We have been busy this year, thanks to your support!

December 19, 2013

 Dear Friend;

As 2013 comes to a close, we send you well wishes for the new year and invite you to continue your support with a tax deductible donation.
We have been busy this year, thanks to your support!
Courtesy of Anthony Lockhart

We kicked off the year by collaboratively fundraising with staff and friends to support the restoration and replacement of windows in the historic 3-building complex that was gifted to EMEAC by the Unitarian Universalist Detroit church. Together we raised close to $100,000 in grants and donations to reduce energy costs in the complex and invest in an important community resource. The campus houses six community organizations and hosts numerous meetings and gatherings by local, state and national groups and individuals.  We are excited about the work we've done so far and look forward to showcasing the windows, beautiful architecture and woodwork, and more as part of our historic building tour schedule in the new year.
Additionally, EMEAC continued its environmental and climate justice work through the media, youth and policy advocacy teams. For example, our youth team sent young leaders to participate in and lead conversations at the Our Power Camp in Black Mesa, AZ (June), Global PowerShift in Istanbul (July) and PowerShift in Pittsburgh (October). They organized several community report backs and information shares and have been meeting weekly to plan their work in the coming year.

Members, friends and supporters have helped EMEAC create engaging and interactive learning experiences with children and families to deepen relationships with nature and to learn about healthy lifestyles -- characteristics we consider important in creating an environmentally just world.  EMEAC's summer program interns, whose ages ranged from 14 to 19, designed a series of justice superheroes to be used as popular education tools for younger children learning about the many parts of the food system, including access to quality land, water, air and more.

EMEAC staff also continued to work collaboratively with other local, state and national allies to bring about greater awareness of issues facing communities impacted by environmental injustices.  As a steering committee member of the Climate Justice Alliance, EMEAC has worked with other grassroots groups around the country to move toward what we call a Just Transition from heavy reliance on polluting fossil fuels to greater use of more sustainable, renewable forms of energy, while consuming less.

You will be able to read more about our great work in our end of year newsletter (available the end of this week) and in the 2013 Annual Report, which will be sent out the end of January.  

In 2014 we will continue to foster collaborations among environmental and justice groups in an effort to create and support green and just solutions to race, poverty and environmental concerns in southeast Michigan.  With your support we will be able to build space for Detroit and grassroots leaders nationwide to model share, to expand digital justice capacity and cultivate the next generation of earth's caretakers.  We hope that you will help us make all of our programs possible with your gift.  Please click here to donate online or send your contribution to EMEAC 4605 Cass Ave Detroit, MI 48201.

On behalf of the EMEAC staff and Board of Directors we wish you a peaceful holiday season and a Happy New Year.
There is so much to say, but what feels most important is the work we have done and the promise of what lies before us.  Your donation of $50, $75, $100, or more will help support EMEAC's development in environmental justice, media activism, green lifestyles, collaborative leadership.  Please give here.
Thank you from the East Michigan Environmental Action Council Board of Directors: Victor Arbulu, Talitha Johnson, Hugh McDiramid, Bill McKnight, Adela Nieves, Odessa Murphy and Michael Spencer.


CFA Interns Treat EMEAC Staff to Sweet Potato Smoothies

December 18, 2013


We can't believe it's December already! So many wonderful things happened this year, best of all, the work we did with our Catherine Ferguson Academy Interns!

CFA Interns from right to left: Tandra, Angelique, Harlyn, Dunia

We've decided to finish out the year by showcasing the work on healthy eating and sustainable food systems that the young ladies have worked on throughout the semester.  One of the more popular efforts they put together was the Sweet Potato, Apple and Banana Smoothie that they made for the entire EMEAC staff.

Sweet Potato Apple Banana Smoothie
1 medium sweet potato, cooked, unpeeled and cooled
1 cup skim milk, or non-dairy milk (we used Almond Milk), or Apple Cider or combination!
1 small banana
1/2 golden delicious apple, halved 
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and dash cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1 tablespoon honey or other sweetener, to taste (We used turbinado sugar or agave nectar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

2 cups  ice cubes

After the CFA Interns mixed all the ingredients together in the mixer, the Interns then poured the smoothie into cups and delivered them to EMEAC staff throughout the building. Here is how EMEAC's environment educator Sanaa felt about the smoothie!


