Read about climate heroes -- people just like you who are taking action to address climate change.
2023 CLIMATE HEROES OF THE MONTH
FEBRUARY CLIMATE HERO
Bill Razgunas leads “Bill’s Group,” a fellowship of about 10 men who have developmental handicaps. Bill wanted to identify a work environment that would allow them to learn work skills, earn some income, and improve the world.
The result was a proposal to create a recycling program at an apartment in Ypsilanti. Most residents are unable to transport their recyclables to the recycling center, so they just throw their recyclables into the trash. Bill suggested that the men from his group could visit the apartments once a month to pick up recyclables at residents’ doors and bring them to the temporary recycling center.
This service provides meaningful work experience for the men. It also provides a regular reminder for residents that they provide a valuable service to the community by diverting recyclables from the landfill. St. Francis of Assisi parish agreed to fund the first year of the program’s costs.
JANUARY CLIMATE HERO
Susan spearheaded church-wide attention on the climate at First Presbyterian, Ann Arbor, when she designed an adult education series in 2020 called “Living with Hope in the Age of Climate Change.” The basic idea was that two things are crucial to keeping hopeful: talking frankly with others about the reality we are facing—including who is already being affected most—and taking whatever actions we can, no matter how small they may feel.
In the meantime, she tries to be aware of the impact each decision has on the climate, from how she dries her laundry (in the sun!) to where she contributes or invests money (Veridian!) to where she focuses political energy (the Environmental Voter Project!) to nurturing native plants for ecosystem resilience. She loves public transportation, carpooling, and donating to The Greening of Detroit when she has to fly.
2022 CLIMATE HEROES OF THE MONTH
DECEMBER CLIMATE HERO
Ed Lynn recently retired as volunteer Administrator of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor and is one of the leaders of the congregation’s Climate Action | Climate Justice Team. He has been instrumental in shepherding a plan that addresses all issues identified in an energy audit and next year will increase the congregation’s solar and wind power with 100,000 kWh of solar panels. The plan also includes the replacement of conventional furnaces and AC units with a heat pump system as well as actions to make the 46 acres of congregational property carbon neutral or better.
Ed’s home in Kerrytown has a geothermal heating/cooling system, and a Walkability score of 97, allowing the family to do all food shopping, and a good deal else, on foot.
NOVEMBER CLIMATE HERO
I feel "called" to help folks care for their landscapes/gardens in a way to lure and keep pollinators. As Einstein once said that if the bee becomes extinct, we would only have four years of life left. Every bite of food is dependent upon pollinators. I feel that it is also important that families learn how to grow their own healthy food and need to stop killing pollinators off with all the chemicals sprayed indiscriminately.
Climates are also affected by the oceans. And if we wouldn't cut down so many trees, we would have better carbon sinks. Plants also clean the air (inside and outside our homes) and water of noxious chemicals.
So my bottom line is that helping people create habitats for pollinators and the natural world, protect the soil and water--- and grow their own food is most critical and in this way we can be Good Stewards of the earth. This is where I'm called to serve and I am quite busy presenting throughout Southeast Michigan on these very topics.
OCTOBER CLIMATE HERO
Cathy is passionate about protecting our beautiful planet. She founded a climate action group at her temple, Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, where her husband helped lead the effort to install solar panels. Personal reduce/reuse/recycle projects at the Marshall home include everything from replacing old aluminum windows with high efficiency triple pane windows to driving a hybrid car to composting food scraps to recycling everything that can be recycled to turning downed trees from the yard into furniture. Cathy is a member of six environmental organizations, and worked for a statewide environmental organization, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light, for six years.
SEPTEMBER CLIMATE HERO
Jennifer grew up exploring the woodlands and fields nearby, often waist-deep in the Huron River. “My brother and I are so grateful to our parents for teaching us respect for nature and showing us how all things are interconnected.” She also carries with her the excitement and hope of the 1970s environmental movement – Earth Day, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act – noting that, “It was a powerful time, with a lot of passion for restoring balance and securing a better future for all.” She is encouraged by the resurgence of many of these shared values.
Jennifer feels fortunate to have spent a decade working at the Huron River Watershed Council and for her current position with the City of Ann Arbor’s Office of Sustainability and Innovations. She volunteers for the Dispute Resolution Center and looks forward to returning to volunteering on field trips with the AAPS Environmental Education Program. She also teaches watercolor painting and the accompanying observational skills that encourage students to appreciate the natural wonders all around them.