Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Community Development

Princeton University Press
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More Americans recycle than vote. And most do so to improve their communities and the environment. But do recycling programs advance social, economic, and environmental goals? To answer this, three sociologists with expertise in urban and environmental planning have conducted the first major study of urban recycling. They compare four types of programs in the Chicago metropolitan area: a community-based drop-off center, a municipal curbside program, a recycling industrial park, and a linkage program. Their conclusion, admirably elaborated, is that recycling can realize sustainable community development, but that current programs achieve few benefits for the communities in which they are located.

The authors discover that the history of recycling mirrors many other urban reforms. What began in the 1960s as a sustainable community enterprise has become a commodity-based, profit-driven industry. Large private firms, using public dollars, have chased out smaller nonprofit and family-owned efforts. Perhaps most troubling is that this process was not born of economic necessity. Rather, as the authors show, socially oriented programs are actually more viable than profit-focused systems. This finding raises unsettling questions about the prospects for any sort of sustainable local development in the globalizing economy.

Based on a decade of research, this is the first book to fully explore the range of impacts that recycling generates in our communities. It presents recycling as a tantalizing case study of the promises and pitfalls of community development. It also serves as a rich account of how the state and private interests linked to the global economy alter the terrain of local neighborhoods.

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About the author

Adam S. Weinberg is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colgate University and coauthor of Local Environmental Struggles. He has advised many communities, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies on sustainable development. David N. Pellow is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has published widely on environmental racism and justice, participated in several federal initiatives, and served on the board of many nonprofit organizations. Allan Schnaiberg is Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University and a faculty associate of its Institute for Policy Research. His numerous publications include The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity and Environment and Society: The Enduring Conflict.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 24, 2000
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9781400823895
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Lisa Sun-Hee Park
Winner, Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award, presented by the Environment & Technology section of the American Sociological Association Environmentalism usually calls to mind images of peace and serenity, a oneness with nature, and a shared sense of responsibility. But one town in Colorado, under the guise of environmental protection, passed a resolution limiting immigration, bolstering the privilege of the wealthy and scapegoating Latin American newcomers for the area’s current and future ecological problems. This might have escaped attention save for the fact that this wasn’t some rinky-dink backwater. It was Aspen, Colorado, playground of the rich and famous and the West’s most elite ski town. Tracking the lives of immigrant laborers through several years of exhaustive fieldwork and archival digging, The Slums of Aspen tells a story that brings together some of the most pressing social problems of the day: environmental crises, immigration, and social inequality. Park and Pellow demonstrate how these issues are intertwined in the everyday experiences of people who work and live in this wealthy tourist community. Offering a new understanding of a little known class of the super-elite, of low-wage immigrants (mostly from Latin America) who have become the foundation for service and leisure in this famous resort, and of the recent history of the ski industry, Park and Pellow expose the ways in which Colorado boosters have reshaped the landscape and altered ecosystems in pursuit of profit and pleasure. Of even greater urgency, they frame how environmental degradation and immigration reform have become inextricably linked in many regions of the American West, a dynamic that interferes with the efforts of valorous environmental causes, often turning away from conservation and toward insidious racial privilege.
David N. Pellow
Next to the nuclear industry, the largest producer of contaminants in the air, land, and water is the electronics industry. Silicon Valley hosts the highest density of Superfund sites anywhere in the nation and leads the country in the number of temporary workers per capita and in workforce gender inequities. Silicon Valley offers a sobering illustration of environmental inequality and other problems that are increasingly linked to the globalization of the world's economies.

In The Silicon Valley of Dreams, the authors take a hard look at the high-tech region of Silicon Valley to examine environmental racism within the context of immigrant patterns, labor markets, and the historical patterns of colonialism. One cannot understand Silicon Valley or the high-tech global economy in general, they contend, without also understanding the role people of color play in the labor force, working in the electronic industry's toxic environments. These toxic work environments produce chemical pollution that, in turn, disrupts the ecosystems of surrounding communities inhabited by people of color and immigrants. The authors trace the origins of this exploitation and provide a new understanding of the present-day struggles for occupational health and safety.

The Silicon Valley of Dreams will be critical reading for students and scholars in ethnic studies, immigration, urban studies, gender studies, social movements, and the environment, as well as activists and policy-makers working to address the needs of workers, communities, and industry.

