Occupy the Hollers?

"Silicon Holler", the Facebook identity of the University of Kentucky's Appalachian Center listserv "Appalnet" posted this great image on Facebook over the weekend — and it got us thinking.

The image overlays an Appalachian Regional Commission map of relative poverty of Appalachian counties, as a percent of the U.S. average.  The darker the blue, the higher the poverty.  The deep blue color represents areas 150-366% of the U.S. average.  As a whole, the Appalachian region had an average poverty rate of 13.6% compared to a U.S. national average of 12.4% in 2004.  An even more recent map based on the American Community Survey data from 2005-2009 is available now and the numbers look worse in many ways, with a regional average of 15.4% and U.S. average of 13.5%.

Coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, or We are the 99 Percent, has been widespread.  The Lexington Herald Leader even covered Occupy Lexington's efforts to express frustration with the current economic system here in Kentucky.

One of the most common refrains from groups hunkered down in Boston, in Denver, in Oakland, in New York is that the system 'is broken' and 'isn't working for us'.  Appalachians know that feeling well.  So what would it mean to Occupy the Hollers really? What would you ask for?  What changes would you want to see happening right now in our own communities, towns, counties and region?  Could we come up with a list of asks?

Let us know what you think, on Facebook, Twitter (@AppTransition) or here in the comment section.

Kristin Tracz

About Kristin Tracz

Kristin Tracz served MACED’s Research and Policy team from 2009-2012 working on clean energy policy, energy efficiency programs and the Appalachian Transition Initiative. She joined MACED after finishing her Master of Environmental Management degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.