There are organizations and individuals who are not ready to give up on the city they love. With bold ideas and steadfast determination, they are making a difference in how Detroiters view their city now and in the future.
Below are just four examples of how one person and an idea can make a huge difference for others. Put on your green thinking cap and dare to dream big, making Detroit the largest and greenest urban setting in the world.
John Hantz is a local millionaire with a green passion for urban farming. Hantz plans to grow natural, local, fresh and safe fruits and vegetables to help meet Michigan’s increasing demand for locally grown produce and put back to use some of the thousands of unused lots in the city. If the city ever allows Mr. Hantz to proceed, Hantz Farms will also harvest wind energy and utilize geothermal heat and biomass fuel from recycling compost. Mr. Hantz plans on deploying the very latest in farm technology, from compost-heated greenhouses to hydroponic (water only, no soil) and aeroponic (air only) growing systems designed to maximize productivity in cramped settings.
Rev. Faith Fowler has been executive director of Cass Community Social Services for over 16 years and has impacted not just her neighborhood in the Cass Corridor but the city itself.. Rev. Fowlers’ greenest project involves a tire recycling program at Cass Community Social Services in Detroit. She has taken her interests in pollution prevention, job growth and environmental cleanup and created a very successful Mud Mat Program. This amazing program employs homeless men to collect abandoned tires and repurpose them into mud mats which are then sold to the public. This program solves many problems at once: it removes environmentally detrimental materials from the landscape, employs workers who otherwise would not be working and creates income for Cass Community Social Services to continue its valuable work. It is estimated that more than 40,000 tires have been cleared from abandoned lots across the city.
Leon C. Richardson is proud of his company’s achievements at ChemicoMays, LLC, a chemical management company. Based out of Chesterfield, Michigan, ChemicoMays prides itself on being process driven not product driven. It has assisted a multitude of companies’ in reducing their waste stream and being more environmentally friendly with their chemical use from “cradle to grave.” Over the last year, the company initiated a waste-water recycling system which reduced its daily water usage by up to 50% and saved over 437,000 gallons annually.
The last entry is Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who is emerging as a Green Leader for the city. While not an environmentalist or tree hugger type, Mayor Bing is coming to understand some “green” possibilities with making large swaths of the city greenbelts and/or urban farms. The idea, while very controversial, also has the chance of shrinking the cities overburdened and decaying infrastructure, concentrating on the most vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods, stretching city dollars further and giving the city the best chance for a true rebirth. The experiment will be years in the making, especially with over 30,000 homes to demolish. Yet, any attempt to set a more sustainable path for the city must be celebrated.
Source: Bob Mattler, Green Agent Man