The folks over at Yes! Magazine featured MACED – and several other great Appalachian organizations – in their recent article “Don’t Be Like the Past: 3 Lessons for Appalachia’s Post-Coal Economy.” Like the author of yesterday’s post, Yes! is optimistic about Appalachia’s ability to make it through coal’s downturn.
So what happens when Appalachia is coal country no more? What will it take to build a new economy in a region that has been defined by the unsustainable extraction of natural resources (including natural gas and poorly managed timber in addition to coal)?Throughout Appalachia, local, grassroots groups are hard at work on those questions. Outsiders might be surprised to learn that the region is full of organizations working to reform old industries and promote more sustainable ones, to build local entrepreneurial capacity, and to make sure the region’s resources benefit residents over the long haul. These organizations are often heavily interconnected, creating a growing, region-wide support network for residents who are looking to create something new.And new is the name of the game—a recurring theme is the need to build economies designed to avoid the problems of Appalachia’s past. These groups see the necessity of an economic transition as a chance to create economies more diverse, more resilient, and far less polluting than what came before.