demands.
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