Heard on CultureShift

Detroit Area Activists Talk Green Ooze, Environmental Awareness and Tri-County Solidarity

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Image credit: Laura Herberg/WDET

“Even though this particular site has gotten a lot of attention… residents still don’t know what’s going on, and if residents don’t know what’s going on, that means that they don’t know how to take action.”

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Last weekend a group of citizens, activists and others gathered near the site of the now-infamous green ooze that’s been leaching onto the I-696 service drive in Madison Heights. During this “ooze cruise,” the group walked around the closed-off area near the service drive and then headed into Max Dugan’s bar for green ooze shots and a screening of the recent Michigan House Appropriations Committee hearing about the hazardous material called hexavalent chromium.

Annamarie Sysling
Annamarie Sysling

The event was hosted by Bridget Quinn, an artist and organizer with the Area Wilds Exploration (AWE) Society and Lauren Schandevel, the Macomb County organizer for We The People Michigan

We both have been feeling like this is a good time to work together to try to bring people out of the woodwork to support not just the cleanup of this site but to make more systemic change happen through a solidarity network,” explains Quinn.

We The People was founded right after the 2016 election, like a lot of organizations,” says Schandevel. “My job is basically to build an organizing infrastructure [in Macomb County] and to empower working-class people and people of color to demand better of their government and elected officials,” she says. 

Annamarie Sysling
Annamarie Sysling

Schandevel says that residents are not equipped with the information they need about the hexavalent chromium contamination, despite the fact that the “green ooze” leak has been so widely publicized: “Even though this particular site has gotten a lot of attention… residents still don’t know what’s going on, and if residents don’t know what’s going on, that means that they don’t know how to take action.”

There will be a rally for tri-county solidarity around climate action and environmental protection on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 4:30 pm at Butler Field. Schandevel says there will be residents and environmental justice organizers talking about the environmental work they are doing at the state level. 

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


Annamarie Sysling, Environmental Reporter and Producer, Detroit Today

Annamarie Sysling is a producer for “Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.” When she’s not at work, Sysling is likely walking or biking somewhere in the city, listening to a neuroscience podcast or eating ice cream.

annamarie.sysling@wdet.org Follow @asysling

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