Toxic Inspiration


You need to attend the Toxic Tour of Detroit, no matter what your discipline of study is. It occurs in the fall semester, and is meant to build awareness around environmental issues that are happening in Detroit.

Yes, I will admit that I am biased. As a native Detroiter, I feel that any issue that Detroit is facing, I am facing. But I promise that if you are completely and unapologetically disinterested in the City of Detroit, that going on the Toxic Tour of Detroit will get you engaged. The environmental issues affecting Detroit are more than likely happening in the area that you are from, or at least not too far from it.

Detroit Institute of Arts

The tour made me think of many things, such as what can be done with industrial structures that are no longer in use, and how communities can organize themselves and successfully get their demand for a healthier environment where they live realized.

Highlighted on the tour were landmarks that have toxic environmental implications such as the Detroit Incinerator, the site of the Old Uniroyal Plant, the Ambassador Bridge, and the Packard Plant in Hamtramck. U of M faculty as well as local environmental activists led the tour.  As a native Detroiter, I was proud to see such a great deal of efforts being organized around environmental issues, many of which were led by locals. The tour showed me the challenges that environmental activists in my city are facing.

In between going from one environmental hazardous area to the next, were attractions such as the DIA, but also some of the most beautiful, historic neighborhoods on the planet.

Detroit Incinerator

I felt a sense of personal obligation after going on the tour. Now that I am aware of the environmental issues that are facing Detroit, I can no longer ignore what I am no longer ignorant to. Although I do not know what my role in environmental activism in Detroit will be, I am certain that I will have one.

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