The author returns to Bakersfield, California to clear out her childhood home and confronts the unsustainable reality of life in today’s San Joaquin Valley. Presented as a series of narratives related by friends and neighbors during trips to Bakersfield’s immense landfill site, Maretich paints a picture of a community struggling under the effects of high crime, increasing poverty, and diminishing expectations in the wake of the Great Recession, which for Bakersfield is far from over. Exploring themes of sustainability, environmental policy, and personal responsibility, Maretich shines a light on one of California’s most important and least understood regions.

This content is only available via PDF.