"Landrum’s father-a one-time Marathon Oil employee-also died of cancer. Landrum is convinced that the toxic environment of her neighborhood contributed to their illnesses and subsequent deaths. “Ten people on my block have died of cancer in the last decade,” Landrum explains. “We have a lot of pneumonia, too-one of my brothers died of it-and lots of asthma. All the little kids in the house across the street have asthma, and their father just died of cancer.” Landrum was horrified when Marathon announced plans to build a $2.2 billion expansion to process tar sands crude-the world’s dirtiest oil. “When we found out Marathon was bringing in nasty tar sands from Canada, my first reaction was ‘Lord have mercy. Where can we go?’” She started researching what kinds of chemicals would be emitted by the new tar sands facility and the effects they can have on human health. “We found terrible things. Carcinogens, carbon monoxide, benzene and toluene, which harm the nervous system, methyl ethyl ketone, which can cause blindness. A lot of really bad stuff.” Landrum began attending community meetings and block meetings, and talking to anybody who would listen about the increased pollution coming from tar sands refining. In 2007, Landrum herself was diagnosed with cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, she continued to attend Detroit City Council meetings to protest the tar sands expansion of the Marathon refinery. That fight was lost."
Faces of Tar Sands - Tar Sands - Dirty Fuels - Sierra Club
Profiles of Detroiters who are living with the effects of the environmental catastrophe of the industrial corridor in Detroit.
Some things to think through as you read through their stories:
Why does the “danger narrative” in Detroit always center around “dangerous faceless black killers” rather than heavy industry?
Why do “save/rescue Detroit” narratives always focus on people who are gentrifying the city, rather than those like Landrum?
Why do narratives around the environment always center on “nature” (as if “nature” doesn’t exist in the city)?
Why do solutions to environmental injustice always focus on *consumerism*? Can buying the right products reduce asthma rates in Detroit?