October 2, 2019
"We need to do more, and we need to do more now."
That was the message Brandy Brown, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Climate and Energy Advisor, delivered to the Rise Up and Drawdown Michigan climate conference.
Brown challenged the audience at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids to double down on reduction and mitigation efforts, advance renewable energy resources and energy efficiency, and educate and communicate.
"I come to this position with the recognition of the importance of this moment," Brown said in her address. "It is time for action."
Brown was one of eight EGLE staff who attended the Rise Up and Drawdown Michigan conference, whose goal was to bring the community together to offer local solutions and opportunities for engagement on the topic of climate change.
The Office of Climate and Energy was created by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as part of the reconstituted Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The mandate of the Office of Climate and Energy is to align Michigan's goals to those of the Paris Climate Accord and pushing state decisionmakers to move faster on climate action. The Office is also charged with coordinating climate response and action around the state.
Also speaking at the conference was environmentalist and climate activist Paul Hawken, whose book "Drawdown -- The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming" is a New York Times bestseller. Hawken's book examines 100 solutions to global warming. Among them: Getting more of energy needs from wind, reduce food waste, educate and empowering girls, walkable cities, net zero buildings, smart grids, and green roofs.
Conference sessions explored future mobility; municipal sustainability programs; urban partnerships between academia, government, and communities; and climate positive landscape design.
Students from fourth-graders to those in junior college implored those in attendance to stand up and act to make the world a better place for them and their children.
"We need the perspective and voices of our young people," Brown said, "to direct the future we build for them."