Detroit's environmental woes feature prominently in a new online video by Means of Production, the local media cooperative behind the viral campaign ad that last year helped elect New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The mini-documentary, released in partnership with the youth-led Sunrise Movement to promote the Green New Deal, follows lifelong Detroiter Ray Norton as he takes in views of the smoke and pet coke piles near the Marathon petroleum refinery in Southwest Detroit. Across town, in the blighted east side neighborhood where he grew up, the 18-year-old explains how home demolitions can spew asbestos and lead into the air.
"I know that the planet is on a path to destruction and I know that it's caused by the same people who produce the smells and the smoke on the freeway," Norton says in the scripted voiceover. "I've come to realize, like so many young people, that it's our economy. An economy ruled by profit, that needs our environment to be disposable, that needs people to be disposable."
The video is one in an ongoing series of documentaries that tell the stories of young people who say their lives have been harmed by the oil and gas industry. It was shown during Sunrise Movement's recent U.S. tour to promote the Green New Deal — a proposal to de-carbonize the U.S. economy while creating millions of new green energy jobs.
Norton was among 61 Sunrise Movement demonstrators arrested last year for staging a sit-in at the office of now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"Sunrise is an inspiring, extremely well-organized movement of young people who have, for the first time in our lives, put solutions that match the urgency of the crisis at the center of the national political agenda," Means TV co-founder Naomi Burton says in a release. "In a time when there are no adults in the room, young people are stepping up and joining forces to transform the status quo.”
Check out the three-minute video: