The seeds were planted in my mind when, as a toddler, my father used to sing Oscar the Grouch’s anthem “I Love Trash” to me. More recently, when I met the folks from Auroville’s Wasteless who came to do a waste audit of my school. This began my journey as a garbologist who both headed her school’s drive to reduce consumption, segregate its waste, and educate the youngest people at the school about waste through the Garbology 101 curriculum.
Originally from Los Angeles, I have been teaching for the past 23 years. I have a PhD in literature with a minor in political science from Miami University, Ohio. My interest in the environment grew out of my work on my dissertation, which was later published as Beyond Slash, Burn, and Poison: Transforming Breast Cancer Stories into Action. In part, the book examines the relationship between higher breast cancer incidence rates and increased carcinogens (such as plastics) in the environment.
After receiving tenure at Boise State University in 2008, I left academia to pursue teaching at the high school level, first in Lebanon and later in India. It is at Rishi Valley School, in rural Andhra Pradesh, where I began my garbage journey in earnest, heading the Solid Waste Management Task Force – under the guidance of Wasteless in Auroville – and teaching Garbology 101 to 4th standard children. I am also a Trainer of Trainers for the BBMP in Bengaluru and an ambassador for EcoFemme sanitary cloth pads. Presently I work as Outreach Lead for Daily Dump in Bengaluru where I do everything from sales and marketing to educational programmes for children.