Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret

New Pr. Nov. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781620976081. $25.99. POL SCI
Who pays serious attention to the millions of Americans living with or near conditions such as raw sewage, toxic water, and poisonous air? Flowers does. The founder and director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (CREEJ) uncovers the unsettling details of living standards in stretches of her native Alabama as well as the urban Midwest, central California, coastal Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Native American reservations, and elsewhere. Her account follows her activism that received attention for social justice work, from high school in Lowndes County through college to teaching at public schools in Washington, DC, Fayetteville, NC, and Detroit, and then back to Lowndes County to organize around environmental justice issues. She describes leading CREEJ to help address both immediate and systemic impacts of inadequate sanitation, health disparities, and poverty in communities marginalized because of who lives there—people who policymakers and society at large dismiss as not worthy of respect, she notes. The book includes a foreword by Bryan Stevenson.
VERDICT Mixing memoir, civil rights history, and polemic, this blunt litany by Flowers delivers a call to action for all concerned about sustainable solutions to the shamefully inadequate environmental infrastructure, policies, and practices in the United States.
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