MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP — The Meridian Township Board recently approved its 2024 budget, continuing the initiative to put more money towards sustainability.
According to a Sept. 19 press release, Meridian Township became one of the first municipalities in the state of Michigan to adopt a Climate Sustainability Plan in 2017. The plan was meant to save money, energy and resources while strategizing to reduce climate change impacts. The township put efforts into improving natural areas as well.
“We have a goal of providing most of our electricity from renewable energy,” said LeRoy Harvey, the environmental programs coordinator for Meridian Township.
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan states that in 2021, under 10 percent of the electricity in the state of Michigan was generated by renewable sources. This is a low number, but Harvey hopes Meridian Township will become one of the cities in Michigan that leads by example and this budget is a start.
“I am very pleased with the continuing efforts being put towards our future as a town,” said Frederick Hambly, a resident of Meridian Township. “Climate change is a real issue for as all and I love the idea of trying to become focused on renewable energy.”
The Citizens Research council of Michigan website contains in depth research regarding the topic of renewable energy, specifically in the state. They wrote that not every mile in Michigan is equipped for renewable energy development, but much of the state, specifically the areas full of agriculture, have the ability to add wind turbines with ease. Farmers are able to lease portions of their land out for these methods, so this is a win-win scenario.
Solar and hydro energy are two other renewable energy forms that could be used throughout the state.
“I have been looking into purchasing some solar panels for my home, and am probably going to do it after hearing how motivated the township is to keep going with this initiative,” Hambly said. “If I can save money, while also helping the environment, I’m in.”
The same press release mentions that they have motivation and interest from many in the neighborhood, for many environmental-related reasons. Wetland protection, flooding prevention, and pollution prevention are a few specifics that were brought up.
“Safety, security, and economic saving are all other benefits to this program,” Harvey added. “We don’t all have to agree on the reasons or even the choices, but there are many solutions that are a win-win: offering economic savings, environmental benefits, and leading by example.”
Meridian Township has support from its residents and that is critical in the fight against climate change.
“It is exciting to live in a community that’s passionate about their natural environment,” Trustee Courtney Wisinski said in the Sept. 19 release. “The Environmental Commission has committed resources to assist community members with their sustainability efforts.”
Meridian Township and its residents have found a way to help each other out by supporting the plan and therefore getting assistance back from the township, creating a “help me, help you.” Harvey mentioned wanting the township to be an example for many others across the state, and this is a great start.
There is still work to be done to reach the goal of becoming one of the first towns to rely almost fully on sustainable energy sources, but fostering these sustainability efforts is what makes it possible in the first place.
“It is exciting to be in a community that has a goal like this, and I am proud to be from Meridian Township,” Hambley said.