book hack


Catherine Coleman Flowers, Bryan Stevenson

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

Environmental health advocate Catherine Coleman Flowers shares the ongoing story of how she's devoting her life to dealing with the failing wastewater management systems in the poor rural areas of the Southern U.S.




by Catherine Coleman Flowers


Lowndes County is a rural county in Alabama's Black Belt. In the Civil Rights era, it was known as Bloody Lowndes for its history of violence and discrimination against Black Americans.

Growing up in Lowndes, environmental activist and MacArthur fellow Catherine Coleman Flowers advocated for Black students' access to quality higher education. Nowadays a large portion of the county's population faces poverty and lives without adequate sanitation infrastructures due to structural racism and inequality.

In Waste, Flowers sheds light on how historical circumstances and the intersections of race, poverty, and environmental injustice brought raw sewage and tropical diseases back to people's homes in the 21st century.

Favorite quote

Policymakers create structural inequality and then criminalize those most burdened and at-risk who fail to meet the demands of that structure.

- Catherine Coleman Flowers

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