On the first day of work my boss Ronda Anderson told me to read this article, so I could catch up on the area and what is happening. I was taken on a roller coaster of emotions, flip-flopping from anger, despair and hope. A prominent cause for my anger is the state of Michigan, and specifically the Department of Environmental Quality for continually prioritizing the bottom lines of corporations and not the health and lives of the people who live around said corporations. Though frankly I am not surprised by this as they are the same people who let the Flint water crisis happen, that does not stop the anger though. The anger quickly subsides to me thinking that the world is completely and utterly screwed. That feeling continues to fight with my blind optimism and naiveté. This article does point out that there are people who genuinely care and who are actively fighting for the communities of River Rouge, Ecorse, and 48217 (Southwest Detroit). They’re only people though, and even though corporations are technically people, it’s like David and Goliath. It’s an X-Wing versus a Death Star without any exploitable faults, or me versus a Transformer. Point being, it is a bleak situation.
The thing is when I learned about the industrial revolution and read about the slums that people lived in, coated in pollutants that poured out of smokestacks, I thought that was a thing of the past. It isn’t, it never was, the pollution is still there pouring out of the smokestacks, people still live beneath those smokestacks and inhale those pollutants daily. It is shameful that we allow for thousands of people to be poisoned for economic purposes. Then again good things happen too, the coal plant in River Rouge is going to be shuttered in a few years, bringing an immediate increase in air quality to the region. There is the Clean Power Plan that will help bring a wave of environmentally friendly development to the area. There is also a new air monitor that will be installed thanks to work done by community members at New Mount Hermon Baptist church in 48217. Even though the situation is quite bleak, which the article certainly illustrates, there is still reason to stay hopeful. So even if the state could not care less about what happens to the communities, so long as all of the amazing people, mentioned and unmentioned in the article, continue to have hope and continue to work hard each day trying to improve the lives of people, then at the very least I can work my hardest and be hopeful as well.