About this site

What is waste? What do we mean, when we label a certain thing as waste? On first glance, it may appear that waste is simply anything that has no value. And yet, if we look more closely, we begin to see that waste, and especially the relationship between waste and value, is more complex than it appears. This site explores the relationship between waste and value through one particular place, Warren County, North Carolina. As the iconic ‘birthplace of environmental justice’ in the United States, Warren County helps us understand the complex ways in which waste and value are defined and re-defined in relationship to larger political and economic forces, social and cultural legacies, and local memories and happenings. On this site, we try to offer a reading of waste and value that is rich with possibilities, inspired by the example and efforts of the environmental justice (EJ) movement in Warren County.

website produced by the Warren County waste & value research group (Daniel Arlotta, Nicole Fries, Pavithra Vasudevan Kathanadhi, Alexandra Snedecker, and B. Madison Williams) to meet the requirements of GEOG 650: Technology & Democracy workshop

The organization we worked with, Working Landscapes, is centered in Warren County, NC and works to create sustainable change in their community. Special thanks to those who have helped us with this project:

  • Carla Norwood
  • Gabriel Cumming
  • Judith Alston
  • Bill Kearney (who featured us on his blog here)


About the Technology & Democracy Workshop course:

Are our technological choices open to democratic participation? How are the relations between technology and democracy being reconfigured, and how might they be?  GEOG 650: Technology & Democracy Workshop is an undergraduate and graduate course in the Geography Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill which explores political, cultural, and geographical dimensions of technological change around key social and environmental issues.  We attempt both to teach and to learn through research.  During Spring 2012, course themes included systems of energy and waste, agricultural landscapes, and environmental and food justice, with a focus on North Carolina settings.  Bringing together a combination of seminar, research workshop, and service learning approaches, student research groups work in collaboration with community partners and UNC faculty and graduate students to produce and communicate research that addresses important questions impacting North Carolina and beyond.


APPLES (UNC Service Learning Program) has provided generous support, along with the Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) Program from UNC’s Office of Undergraduate Research.

For more information, contact Dr. Scott Kirsch (kirsch@email.unc.edu), Department of Geography, UNC-Chapel Hill