A number of nonprofits and coalitions are doing environmental justice-related work in Detroit and southeast Michigan. Here’s a sampling of some of them.
Published: August 18, 2011
This nonprofit focuses on environmental literacy and helping people understand how to adopt sustainable lifestyles. Located on the city’s east side, the initiative works to reverse the adverse impacts of toxic industrial legacies, climate change and poor past land use. Programs include job training and youth advocacy.
Lead Elimination Action Program Detroit
Focused on the 48213 and 48214 zip codes, LEAP is a coalition composed of nonprofits, universities, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and city departments working to counter the effects of lead on children. It’s funded by a federal grant awarded to the Greater Detroit Area Health Council.
Michigan Diesel Clean-up Campaign
One of the few groups focused on suburban issues, MDCC is a coalition of health professionals and environmental organizations trying to reduce diesel emissions in the state. Their goals include a switch to cleaner fuels and utilizing the latest technology to mitigate current emissions. They are always looking for new volunteers to aid their campaigns, one current one being the “clean air promise,” a general statement of support they hope citizens and politicians alike will sign.
Michigan Environmental Council
A coalition of more than 70 organizations, MEC promotes public policies for environmental sustainability in Michigan. Their broad and considerable priorities — for which they lobby to politicians in Detroit and Lansing — include energy, public health and clean water.
This all-volunteer recycle program has been in operation since 1990. Once a month, these locals accept recyclables at the Rosedale Collection Center, providing a valuable service in a city lacking one. Go to the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation’s website for volunteer information on this and other programs in the Rosedale area.
With its 1.4 million members nationwide, the Sierra Club is one of the few large, mainstream environmental organizations to address justice issues. Local organizers with the club’s Detroit Environmental Justice Project are involved with just about every environmental justice issue in Detroit: the incinerator, pollution and land use, especially in southwest Detroit, the proposed new bridge crossings to Canada and more.
Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision
Originally launched as a project by East Michigan Environmental Action Council and the Southwest Detroit Business Association, SDEV incorporated as its own nonprofit entity in 1993. Now funded by memberships and donations from industries in the area, this group’s focus is on air quality mostly as related to transportation, recycling, land use, abandoned buildings and illegal dumping.
Transit Riders United
Advocating for better public transit and increased access to the existing systems, TRU also seeks more mass transit options for the region. Mass transit improves urban neighborhoods, ensures transportation equity and improves quality of life, TRU believes.
Zero Waste Detroit
A coalition of groups that is lobbying for curbside recycling, Zero Waste Detroit also addresses broader issues of waste management in the city. Efforts are aimed at encouraging curbside recycling, recycling pickup and the elimination of waste incineration.
This list was complied by Aaron Mondry and Sandra Svoboda.
> Email Sandra Svoboda