Education has always been a part of our business. This was surprising to us at first, but it became clear that if we were going to persuade anyone to use our service, we needed to educate them on why our planet needs us to compost. These days we do a lot of educating through our monthly blog on the topics of composting, zero waste and other areas of sustainability.

After the George Floyd uprisings, many book groups popped up focused on reading and discussing books on racism/anti-racism and reading books by authors of color, but we were not aware of one that focused on environmental justice/racism.

So, we decided to start our own.

We’ll use both books and films as a springboard for discussion. We’ve already made our selections for the entire year. Collective Resource Compost will be the host. Librarian Lesley Williams will be our facilitator. We’ll view the films and read the books on our own time. We’ll meet on Zoom on the second Thursday evening of the months of February through November 2021 from 7:00-8:30 pm central standard time. Future dates are May 13, June 10, July 8, Aug. 12, Sept. 9, Oct. 14, Nov. 11.

Our selection for our discussion on May 13 is the documentary The True Cost. Our previous selections were focused on environmental racism in Chicago and the United States. This documentary illuminates international environmental injustices. It spells out the always bad, sometimes tragic, fallout from the fast fashion industry.

For several months this summer into fall, we’ll be reading essays from Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity and the Natural World, edited by Alison H. Deming and Lauret E. Savoy. The introduction and 17 essays in Colors of Nature movingly address the question, “What is the earth to people of color?” Exploring history, displacement, return, and relationship to place, these writers show that the ways Americans have impacted nature are inseparable from racism and inequities in economic and political power. Featured contributors include Jamaica Kincaid, bell hooks, Francisco X. Alarcon, Yusef Komunyakaa, Diane Glancy, and others.

The book is split into four sections. We’ll be discussing the first section, Return, on June 10, the second section, Witness, on July 8, the third section, Encounter, on August 12 and the final section, Praise, on September 9. Join us for all of the sections or pick one that resonates with you.

Everyone is welcome but space is limited. To register for any of the discussions and receive detailed information on ways to obtain all of this year’s selections, email Mary Beth Schaye at

Author Details
Zero Waste Consultant | Collective Resource, Inc.

Mary Beth strongly believes that, “It’s always better to be doing something rather than nothing.” If you’re thinking of composting at home, she can help you work out what your particular “something” can be.

She’s confident a solution can be tailored to fit anyone’s needs and ambitions. “Anyone who eats can be a CRI customer, whether you are an individual or a large organization. I want you to understand the advantages of composting, and I can show you how CRI can make it easy.” Mary Beth has successfully designed waste diversion strategies for individuals, schools, houses of worship and other communities. She’s received the governor’s Environmental Hero award for her work at her daughter’s school. Whether you’re starting with a backyard bin, a kitchen bucket, a worm farm, or large-scale commercial collection, Mary Beth can be your good-natured guide.