EMEAC Programs

March 24, 2014

EMEAC's Programs and New Direction

EMEAC's Just Transition Plan

We build community power through environmental justice education, youth development, and collaborative relationship building.

EMEAC carries out its work in a city that is home to some of the nation’s worst extreme energy offenders, including the country’s largest incinerator and one of the largest tar sands refinery expansions.
  • Highest urban rate for asthma in children * contributing factor Trash to Energy Incenerator
  • Largest Waste water treatment plant at peak flow, that violates the clean water act everytime it rains. * need more green infrastructure deployment
  • hundred of brownfields and superfund sites from legacy corporate polluters with significant mercury, lead and cadium in top soils.

There is opportunity to build on the momentum of work taking place in Detroit to move away from investing in these dirty energy sources and toward a clean energy future.  

There are three main strategies that we will employed to build community resilience in Detroit’s climate JUST TRANSTION: youth, family and community led organizing; political education; and trans-local network building to build new and grassroots economies.  Each is described further below.

Youth, Family and Community Organizing

There is a tradition in Detroit of challenging injustices that stretches back decades.  We want to carry this legacy into the present and future by cultivating a core of youth organizers who can play a critical role in bringing about positive change in Detroit. 

Organizing Youth: Youth organizers will be trained as organizers in practice (by actually learning-while-doing) and through organizing exchanges with youth from ally organizations.   Concretely, youth will organize communities around the incinerator and along the I-94 corridor (site of the proposed highway expansion) about the impacts of pollution on their health, the environment and the climate, which directly impacts health and food and clean water access.  

Organizing Families: Through our Greener Schools and CHIRP work we will continue to develop an in-school, food education kitchen where parents and students can participate in workshops designed to teach about food justice and food security, making healthy choices and cooking nutritious meals.  

Policy Briefs:  Staff and members prepared policy briefs to share with national legislators in which she called for the full funding for local food system infrastructure via investments in food hubs and smaller farming and urban agriculture operations to improve the local/regional sourcing of food for institutions and retail markets.  

Political Education

Power Mapping: As part of the Detroit just transition efforts, mapping power relationships in the areas of environment, climate and food are necessary to develop an effective policy, organizing and action agenda that leads to change.  

Cass Corridor Commons University:  The Commons University (CCCU) is a collaborative between community, partners, Wayne State, University of Michigan and MSU comprised of community-based learning enriched course work that encouraging students to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to the pressing issues that affect our local communities. Working with faculty members and community leaders, students develop research projects, collect and analyze data, and share their results and conclusions, not just with their professors, but also with organizations and agencies that can make use of the information. 
Universidad Sin Fronteras (University without Boarders):  In order to provide political and popular education and skills development training, Southwest Workers Union established an in-house organizing leadership justice institute early in 2003.  This educational work and leadership development has evolved and grown into the University Sin Fronteras founded in 2010.  EMEAC is the Detroit site and anchor for UNSIF.  UNSIF course will include food justice, discussion and round tables educating community members and University students on food related policy and practices.

Youth Educators Alliance:  A group of community members were brought together to participate in dialogues and planning sessions in their communities that focused on raising awareness about issues of environmental justice, food justice, education justice, community empowerment and how to frame them by developing their own media narratives.  Interactive sessions have assumed various forms since the first one was held in April 2011. 

Green Screen Youth Environmental Film Festival: Each year Remedia also sponsors the Annual EMEAC Greenscreen Film Festival where students across southeast Michigan showcase films with environmental themes. The work of these young filmmakers express what they think is most crucial to their health and to the natural environment. Some films also focus on making the world (or their school or neighborhood) more environmentally healthier. The festival is a celebration of youth voice and emerging environmentalism.  The short films, created entirely by young artists and aspiring young activists, span environmental and social consciousness. The films are judged for cinematic merit, relevance to Southeastern Michigan, and creative messaging.  The panel of judges included independent directors, environmental activists, a youth activist, and a journalist.  Now in its fifth year, EMEAC gets statewide inquiries about this exciting event, as well as requests for film making workshops and demonstrations year round.