From Workshop to Waste Magnet: Environmental Inequality in the Philadelphia Region (Nature, Society, and Culture)
Like many industrialized regions, the Philadelphia metro area contains pockets of environmental degradation: neighborhoods littered with abandoned waste sites, polluting factories, and smoke-belching incinerators. However, other neighborhoods within and around the city are relatively pristine. This eye-opening book reveals that such environmental inequalities did not occur by chance, but were instead the result of specific policy decisions that served to exacerbate endemic classism and racism. From Workshop to Waste Magnet presents Philadelphia’s environmental history as a bracing case study in mismanagement and injustice. Sociologist Diane Sicotte digs deep into the city’s past as a titan of American manufacturing to trace how only a few communities came to host nearly all of the area’s polluting and waste disposal land uses. By examining the complex interactions among economic decline, federal regulations, local politics, and shifting ethnic demographics, she not only dissects what went wrong in Philadelphia but also identifies lessons for environmental justice activism today. Sicotte’s research tallies both the environmental and social costs of industrial pollution, exposing the devastation that occurs when mass quantities of society’s wastes mix with toxic levels of systemic racism and economic inequality. From Workshop to Waste Magnet is a compelling read for anyone concerned with the health of America’s cities and the people who live in them.
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