Joni Adamson
Understandings of “nature” have expanded and changed, but the word has not lost importance at any level of discourse: it continues to hold a key place in conversations surrounding thought, ethics, and aesthetics. Nowhere is this more evident than in the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies. Keywords for Environmental Studies analyzes the central terms and debates currently structuring the most exciting research in and across environmental studies, including the environmental humanities, environmental social sciences, sustainability sciences, and the sciences of nature. Sixty essays from humanists, social scientists, and scientists, each written about a single term, reveal the broad range of quantitative and qualitative approaches critical to the state of the field today. From “ecotourism” to “ecoterrorism,” from “genome” to “species,” this accessible volume illustrates the ways in which scholars are collaborating across disciplinary boundaries to reach shared understandings of key issues—such as extreme weather events or increasing global environmental inequities— in order to facilitate the pursuit of broad collective goals and actions. This book underscores the crucial realization that every discipline has a stake in the central environmental questions of our time, and that interdisciplinary conversations not only enhance, but are requisite to environmental studies today. Visit keywords.nyupress.org for online essays, teaching resources, and more.
Joni Adamson
Understandings of “nature” have expanded and changed, but the word has not lost importance at any level of discourse: it continues to hold a key place in conversations surrounding thought, ethics, and aesthetics. Nowhere is this more evident than in the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies. Keywords for Environmental Studies analyzes the central terms and debates currently structuring the most exciting research in and across environmental studies, including the environmental humanities, environmental social sciences, sustainability sciences, and the sciences of nature. Sixty essays from humanists, social scientists, and scientists, each written about a single term, reveal the broad range of quantitative and qualitative approaches critical to the state of the field today. From “ecotourism” to “ecoterrorism,” from “genome” to “species,” this accessible volume illustrates the ways in which scholars are collaborating across disciplinary boundaries to reach shared understandings of key issues—such as extreme weather events or increasing global environmental inequities— in order to facilitate the pursuit of broad collective goals and actions. This book underscores the crucial realization that every discipline has a stake in the central environmental questions of our time, and that interdisciplinary conversations not only enhance, but are requisite to environmental studies today. Visit keywords.nyupress.org for online essays, teaching resources, and more.
David N. Pellow
Next to the nuclear industry, the largest producer of contaminants in the air, land, and water is the electronics industry. Silicon Valley hosts the highest density of Superfund sites anywhere in the nation and leads the country in the number of temporary workers per capita and in workforce gender inequities. Silicon Valley offers a sobering illustration of environmental inequality and other problems that are increasingly linked to the globalization of the world's economies.

In The Silicon Valley of Dreams, the authors take a hard look at the high-tech region of Silicon Valley to examine environmental racism within the context of immigrant patterns, labor markets, and the historical patterns of colonialism. One cannot understand Silicon Valley or the high-tech global economy in general, they contend, without also understanding the role people of color play in the labor force, working in the electronic industry's toxic environments. These toxic work environments produce chemical pollution that, in turn, disrupts the ecosystems of surrounding communities inhabited by people of color and immigrants. The authors trace the origins of this exploitation and provide a new understanding of the present-day struggles for occupational health and safety.

The Silicon Valley of Dreams will be critical reading for students and scholars in ethnic studies, immigration, urban studies, gender studies, social movements, and the environment, as well as activists and policy-makers working to address the needs of workers, communities, and industry.

Lisa Sun-Hee Park
Winner, Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award, presented by the Environment & Technology section of the American Sociological Association Environmentalism usually calls to mind images of peace and serenity, a oneness with nature, and a shared sense of responsibility. But one town in Colorado, under the guise of environmental protection, passed a resolution limiting immigration, bolstering the privilege of the wealthy and scapegoating Latin American newcomers for the area’s current and future ecological problems. This might have escaped attention save for the fact that this wasn’t some rinky-dink backwater. It was Aspen, Colorado, playground of the rich and famous and the West’s most elite ski town. Tracking the lives of immigrant laborers through several years of exhaustive fieldwork and archival digging, The Slums of Aspen tells a story that brings together some of the most pressing social problems of the day: environmental crises, immigration, and social inequality. Park and Pellow demonstrate how these issues are intertwined in the everyday experiences of people who work and live in this wealthy tourist community. Offering a new understanding of a little known class of the super-elite, of low-wage immigrants (mostly from Latin America) who have become the foundation for service and leisure in this famous resort, and of the recent history of the ski industry, Park and Pellow expose the ways in which Colorado boosters have reshaped the landscape and altered ecosystems in pursuit of profit and pleasure. Of even greater urgency, they frame how environmental degradation and immigration reform have become inextricably linked in many regions of the American West, a dynamic that interferes with the efforts of valorous environmental causes, often turning away from conservation and toward insidious racial privilege.
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