Environmental Injustice in Detroit

After reading an online article from the Michigan Daily news paper, I became a bit more informed of an environmental justice struggle in Michigan’s most talked about city, Detroit. This article, published in 2014, details the educational field trip that future public health and social justice workers take in order to learn more about the city and its, heaviest areas of environmental struggle.

Historically, Detroit’s residential and industrial districts were built fairly close to one another. After the great influx of employment opportunities in the 1920s, auto workers and other middle class families that could afford to leave for the suburbs left behind the less advantaged. After much time had passed and the continued degradation of environmental conditions, many were left to fend for themselves, while large corporations and other big organizations did not provide any incentive to work for better conditions. For a while, Detroit has been used as a case study, as these places are visited for the educational purposes of awareness and activity.┬áThe students were taken to places such as the Rouge Steel Plant, Marathon Oil Refinery, and the Detroit Municipal wast incinerator: these are all part of what is called the “Toxic Tour.

As of recently, within the past few decades, grassroots organizations as well as companies have teamed up with the local neighborhoods in Detroit with a goal of providing a safer community that greatly reduces its environmental footprint. It is interesting to discover how unequally the environmental pollution is distributed among the state of Michigan but at the same time it is much more uplifting to know that the awareness is being spread and that greater efforts are being made so that the once great city of Detroit does not continue to degrade into an environmental oblivion.

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One thought on “Environmental Injustice in Detroit

  1. From an environmental justice point of view, I would say this is perfectly justified. Detroit has been known for its struggle in safety, cleanliness, neighborhood rejuvenation, you name it. It has been trying to redeem itself for quite a while now, and is a continuous work in progress. I personally believe grassroots organizations are usually always the best ones in terms of intention and genuineness. Anyone who has the intentions of making a not so great and safe place somewhat safe and pleasant is worth putting faith into. Awareness is key to prevent further abuse of our environment, and to make sure people don’t continue on the destructive path so many of us have been on for so long.

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