Week Three- Sierra Club: What’s Next?

I am hoping to see that the summer will be split into two parts— Information and research. I am halfway through my time with the Sierra Club, and I plan to make the most of it!

We have, for so long, been talking about our focus for this summer. Rhonda has broken it down for me into three easy concepts:

Environmental Justice: the fair, non-discriminatory treatment and meaningful involvement of Michigan residents regarding the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies by the State.

Environmental Justice Area/Community: Any census tract with a 30 percent or greater minority population, or 20 percent or greater at or below the federal poverty level.
• The State should use this definition until the State develops its own screening tool and can help further define an Environmental Justice community with more robust data (e.g., using a similar methodology to the CalEnviroScreen tool)

Area of Concern: The area located within ½ mile, or 4 miles in rural areas, of any of the following:
• The boundary of a site where a regulated activity affecting human health and/or environment is/will occur
• Areas where the State, or local government body, is authorized to determine impacts to human health and the environment (e.g., traffic corridors, groundwater plumes, significant air impact, etc.)
• Areas impacted or reasonably expected to be impacted by drainage, watersheds, visual, noise, subsidence, vibration, or odor associated with the regulated activity affecting human health and/or environment

From this, and from our Juneteenth event, I realize the importance of addressing the school to prison pipeline. The poor environmental factors (poisoned air, soil, lack of teachers and resources) sets up the failure of children in Detroit.

I see this as a great opportunity to do a bit of lab work, testing to soil for lead and other toxins in the area code 48217 (a highly known toxic area in Southwest Detroit). This data, combined with the consult of professionals, might make for an interesting publishing (which is my ultimate goal).

All in all, this week was a nice conclusion to a very informative segment of my work for the Sierra Club, and I think its time we change direction to do more research-intensive action!

Time to self-advocate, Peggy!


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