Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post from a guest blogger. The views and opinions expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Renew Appalachia or of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED).
Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of working with the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition’s Just Transition Working Group. The working group is made up of students and non-student youth from across the state who wish to promote a transition to local-based economies in which workers, citizens and the environment are protected. This fall semester, we laid the groundwork to launch a fair coal severance campaign. Through this campaign, we’ll be working to assure that taxes collected from coal companies for mining coal are used in coal producing and coal impacted counties in a way that enhances sustainable economic development.
Growing up in a former coal town in Eastern Kentucky, I had little hope for the region. The coal industry that once thrived in my town left the land, water and economy in ruin. For several years, I vowed to leave Kentucky as soon as I possibly could, and saw escaping the area as the only course to success. Finding a community of environmentalists and other progressive-minded people, however, made me feel differently. The skills I learned from KSEC led me to discover my power as an activist and feel that I have the power to change the broken systems that allow Appalachia’s problems to persist. This drive to create a brighter future for Kentucky is the reason I applied to become part of the Just Transition Working Group steering committee.
We have our campaign plans, and now we need awesome young people to make them happen! As part of the Just Transition Working Group steering committee, you’ll meet other folks who are invested in shaping the future of Kentucky. Committee members will be responsible for short and long-term planning, recruitment, outreach and a role of their choice, such as communication or media. We young Kentuckians have the power to take back our communities and transform them into just places to live, work, grow and prosper. We want you to help us in creating the solutions our region so desperately needs.
For more information, and to apply for a spot on the KSEC Just Transition Working Group committee, click here.