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Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice call out Trump for dangerous energy plan

i Aug 10th No Comments by

Trump’s plan to burn more coal and increase dangerous pollution a threat to public health

DETROIT – Kimberly Hill Knott, Director of Policy for Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, issued the following statement today in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s speech to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, Aug. 8.

“Mr. Trump’s irresponsible energy plan would threaten the health of Detroiters and families across Michigan. Burning coal spews dangerous pollution into our air and has been linked to premature death, increased asthma rates and other respiratory diseases, especially in low-income and communities of color.  All communities deserve clean air to breathe, which is why Trump’s plan to dismantle important air quality protections and increase dangerous pollution is reckless and a major step backward. It is clear that coal company profits are much more important to Trump than the health and well-being of the American people.”

“Mr. Trump’s claim that the ‘war on coal has cost Michigan over 50,000 jobs’ is completely false. Even DTE and Consumers Energy have indicated that no jobs have been lost as a result of coal-plant closures. Moreover, it seems that Mr. Trump doesn’t understand that Michigan is not a producer of coal and we import 100 percent of the coal we burn from other states.”

“Michigan has taken great strides to reduce dangerous pollution from coal-burning power plants by utilizing clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Michigan’s clean energy sector has created more than 87,000 jobs while reducing dangerous pollution and saving lives. We challenge Candidate Trump to meet with environmental justice advocates and see how dangerous pollution threatens the lives of children, families and seniors in low-income communities. We need leaders who will stand up for the most impacted communities and reduce dangerous pollution, not make it worse.”

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DWEJ is a nonprofit that champions local and national collaboration to advance environmental justice and sustainable redevelopment by fostering clean, healthy and safe communities through innovative policy, education and workforce initiatives.

It’s True: Green Energy Helps the Poor

i Aug 10th No Comments by

This is letter to the editor in response to this Detroit News column: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2016/08/04/green-energy-hurts-poor/88282074/

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July, Our Best Session Yet

i Aug 1st No Comments by

By Courtney Chennault

The Detroit Climate Ambassadors are on a roll! Thanks to everyone who came to our gathering on Saturday, July 16, at the Congress of Communities on Vernor Highway.  

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Guest speaker Jeffrey Jones at the Detroit Climate Ambassadors Gathering

Guest speaker Jeffrey Jones shared his powerful story of how he and his neighbors have addressed environmental challenges in their community, Hope Village. Jones’s day job may be Doing Development Differently in metro Detroit (D4), but much of what also drives his work in his neighborhood is Bounce Back Detroit, organized by him and his wife, Doretha. When they first proposed creating a community rain garden, many people were skeptical. Jones sites the experience of making Hope Village’s rain garden a reality as a great example of how to make positive change in local neighborhoods, even when there are doubters. Hope Village now has not only a beautiful rain garden, but also a “Little Library.” Their “literacy rain garden” has washed away some of the neighborhood’s drug activity, sprouted seeds of camaraderie between neighbors, and supported a budding interest in reading.  

Jones also talked about another initiative on the horizon: a transformation of the Davison Cut into a walk/bike path. Jones’s vision is that this area will facilitate safe and emission-free transportation against the backdrop of plants, art, and smiling faces, similar to the Dequindre Cut.

We also heard from University of Michigan Dearborn Assistant Professor Natalie Sampson, who teaches in the Department of Health and Human Services. She discussed an exciting new project in which Detroiters will share their own climate change stories. How have heat, rain, flooding impacted your life? What was that storm really like? What can we do? She’s currently looking for people who are willing to tell their stories. You’ll then learn how to become that fabulous “storyteller” you’ve always wanted to be under the guidance of Chiquita McKenzie. If you’re interested, contact Natalie at nsampson@umich.edu.

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Rain Garden at Hope Village in Detroit

Finally, we discussed current green projects to check out in Detroit! These include urban farms, youth-focused nature center projects, a solar beltway, and others.  

We now have a standing gathering time: the 3rd Saturday of the month, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. So put the next Detroit Climate Ambassadors gathering on your calendar now: Saturday, August 20, at Detroit Unity Temple, 17505 Second Avenue (basement). In the next month, feel free to dream up some ideas to talk about, some projects to implement, maybe choose one place from the “green project” list below and go see what it looks like.

And then come on back next time—that’s August 20 at 10 a.m.—for some action. Detroit Climate Ambassadors, an initiative of DWEJ’s Detroit Climate Action Collaborative, really are the change in our neighborhoods. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone (and your friends) next month! For more information, email aiko@dwej.org.