Welcome to the Grand Traverse Humanists. If you value science, reason, and compassion and believe that humans are responsible for their own destiny, you have come to the right place. We are a community for the non-religious in the Grand Traverse area, offering a forum for discussing and advancing a secular worldview based on our common humanity. Our programs include monthly speakers and discussions, film and book groups, and various volunteer and social events. All are free and open to the public. Check out Upcoming Events below, or click on the calendar. Nontheists, agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, humanists, and more…we welcome you to join us!
Please note: MEETINGS AT THE LIBRARY ARE TEMPORARILY ON HOLD. We are meeting outside in person when possible, and on Zoom as schedules allow. Check the Upcoming Events below for details.
In the last six months, four of our fellow Grand Traverse Humanists have died. We are saddened by the loss of Ed Rom, Walter Foote, Mark Gustafson, and Gordon Grimm. Let us remember them well.
- G.T. Humanists Book Club: Tightrope
Sunday, August 2, 6 p.m. (meeting over Zoom: details to follow)
For their next book club selection, Grand Traverse Humanists will read and discuss “Tightrope” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. We are planning to discuss the book over Zoom meeting (link to follow closer to the event).
Amazon.com description: “The Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of the acclaimed, best-selling “Half the Sky” now issue a plea–deeply personal and told through the lives of real Americans–to address the crisis in working-class America, while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure.
With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightrope draws us deep into an “other America.” The authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon, an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. And while these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. But here too are stories about resurgence, among them: Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as they navigate the chaotic reality of growing up poor; Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation’s drug epidemic. These accounts, illustrated with searing images by Lynsey Addario, the award-winning photographer, provide a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.”
- G.T. Humanists Book Club: Democracy in Chains
Sunday, May 10, 6 p.m.
Grand Traverse Humanists will gather to discuss Nancy MacLean’s book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.” Booklist called it “perhaps the best explanation to date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government.” The Guardian said: “It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century.” More information about the book here: Democracy In Chains
We will hold this discussion over Zoom. Stay tuned for details on how to join in the discussion!
- Meeting at the Library: Loreen Niewenhuis, Lake Walker
Traverse Area District Library, 610 Woodmere Avenue
Monday, March 9, 7 p.m.
Grand Traverse Humanists welcome author and adventurer Loreen Niewenhuis. In 2009, Loreen Niewenhuis walked the perimeter of Lake Michigan and wrote the bestselling book, A 1000-MILE WALK ON THE BEACH. In 2012, she took another long journey, covering 1000 miles of shoreline touching all five Great Lakes. The book about this adventure, A 1000-MILE GREAT LAKES WALK, explores the entire Great Lakes system. Finally, in 2014, she launched off of the shoreline to visit many of the islands of the Great Lakes. In 2015 her book A 1000-MILE GREAT LAKES ISLAND ADVENTURE was released.
Loreen will take you to islands in each of the five Great Lakes and their connecting waters. In words, photos, and video, you’ll explore the geology of the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world and why there are tens of thousands of islands in the Great Lakes basin. She’ll reveal how these islands are diverse in both geological underpinnings and in the life forms existing on the islands. She will also explore some of the scientific research on the islands that she assisted with during her island odyssey. From the wolf-moose study on Isle Royale to the conservation of the endangered piping plover on the Manitou Islands, Niewenhuis will open your eyes and minds to the complexity of life on our Great Lakes islands.
Loreen Niewenhuis has a M.S. degree in the biological sciences and a M.F.A. in writing. She raises important questions about preserving our wild places and protecting the fragile ecosystems on which we all depend.
- G.T. Humanists Winter Sports Outing
4813 N Indian Lake Rd., Traverse City
Sunday, March 1, 2:00 p.m.
Grand Traverse Humanists will meet to ski, snowshoe, or fat bike on the Vasa trail, leaving from Scott and Suzette Blair’s house nearby… meet back for cocoa after! RSVP to Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 231-313-7214.
- Hungry Humanists: North Peak Brewing Co.
400 West Front St., Traverse City
Monday, February 24, 6:30 p.m.
Grand Traverse Humanists will gather to dine at Traverse City’s North Peak Brewing Company. Great food and great beer! Please RSVP to Scott at email@example.com or text 231-313-7214.
- Meeting at the Library: Deb Lake from American Waste
Traverse Area District Library, 610 Woodmere Avenue
Monday, February 10, 7 p.m.
Grand Traverse Humanists present Deb Lake from American Waste with a talk on recycling in 2020. Learn all about the state of the recycling industry and American Waste’s part in it. What can be recycled these days? How should we prepare our recyclables? What happens to our recyclables when they leave the material recovery facility? It was recently announced that American Waste is being acquired by GFL Environmental: what does this mean for AW’s waste and recycling operations? These questions and more will be answered during a presentation that includes video of the recycling machines in action.
Deb Lake is the Marketing Representative for American Waste. She conducts tours of their facility, gives public presentations, and manages their website and other communications.