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April 08, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-08

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4A - Monday, April 8, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Monday, April 8, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigsndaily.com

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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
A city in its own right
Downtown revitalization should be a priority for Ann Arbor
L ast week the Ann Arbor City Council voted 7-3 on a city ordi-
nance designed to place new limitations on the Downtown
Development Authority. The DDA, an arm of the city govern-
ment tasked with improving the downtown area, is seeing a potential
re-appropriation of approximately $1 million on projected tax revenues
of nearly $4 million. With Ann Arbor's downtown booming financially
and projected growth continuing to rise, the DDA is in a position to
see its revenue significantly increase. Many city leaders say this isn't
necessary, arguing that the revenue could be put to better use outside
the downtown area. As all city ordinance changes require two separate
votes, the City Council should rethink what is truly at stake and reverse
its initial decision. The City Council should not redirect this revenue
from the DDA to the detriment of downtown Ann Arbor.

Fun?It'll costya'

The DDA shouldn't be penalized for doing
its job, let alone for doing it well. Of the total
taxes collected within the DDA district in 2011,
only 17 percent was allocated to the DDA itself.
Ann Arbor public schools and the city of Ann
Arbor took the lion's share, together appropri-
ating nearly 50 percent of all downtown tax
disbursements. The city government wanting
to acquire more revenue for its own purposes
sets an uneasy precedent. "Excesses" shouldn't
be diverted to agencies the city deems more
worthy of the funds.
The city of Ann Arbor is clearly making an
effort to become more of a city than a suburb.
with the development of new high rises, the
addition of several new businesses and many
innovative transportation initiatives, Ann
Arbor has progressively gone from a quirky
quasi-suburb of Detroit to a city in its own right
- in part due to the work of the DDA. From the

streamlining of parking services to the promo-
tion of community involvement, downtown has
become a place to visit.
Similarly, the revitalization of downtown has
helped spark the growth of Ann Arbor itself.
Downtown should not merely be considered
by the City Council as a zone whose taxes are
dispersed in a certain way, but as an entity that
helps define and catalyze the character of Ann
Arbor as a whole. To jeopardize this in order to
divert an additional $1 million in taxes to other
agencies - a mere 1.2 percent of the city's pro-
jected revenues - is a disservice to both the city
and to those who reside within it.
Ultimately this decision will reflect where
the priorities of the city's leaders lie. Though
the city government of Ann Arbor may benefit
in the short term from an additional stream of
revenue, it will be at the expense of both the
DDA and downtown in the long term.

h, finals week. With it
comes crowded libraries,
sleep-deprived kids and
those therapeu-
tic dogs we pet to
relieve stress. As
always, Counsel-
ing and Psycho-
logical Services
and the Univer-
sity willbe in
full force trying JAMES
to help balance BRENNAN
our stress, even
bringing out
massage chairs
for us. While there's a large focus
on resources to relieve our stress,
no one seems to be asking about the
negative effects of getting stressed
out in the first place.
I think it goes without saying that
stress is a major detriment to one's
health. Physically, it can contribute
to heart problems, headaches and
high blood pressure, among other
issues. Even worse are the effects of
stress on mental health, which can
contribute to anxiety and depres-
sion. In fact, lifelong mental illness
is considered to be largely contin-
gent on high levels of stress in a
person's life.
In October, The New York Times
published a profile of a small island
in Greece called Ikaria, famous for
its residents' excellent health and
long lives. The article attempts to
explain exactly what it is about
Ikaria that is so good for human
health by looking into the average
Ikarian's lifestyle. According to the
article, people in Greek islands typ-
ically eat a Mediterranean diet with
lots of organic vegetables, olive oil,
and honey, and very little dairy or
meat; sleep over eight hours every
night; drink two to four glasses of'
wine per day and walk essentially
everywhere. Furthermore, they
spend much of their day outdoors,