Updates on EMEAC's Aquaponics Lab

December 17, 2013

We are delighted to report on some exciting developments with East Michigan Environmental Action Council's (EMEAC) newly installed Aquaponics system! Aquaponics is, "a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water."

The current EMEAC Aquaponics lab started 3 years ago as a collaboration between Nsoroma Institute and EMEACs environmental education program. This past summer, after the close of Nsoroma, the lab was relocated into the small courtyard at our building, Cass Corridor Commons.

We are currently winterizing the Aquaponics system so it is ready for the long cold Michigan winter! Some of the steps we've taken are as follows:
A hoop house has been fashioned as a temporary experiment on how an Aquaponics system can exist outdoors in a cold climate.   The hoop house works to hold heat, so we will add another layer of plastic and bubble wrap to the hoop house to help keep it even warmer before winter sets in. In addition, EMEAC's building manager, Kim Sherobi, arranged for a dedicated outdoor electrical outlet to be installed. Because of her efforts, we now have three added heaters to keep the water warm.  

We will also be adding plants to the system. We need to add more plants to the system to be sure there is enough filtration to keep the fish water clean.  EMEAC's Aquaponics team travelled to Chicago in October to visit Aquaponics expert, Emmanuel Pratt. While there, Pratt suggested we need more than double the amount of plants than we currently have in our lab. Pratt gave us some seedlings from his operation, and the seedlings will be installed after replacing the leaking pond liner on the second level of the system.
In addition to adding the plants, we will need to add at least one more grow light.  Grow lights will also help keep the plants and hoop house warm.  The downfall of the the particular grow light we use is that is pulls lots of energy. For now, we will use the light  we have and get at least one other grow light for the system and several more energy efficient grow lights for seedlings to be grown in the EMEAC Environmental Lab.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Updates on EMEAC's Aquaponics!


Film Highlights from Green Screen 2013

December 13, 2013

Weren't able to make it to Green Screen 2013? Or maybe you were able to attend, but wanted to revisit some of the films shown that night? You're in luck! Below you will find selected film highlights from Green Screen 2013!

Selected Film Highlights Green Screen 2013

Submission #1 Climate Justice Save the Animals

Submission 4: Distraction News

Submission 2: Strawberry Banana Smoothies at Nsoroma

Submission: 5 What's Poppin?

Boo Bug Celebrates 5th Year at Belle Isle

Hi, my name is Diana Copeland and I'm the co-director of East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC). I'm going to tell you about our event that took place at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo called "Boo Bug Bonanza."

Boo Bug Bonanza is EMEAC’s annual Fall festivity that we do in partnership with the Belle Isle Nature Zoo of Detroit. EMEAC always offers a variety of healthy food and Fall fun activities that are good for indoors or outdoors. This year, we had several hundred people that came through and did activities with us. Our activities included deer feeding, learning about arachnids, and creating spider art projects.

One of our activities was also a story time, which I helped put together. I told a story to the kids and their families about Coyote and talked a little bit about the origins of storytelling and Coyote as a figure in Native American folklore. I also shared how stories can be used to teach lessons, pass down information about cultures and families, learn about animals that live here in Michigan and just have fun.

During these activities, we had lots of healthy food options available, like a delicious vegetarian chili, hot and cold cider and freshly popped popcorn.

The evening wrapped up with families going around with their Trick-or-Treat bags and getting different healthy treats at different stations around the Belle Isle Nature Zoo. This year's Boo Bug Bonanza was a very successful event, and I'm looking forward to participating again next year.

Young Educators Alliance Report Back on Power Shift Conference

On December 3rd, 2013, EMEAC's Young Educators Alliance and Re-Media program hosted a community report back where they detailed different trips each group has taken to different conferences  in the past year. YEA focused on their trip to the Power Shift Conference in Pittsburgh. EMEAC's Youth director, William Copeland, put together this quick clip for those who couldn't attend the report back in person! We also live tweeted the event. For live tweeting coverage of events and environmental news, you can follow our twitter feed at: twitter.com/emeac