Michigan now has the third most COVID-19 cases in the nation, and the US has become the epicenter of the global pandemic. Our thoughts are with everyone in our network in this challenging time, especially health workers on the front lines, people who have lost loved ones, communities most impacted by the virus, and those dealing with job loss.
As we all navigate this new way of life, we continue our work, and we are inspired by groups coordinating and leading efforts to fight for those most vulnerable and impacted right now. Everybody is reacting to this crisis in their own way, and if you are among those who are feeling a need to plug in, I'd like to offer up this update and list of groups doing important work:
Coordination and working for policy change
Many MiCAN partners have created the Michigan Covid Community Response, a coalition working to address the existing chronic problems that COVID-19 is exposing, including protecting the most vulnerable populations from climate impacts and future pandemics. National climate leaders are working to make sure the federal response to the pandemic is people-centered and rooted in justice, including calling for a People’s Bailout.
Victory for water rights
Water rights advocates have worked tirelessly for years to get water restored to the households who have had it shut off, and stepped up their efforts during the pandemic. Last week Gov. Whitmer called for the thousands of homes without water to be reconnected and created a $2 million fund to help cities follow through. Getting water reconnected will take time, and you can support emergency water to those in need below.
How to help those most impacted
People are stepping up through Mutual Aid efforts in communities across the state, and we know many people want to especially help meet immediate needs in Detroit, where Coronavirus cases are growing faster than nearly anywhere else in the country. Our Detroit-based partners suggest you support the following groups that are providing emergency food and water: Gleaners Food Bank, Brightmoor Food Pantry, and We the People of Detroit, and also the community work and advocacy of People’s Water Board and Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition.
Continuing to act on climate
While this pandemic crisis is the focus of our immediate attention, we know the climate crisis is not going away, the fossil fuel industry is not resting, and an important election is coming. Enbridge continues to seek permits to build an oil tunnel under the Straits, and the Trump administration announced it is suspending environmental laws during the pandemic, and then rolled back fuel efficiency standards. We will continue to fight for climate justice and to build a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable future, and share ways that together we can take action and make an impact.
Digital Climate Action Summit
The Summit planning team has decided to reschedule the amazing speakers and important content planned for the Michigan Climate Action Summit as a digital Summit later this spring. We will send more information in the coming weeks. There are other online events and work that continues, and we will keep sharing that with you through these emails and on the MiCAN Facebook page.
This pandemic is laying bare the underlying problems in our society that are also at the root of the climate crisis - injustice, failure to invest in infrastructure that serves the common good, the power of fossil fuel special interests, and denial of scientific evidence. There is no doubt that this pandemic will change us, and we are committed to making sure we change in ways that make us more resilient, sustainable, and equitable.