avoid white flour and refined sugar
and have sex regularly.
The people of Ikaria live very
simply, with few cares, worries
or sources of stress. In almost all
aspects, students at a school like
Michigan have a lifestyle that is
completely at odds with the interest
of their long-term health.
Many of us eat food that's simply
terrible for us, sleep only a few hours
most nights, spend a great deal of our
time being stressed about the future,
and - yes, I'm going here - drink
and use drugs in horrific amounts.
We can exercise, pet dogs and talk
to people at CAPS during finals week
all we want, but our long-term health
problems won't just go away. The
food will still poison our bodies and
the stress will still eat away at our
mental health.
In some instances, we make
choices that sacrifice our health
for our enjoyment. If someone
was willing to give up a few years
of their life to be able to eat what-
ever they want, then that's fine.
The same goes for smoking, drink-
ing, using drugs and living with
the stress of school or a job. We all
make trade-offs - as comedian Bill
Maher is fond of saying, "Fun costs
ya'." However, that doesn't mean
we should just do what we want all
the time. Good health is an under-
valued commodity and something
we believe comes from doctors and
medication. The best medicine isn't
something a doctor and pharma-
cist doles out - the best medicine
is self-prescribed, and it certainly
doesn't require good insurance.
Recent studies have increasingly
suggested that a diet with less meat
and dairy does wonders for ones
physical and mental health, while
the same results come from a good
night's sleep and lower levels of
stress. Incorporating these adjust-
ments into a daily routine could

significantly improve a person's
long-term health.
At this critical junction in our
lives, when many of us decide on a
path that may end up as our personal
norm for decades, we need to also
consider how to manage our health
in the long run. If you take the dream
job that pays six figures but requires
sixty-plus hours a week, what will
the rest of your life look like? Con-
sider how often you'll be eating fast
food, how much you'll sleep and how
much time you'll spend emotion-
ally drained from stress. For some
individuals that's all a part of their
dream, and they'll gladly make the
sacrifice. Many students that work
hard enough to get into the Univer-
sity and succeed here probably want
that life to some extent. The question
is, is it worth it?
As much as they
drive us, our
ambitions may very
well be our downfall.
Our ambitions and dreams, as
much as they drive us, may very well
be our downfall. As we continue to
sacrifice more just to get ahead, we're
essentially setting ourselves up for
a Faustian bargain. We might get
what we want - the grades, the job
or acceptance to graduate school -
but lose ourselves as we do it. I want
to live a long life, and I want to be
healthy and happyforthe durationof
it. If that means giving up the corner
office, I guess that's a sacrifice I just
have tobe willing to make.
- James Brennan can be
reached at jmbthree@umich.edu.


Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Eric Ferguson, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba,
Michael Spaeth, Daniel Wang, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
Dirty polluters, dirty investments


On April 3, hundreds of students passing
through the Diag saw a lawn staked with
orange flags and saw statements provided by
over half of the Divest and Invest Coalition's
partner groups. This was the first event put
on by the Divest and Invest campaign aimed
at educatingthe greater University communi-
ty, rather than just interested students, about
why divestment from fossil fuels is the right
action for our university to take in the fight
against climate change.
The goal of the Divest and Invest campaign
is for the University to disclose and divest
all of the nearly $8-billion endowment's
almost $1 billion that's invested in the fossil
fuel industry - hence the orange flags, each
representing $1 million of our endowment
invested - and then to reinvest in environ-
mentally, socially and economically respon-
sible companies. Part of a national movement,
we of the Divest and Invest campaign and the
national divestment movement acknowledge
that the fossil fuel industry will not be hurt
by universities' divestment. We aim to change
the national attitude toward fossil fuels and
the political climate surrounding them. If
enough people acknowledge that the only
way to combat climate change is to target the
fossil fuel industry - by far the biggest con-
tributor to our Earth's destruction - then
politicians will stop accepting massive dona-
tions from the fossil fuel industry and start
voting in favor of the climate.
You're probably all sick of hearing about
how climate change is destroying the Earth's
ecosystems and environment. But, some-
thingthat is less widely understood is climate
change's affect on humans. It's obvious that
humans will be greatly affected if our air is
so polluted that we can't breathe. But what I
want to explain is how climate change is also
a human rights and social justice issue.
If you grew up in an affluent community,
chances are there wasn't a coal-fired power
plant or an oil refinery in your backyard. What
do you think would happen if one of these
were proposed to be built near your house?

