GUEST COLUMN: The road to the future can lead through Mount Pleasant
Car culture has been an integral part of American life and especially important to Michigan’s manufacturing history.
Recent press releases point to some of the changes on the near horizon. Michigan’s Department of Transportation and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification have partnered to make a one-mile stretch of state roadway that allows public transportation and private vehicles to charge while traveling as a part of the Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot.
Ford has expanded its investments in recycling electric vehicle batteries to shore up its U.S. battery supply chain. Among American car makers, Ford is investing heavily in the future of electric vehicles, committing to an electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup series, the Lightning (already with over 130,000 pre-orders), and its iconic Mustang, the electric Mustang, Mach E.
The opportunities for Michigan workers and businesses in the arena of electric vehicles and a wide range of renewable technology seem obvious. I would think Central Michigan University, Mid-Michigan College, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, the city of Mount Pleasant, and the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce would be working overtime to incorporate similar thinking in their planning.
What better way to encourage young graduates to stay and build their careers in our city? Young people understand the need for clean energy solutions to protect their futures. Accommodating their aspirations in the Mid-Michigan area would mean they don’t have to move to participate in a changing economy.
If you agree, consider discussing such options widely, politely and persistently with your local leaders.
In Washington D.C. critically important decisions are being made and votes cast now that will impact your futures for better or worse, short term and long term. Since the physics of climate change don’t care about our politics, and we’ve delayed for decades, those impacts will be much worse if effective solutions are not started now.
To participate in these historic decisions, ask your U.S. Representative to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill in the U.S. Congress. They will merge federal resources with private initiatives.
Ask President Biden, Senator Stabenow, and Senator Peters to put economy-wide carbon pricing with cash-back dividends to households in the reconciliation bill. Carbon fee and dividend is the necessary market signal with built-in protection.
You can contact them at email@example.com; https://www.stabenow.senate.gov/contact; and https://www.peters.senate.gov/contact/email-gary. You can find your representative at https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
The road to the future can lead through Mount Pleasant to a cleaner, healthier country. It’s up to us to make sure it does.
Marie Koper has been the group leader of Mount Pleasant's Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Education chapter for the last eight years. On a local scale, the chapter organized the 2020 Central Michigan Climate Solutions Summit. Nationally CCL is a non-profit, nonpartisan group focused on legislation for climate solutions.