opinion: Michigan is 'bound by decency' to end reliance on fossil fuels
We’re not used to thinking about how we manage our energy needs as a moral issue. But consider this: the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one in six children born today is at risk of brain damage from the mercury released when coal is used to produce electricity. Imported coal from other states currently produces 60 percent of Michigan’s energy.
Our own Department of Natural Resources warns pregnant women not to eat too much fish from our beautiful Great Lakes, lest they ingest too much mercury and harm their unborn children. Burning coal for energy causes these high levels of mercury.
Love does no harm to its neighbors, but our over-reliance on coal is doing harm.
Is this acceptable to us?
We will continue to be dependent on fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) for years to come. But we are bound by decency to reduce this dependence, especially on the most polluting fossil fuel: coal. It’s a moral issue.
It’s time for Michigan to do what more than 30 other states have done: commit ourselves to a higher (and more moral) energy standard. The Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs proposal would do just that: raise our use of renewable energy to 25 percent by 2025. It’s a modest measure, not a radical step. Currently Iowa gets 23 percent of its energy from clean renewable energy compared to Michigan’s 3.9 percent. Gosh, can’t we do better?
Our church, the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, is committed to something we call Creation Care, based on the Biblical command to care for this glorious creation as good stewards. We’ve been working together to improve our energy use as a congregation along with many other congregations, with the help of Michigan Interfaith Power & Light.
It takes cooperation — as every parent who reminds their child to turn off lights and pick up their clothes knows. We can do some good as individuals, but we can only do better, together. The Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs proposal, on the ballot in November, is a way for the citizens of our state to say, “We can do better together!”
Join us in this cause, and remember to vote Yes! on the Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs proposal this November. For more information on the initiative and to learn how you and your congregation can get involved, visit the campaign’s website at www.MIenergyMIjobs.com.
Ken Wilson is the Senior Pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, and author most recently of Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer (Thomas Nelson, 2010).