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Faith Fowler is putting the underserved to work through green initiatives

Faith Fowler talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR

By Emily Fox

Reverend Faith Fowler
, the executive director of Cass Community Social Services, is helping the underserved in Detroit by getting them involved in Green Industries.

Fowler was recognized as a Michigan green leader by the Detroit Free Press this year for her organization’s Green Industries program which started in late 2007.

Green Industries works with the homeless, the mentally and medically ill and at risk youth. Green Industries employs them with jobs like making mats out of illegally dumped tires in vacant lots and having the illiterate recycle sensitive documents from lawyers and doctors.
Fowler says 8,000 tires have been turned into mats and 100 tons of paper has been recycled.

“In a short amount of time we’ve hired 50 people for whom work was a problem before,” Fowler says “and at the same time, put them into things that are good for the environment and sustainability.”

Cass Community Social Services employs homeless veterans in their One Cup Car Wash. The Car Wash converts water into steam so vehicles can be washed with one cup of water versus the 100 gallons of water used when washing a car at home.

Fowler also recognizes the health issues that face the underserved in Detroit. Cass Community Social Services now has 10 stationary bikes for the public to use in their electricity-generating gym.  The bikes generate electricity for Green Industries.

“Isn’t that a marvelous combination of a workout and something that’s good for the health of the planet?” Fowler says.

While some may argue that sustainability and the environment is the last thing on the minds of the homeless and the disabled, Fowler says Green Industries changes that mindset.

“When you combine physical health [with the environment], or you combine jobs, which is on the top of their radar, then all of a sudden you have their attention and you can have some really good discussion and action to be better stewards of the earth.”

Click on the arrow above to hear Fowler’s July 23 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk HeinzeGreening of the Great Lakes airs Friday evenings at 7 on News/Talk 760 WJR.

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