It has been a good week for two of the leading voices in the Appalachian Transition dialogue. Kentuckians For The Commonwealth Executive Director Burt Lauderdale has been invited to address the mid-year graduates of Berea College and receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from College President Larry Shinn. In announcing the decision to honor Lauderdale, Berea College notes "As executive director of KFTC for nearly two decades, Lauderdale has been a driving force behind numerous effective legislative and grassroots campaigns which have helped improve the quality of life in Eastern Kentucky and the commonwealth while growing the organization to 7,000 members in more than 90 counties."
Another Transition voice, KFTC's Organizing Director Lisa Abbott, has this to say about her colleague Burt: “He is one of those rare individuals who are both visionary and deeply committed to democratic process and collaborative leadership,” says Lisa Abbott, director of organizing and leadership development for KFTC. “His entire career has been dedicated to developing grassroots leaders and building democratic organizations in order to bring about social change and a higher quality of life in Appalachia and across Kentucky.”
We are proud of you Burt!
And if that wasn't enough, MACED's President Justin Maxson is featured as part of Grist's Change Gang, featuring "profiles of people who are leading change on the ground toward a more sustainable society and a greener planet". In interviewing Maxson, Grist's Andrew Leonard observes:
Even though only about 1 percent of Kentucky's labor force is employed in the coal sector, and the economics of coal in Appalachia are under sustained assault from much cheaper western coal, the industry still plays a disproportionately large role in shaping public attitudes and government policy. Presenting a different way to visualize Kentucky's future is a huge part of what MACED is about.
"We are trying to create this new sense of what is possible," says Maxson. "So we run a lot of direct projects that create tangible examples on the ground of sustainable development at work."
Examples include a combination carbon offset/certified forestry products program that has about 30,000 acres under sustainable management now, and How$mart, an energy retrofit financing program.
We're proud to have both Justin and Burt on the Transition team — and thank all of you for the efforts you make to advance the transition conversation every day! It is a story worth telling, and we're glad to see Appalachian efforts making a splash.