Dirty polluters that would make you, your
family and your neighbors sick are very rarely
found in middle to upper-class zip codes, but
they're all too common in places where resi-
dents don't have the resources (i.e. money)
to fight back. These dirty energy facilities
are located in areas comprised primarily by
minorities, and in communities with limited
access to hospitals or healthcare. Residents of
cities like Detroit, which has the largest trash
incinerator in the world, suffer higher rates
of asthma, heart problems, hypertension,
cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes
than residents of communities without large
sources of pollution.
When social justice meets environmen-
talism, you get environmental justice. Envi-
ronmental justice activists aim to fight back
against dirty-energy facilities in low-income
communities, and they aim to shed light on
the fact that those of us in the western world
- mainly Americans - use 99 percent of the
energy that causes climate change, but are
currently only receiving1 percent of the nega-
tive affects. In countries like Bangladesh and
Myanmar, coastal residents are being forced
to move inland due to rising sea levels. People
are forced to leave their homes, where their
families have lived for hundreds of years, and
migrate to less favorable conditions inland.
These are just a few of countless cases
where human beings are being mistreated
and negatively affected by the destruction of
our Earth. This is why the Divest and Invest
campaign has partnered with organizations
like Human Rights Through Education,
United Students Against Sweatshops and
Students for Choice. The movement against
fossil fuels is about much more than lowering
the rising sea levels and making sure winter
sticks around. It's about the people who we
share our Earth with. Whether or not you feel
a connection toward nature, we can all agree
that every human has the right to stay in their
homes and breathe clean air.
Marissa Solomon is an LSA sophomore.

"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."
-the- Abraham Lincoln
M Lincoln Logs: Between exams, work and club meetings, it's hard to
o IP U fit in time for campus events. Harsha Nahata reminds us why it's
important to firmly step out of our daily routines.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium
DIY student government

The recent drama surround-
ing the Central Student Gov-
ernment elections has made
alot of people,
lose faith in the
campaign prom-
ises we may have
voted for. With
student politi-
cians only seem-
ing to care about,
well, politics, it HEMA
isn't clear what KARUNA-
improvements, if KAlAM
any, might actu-
ally be made on
this campus. And what about the 76
percent of students who didn't even
vote in these elections? For many,
there's uncertainty about how cam-
pus can be safer and more comfort-
able for everyone.
But, here's the secret I've slowly
discovered over the past few semes-
ters here: we shouldn't have to look
toward any student organizations,
CSG or otherwise, to speak up for
us. Sure, groups standing in soli-
darity may achieve greater goals in
the long run than an individual. But
that doesn't mean one person can't
take a small step in the right direc-
tion by themselves.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a column
about the low-quality food that I
and many others on campus have
encountered in the University din-
ing halls. In addition to my column,
I also sent in a formal complaint via

the online dining feedback system.
Within one week, my inbox con-
tained personal apologies from the
manager of South Quad Residence
Hall's dining hall, the associate
vice president of the University's
Division of Student Affairs and the
senior associate director of Univer-
sity Housing. The latter invited me
to meet in person in the next week
to discuss concerns and sugges-
tions I have.
I'm not any kind of specialist in
dining, nor am I any sort of serial
activist that routinely takes on such
pet projects. I'm just a student that
has used two particular privileges:
providing feedback to University
dining and submitting an article to
this newspaper. So why am I hearing
back from so many administrators
and being asked to help make chang-
es with the problems I've observed?
Because I've taken advantage of
these privileges - resources that,
in fact, every student on this cam-
pus has. What holds so many people
back from speaking up about things
on this campus that they don't like?
It's true that not every concern
falls upon ears that want to lis-
ten. I've seen plenty of students
struggle with serious issues such
as financial aid and racial profil-
ing whose complaints haven't been
properly addressed by adminis-
trators. But there are just as many
students, if not more, who whine to
their friends instead of anyone who
could actually help. One of the best

things about this university is that
for nearly every problem there are
a multitude of resources to reach
out to.
In light of recent events, for
many, student government may no
longer be one of those resources.
But plenty of other resources are
just a quick Google search away.
If you want change
on campus, you
have to ask for
it yourself.
There's always someone to talk
to. If you don't feel close enough
to your residential advisor or you
find your professor intimidating or
you aren't sure who your student
government representatives are,
there's someone out there who can
help you that is just a phone call or
e-mail away. You don't have to fall
in the trap of failed political cam-
paigns and broken promises for
campus improvement to feel like
you are being heard. We shouldn't
need to rely on anyone else to speak
for us - if you want to see a change,
ask for it yourself.
- Hema Karunakaram can be
reached at khema@umich.edu.


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cartoons and join in the debateonline.
Check out @michdailyoped and Facebook.com/Michigan Daily



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