Sustainable Development Potential in West Virginia

There is a great op-ed in Saturday’s Charleston Gazette . The author writes that sustainable development has the potential to create an economy in Appalachia that will thrive in our lifetimes and for generations.

Some of the opportunities he points out:

-Sustainable forest management. Sustainably managed forests provide crucial ecosystem services including water regulation, nutrient cycling, soil formation, pollination, climate regulation, erosion control, recreation opportunities, wildlife habitat, cultural heritage and genetic resources. Cash roots planted in sustainably managed private forests can provide income, as well. Writes the author, “The global demand for wild mountain herbs that grow in Appalachia is already high and is expected to grow, making forest gardens a great way for property owners to generate substantial income while increasing the value of their property.”

-Agriculture. In addition to cash roots, the author mentions the potential of organic farming, wine vineyards and grass-fed livestock herding.

To make sustainable development a reality in West Virginia, the author says we need “leaders and policies with a clear commitment to the future that will put us on the path to sustainability” as well as “a population willing to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century with a little American ingenuity and foresight.”

He concludes with this statement: “It’s now time that we put ourselves back to work and on the path to economic prosperity by creating our own jobs while protecting the environment through the application of sustainable development in Appalachia.”

We couldn’t agree more! How about you? Let us know what you think.

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.