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Our Voices: Your Crucial Role

December 8, 2011 | By Hans Voss

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This is a momentous time. People are taking action around the world to gain meaningful access to democratic freedoms and economic opportunity. The movement shows that no matter how daunting the challenge people from all walks of life adhere to a fundamental belief that change is possible, that circumstances can improve.

Here at the Michigan Land Use Institute we’ve seen that true change comes when people recognize the problems, learn about solutions, and take action to implement them. That’s why for the last sixteen years, the Institute has been rallying people to meetings and workshops, and disseminating journalism and special reports that educate people on the urgent environmental, economic, and community issues of our time.

Education, Consensus, and Action: Our mission depends on it.

And we depend on you. Down to our very core, we are a “people” place, relying on members, friends, and partners to work together. Inspiring citizens, businesses, and policy makers to protect the environment, strengthen the economy, and enhance the quality of life is only achievable with your support. And for the crucial role you play, we extend our sincere appreciation and invite you to contribute to our annual campaign.

It’s been a busy year here at the Institute. Thanks to your support, our staff has worked as hard as ever to move our mission forward and achieve the kind of tangible outcomes you’ve come to expect from us. Rather than try and re-cap it all here (that would be one long letter!), I want to draw your attention to three exciting new initiatives designed to give you ways to personally participate.

Make a Pledge
The Spend Ten campaign now boasts 418 people and ten businesses who have made the pledge to spend at least $10 per week on local food. This action results in keeping $222,560 in the local economy. The farmers and retailers who sell local food are all seeing greater returns. And we have created an interactive Web page for pledged locavores to gather creative cooking tips, hearty recipes for winter eating, and just plain old camaraderie. You can find out about it on our Taste the Local Difference web site.

Save on Energy
As an Institute supporter, you can take pride in the amazingly successful launch of our campaign, TCSaves: A new program designed to empower homeowners to weatherize for immediate energy savings. We are campaigning door to door to invite homeowners to partake in an energy audit, make initial improvements, and then gain access to no-interest loans for more efficiency upgrades. TCSaves is a collaboration with the City of Traverse City, our local electric utility, and SEEDS, a terrific local non-profit group. It’s action-based, results-oriented, and driven by individuals taking personal responsibility. What a great formula for success! What’s more, once it takes hold in the initial target area, we’ll be working to give as many people as possible the tools, information, and inspiration to save energy. As an Institute member, you’ll be hearing more soon about what you can do in your home or business.

Choose your Commute
Finally, we are readying a new campaign that will educate folks about cost-saving, health-promoting, and environment-protecting measures they can advance just by changing the way they move. Our transportation team is talking fewer cars, more transit, and more people out walking and bike riding. Just like in the energy efficiency project, our work will give people new ideas for how they can take action. And did I mention that the Governor has stated his support for state-level programs and investments that can help to transform the way Michigan gets around? Look for more information about this exciting initiative on our Web site as we formally launch this campaign in 2012.

As you can see, there is much afoot here at the Institute. And there is no denying that all of this good work would not be possible without you. I hope you will continue your support to make our action-oriented plans a reality. Please consider making as generous a donation as you can.

With your support, we can craft solutions that combine the hallmark of Michigan’s history of innovation and entrepreneurship with the promise of strong communities and a clean environment

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