During the week of April 18th I took in two forums on the pollution of the lower Great Lakes basin: Crossing Borders and Making Connections on April 19 in southwest Detroit, and then on the following evening, April 20, in Windsor: Pollution in our Midst: International Forum on Environmental Issues in the Lower Great Lakes Basin. The April 18th forum featured Crystal Lameman, a Tribal leader of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in the middle of the Tar Sands in Alberta. She gave a compelling overview of the destruction of the land, air and water of her nation because of the Tar Sands bitumen extraction.
Vanessa and Lindsay are community activists at Aamjiwnaang, and they gave an overview of the effects of living there amongst the many chemical refineries, and Rhonda Anderson of the Sierra Club in Detroit spoke about organizing in the southwest Detroit area where Marathon Oil dominates the health and quality of life. In effect, Windsor and Detroit are the terminus for Tar Sands bitumen. It is in and around marginalized and racialized communities where refineries are located.
Here is the audio from the April 20th forum in Windsor featuring Vanessa and Lindsay Gray and Sierra Club Michigan’s Rhonda Anderson:
Also at both forums were Theresa Landrum, who lives in the directly affected area of SW Detroit around the Marathon plant. On Friday April 22 I spoke with Theresa Landrum on The ShakeUp, airing on campus community radio station CJAM 99.1FM, on her community work and the effects of the petro-chemical industry on that area. She describes the literally day to day struggle to monitor corporations like Marathon Oil and challenge them when they push to expand: