Detroit has an exciting opportunity to reposition itself as a city where sustainability is a cornerstone of success.

Michigan’s prosperity has always been linked to the well-being of its largest city. A healthy, vibrant Detroit is critical to statewide environmental progress — from improving water and air quality to encouraging local farming and green spaces, reducing traffic and auto emissions, and shrinking our climate footprint.

Led by Sandra Turner-Handy, a lifelong Detroiter who serves as our Community Engagement Director, MEC is working to put environmental sustainability, health and justice front and center in the city’s rebirth.


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Background on our Work in Detroit

Shaping Detroit’s Environmental Agenda

We believe that the future of Detroit should be shaped by its residents and that’s why we joined efforts to develop the Detroit Environmental Agenda, a living document that captures and organizes residents’ major environmental concerns and their proposed solutions.

The Agenda has been critical in encouraging local officials to prioritize environmental sustainability during the City’s recovery. As testament to the Agenda’s effectiveness, the City of Detroit recently established an Office of Sustainability. MEC is committed to working closely with this new office to make sure its priorities reflect those expressed by residents and outlined in the Agenda.

Designing Detroit’s Future

MEC was a leader in the development of the 2012 Detroit Future City (DFC) Strategic Framework — a comprehensive plan to put the city and its individual neighborhoods on a path to prosperity and sustainability.

While sharing MEC’s environmental expertise, Turner-Handy also helped make sure residents had a voice in the DFC process. She hosted community conversations, made presentations to neighborhood groups, and engaged people at barber shops, beauty salons, and bus stops. The hard work paid off; the framework reflects more than 70,000 resident comments and survey responses.

Detroit Climate Action Collaborative

MEC was the co-chair the Detroit Climate Action Collaborative workgroup that developed the solid waste management section of the Detroit Climate Action Plan (released in October 2017). MEC will continue to work at City Hall and the community level to achieve the objectives of this exciting new plan.

Addressing Environmental Health in Detroit

MEC is a long-time participant in a range of local networks working to address challenges like asthma, lead poisoning, and childhood obesity in Detroit. You can learn more by visiting our Human Health priorities page.

Denby Neighborhood Project

MEC is working with community partners in Northeast Detroit to build a more vibrant, sustainable community with the neighborhood’s youth leading the charge.

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Zero Waste Detroit

Zero Waste Detroit provides outreach and education around recycling with the City of Detroit, specifically in promoting recycling and waste reduction directly to residents.  Zero Waste Detroit formed in 2007 as a coalition of local groups advocati...

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Regional Transit in SE Michigan

Cities work best when everyone can get around, but for too long Detroit and its surrounding suburbs have focused on moving cars instead of people.

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Lead Poisoning

Ending childhood lead poisoning -- it’s one of Michigan Environmental Council’s boldest goals. It’s also entirely achievable.

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