A love letter to South DeKalb’s unsung greenspaces

March 30, 2023

Source: Canopy Atlanta


On the surface, DeKalb appears to be a paragon of sustainability, but the water gets murkier when you peer a lil deeper. And I’m not just talmbout ongoing efforts to defend Weelaunee Forest from the development of Shadowbox Studios and the $90 million police facility known as “Cop City.” (That debacle has been thoroughly documented, with ongoing, state-sanctioned violence recently resulting in preventable tragedy.) 

The county is also under fire for a lack of investment in sewer infrastructure, allowing untreated sewage and industrial waste to spill unfettered into the South River watershed. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared this to be a violation of the Clean Water Act and demanded action, but only in “priority” areas around predominantly white northern DeKalb. The unincorporated southern region that comprises the majority of the county—where around 75 percent of residents are Black—continues to experience disproportionate pollution, which imperils health outcomes and increases vulnerability to storm damage. 

Read more: A love letter to South DeKalb’s unsung greenspaces