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Hundreds attend climate change talk featuring Vice President Kamala Harris at U of M

Priya Vijayakumar
Michigan Radio
Vice President Kamala Harris (right) in conversation with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm (left) and School for Environment and Sustainability Professor Kyle Whyte (far left).

Vice President Kamala Harris was in Ann Arbor Thursday for a talk on the fight against climate change.

Speakers preceding the Vice President's appearance included Leshaun Jackson, co-President of the University of Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition, and Democratic politicians like Ann Arbor Mayor Chris Taylor, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

Granholm and U of M School for Environment and Sustainability Professor Kyle Whyte then took the stage to moderate a conversation on climate change with the vice president, who arrived to a standing ovation.

Harris said the federal government will be infusing the economy with about $1 trillion in the fight against climate change. She said that money would come through funding bills, in particular the Inflation Reduction Act.

She also told students in the crowd that they would be leading the fight, and encouraged them to form coalitions with groups fighting for civil rights and economic justice.

Tracy Samilton
Michigan Radio
Students rally against Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in front of Rackham Auditorium, during climate change talk featuring Vice President Kamala Harris and other dignitaries.

"In the midst of a time in our country where there are so many so-called powerful people, who are trying to divide our country and spread and spew hate, one of the most powerful things we can do is build coalition to remind people they are not alone and that we are in this together," the vice president said.

During the talk, a group of pro-Palestine students gathered outside Rackham Auditorium, waving Palestinian flags and calling for an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

The group also called on Vice President Harris to denounce greenwashing — the corporate practice of pledging support for the environment and addressing climate change, while doing little or even harming the environment in reality.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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