This is Duke. Duke is the official mascot of respectmyplanet.org. If you checked his legal name on veterinary records, it would say Huckleberry, but everyone that knows him just calls him Duke.
Duke has visited a ton of places in Michigan. He’s been to the Gaylord State Forest Area to see Robert’s Lake just west of the Pigeon River. He’s been to Grand Rapids, Hillsdale, Farmington, Alpena, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, and everywhere in between. Duke has been to more locations in Michigan than most people will ever get a chance to go.
Duke enjoys forests to run through and riverbanks laden with mud to splash down into on a hot summer day. Duke’s a reminder that we need levity sometimes when we work so many long hours to concern ourselves with environmental protection. When it’s tough to agree on things and decisions get stressful, it’s nice to know Duke is there to be our mascot and cut the tension.
Duke does not have a bank account. Frogs don’t have bank accounts either. Nor do turtles, bees, fish, oak trees, pine trees or raccoons. These animals and plants don’t have money to donate to non-profit organizations like respectmyplanet.org but they’re the reason we do what we do here. These plants and animals have needs that are affected by our decisions and play important roles in the environment we know and love. If our rivers, lakes, and fresh water systems cannot support them, they cannot support us either. We need energy solutions that allow the environment to remain healthy so we can all stay healthy too. We need energy solutions that allow our environment to have less risk of pollution and contamination. And, where situations cannot be avoided and our public water resources are put in harm’s way, we need sound regulations free from the bias of avarice or monopoly.
Sometimes it’s difficult for individuals, environmental groups, and industry groups to agree on what’s best for the environment and the balance between commerce, industry, and environmental protection. When things get too serious with all the long hours of work we put in to figure out what’s going on, Duke reminds us to keep it simple.
Having Duke there reminds us to stay focused on long term goals like protecting our rivers and fresh water systems not just for our lifetime, but for our kids, their kids, and generations to come. Our decisions regarding energy solutions should consider the timetables of centuries and millennia, not just election cycles. If an industry cannot operate without simple imperatives, like not threatening our fresh water systems, better solutions must be sought. Unsustainable energy is not a long-term solution. Unsustainable energy is bad for the economy.
Our energy sector should support well paying jobs with longevity that do not pose risks to our fresh water systems. Changing the energy infrastructure of this planet will take years, even decades; but brick by brick we can phase out unsustainable energy and phase in better energy solutions for generations to come. Our focus at respectmyplanet.org remains committed to the principles of gathering reliable data, media, and tools to help determine the best energy solutions going forward for Michigan, America, and the World.
Thanks for being our mascot Duke.