This September, two Ecology Center staff members are taking to the streets—and trails—in the fight to end toxic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the Detroit trash incinerator. They’re driven by a simple conviction: everyone deserves to breathe clean air, no matter where they live.
Kathryn Savoie and Jeff Gearhart will each spend four days on two wheels cycling in the Northern Michigan Climate Ride. They’ll traverse 285 miles of northern Michigan’s woods, farmlands, and beaches, cycling from Grand Rapids all the way to the tip of Leelanau Peninsula. Climate Ride is a nonprofit that organizes adventures with a purpose across the globe, and all participants commit to fundraising for an environmental cause.
Kathryn and Jeff are riding for Breathe Free Detroit. As an organizer in this grassroots movement, the Ecology Center has been fighting for alternatives to replace Detroit’s trash incinerator. One of the city’s biggest air polluters, the aging facility spews approximately 1,800 tons of noxious gases and particles into the environment each year in regular violation of federal law. It harms thousands of Detroiters’ health, disproportionately hurting the low income communities of color who live nearest to the smokestack.
Team captain Kathryn Savoie, PhD is the Ecology Center’s Detroit Community Health Director, and she’s spent the past year tirelessly working on the Breathe Free Detroit campaign. Kathryn lives and works near the incinerator, and her family feels its harmful effects. “As a Detroiter,” she says, “I've seen how big industries dump harmful chemicals in our air and water without a thought about how it affects those who live nearby. I've seen how dirty energy created by burning trash is polluting our air, contributing to health problems like asthma, as well as climate change. As a mother of a child with asthma, I know the painful reality of living in an unhealthy environment.”
Also a veteran in the fight for a healthier environment, Ecology Center Research Director Jeff Gearhart combats toxics exposure daily as the developer of our internationally recognized Healthy Stuff product chemistry disclosure project. He knows that change can start at home: “As a parent, I want the best for my family. As a concerned citizen, I want the best for my community. We have to stand up for the people we love. We have to stand up against toxic pollution. One of the worst polluters is right here on our doorstep.”
Kathryn and Jeff are both working hard to train, logging hours and miles, but they need community support for their Climate Ride to succeed. Can you chip in $10, $25, or $50 today? Grassroots gifts go a long way to help Detroiters—like Kathryn and her family—breathe clean air, and they help protect Michigan’s air quality and climate for decades to come. And if you’re inspired to take even greater action, strap on your helmet: there’s still time to join the Ecology Center Climate Ride Team!
Published on July 23, 2018