Saturday, December 04, 2010

Appalachia: The Hidden Third World of the United States

My eyes have opened again. Over these past two years, I've learned so much about the social development space. I've been introduced to issues like human trafficking, environmental abuse, and podoconiosis. My world has gotten bigger.  I've had the chance to travel and see parts of the world where poverty is the norm- not the exception. It's been life changing. But recently, through a series of conversations, my own country has gotten bigger. Appalachia. A multi-billion dollar coal industry lives there. It is also the home of 1/3 of the poorest counties in the U.S. Over 50% of the adult population do not have high school diplomas, families live on less than $10,000 annually.

I've ignored it for too long. So, for the next month, I'm going to write about organizations that do work in Appalachia. And once again I'm turning to my readers. What organizations should I write about and highlight that are specifically working to bring sustainable solutions to this area of our country?

Looking forward to learning with you.




Dave Tabler said...

Amy, a good place to begin is the group Appalachia Rising --->

They're very pro-active on ending mountaintop removal, which is destroying communities along with the entire eco-system of the region.

Amie said...

Hi Amy! This caught my attention since I was born and raised in the heart of Appalachia. In fact, I'm a great example of "brain drain" (quotation marks because I don't mean to imply that not having a higher education is the same as not having a brain), having spent the first 23 years of my life there, leaving to pursue an advanced degree and not coming back.

I certainly feel like I ought to know more about this topic than I do. I will point you to my alma mater, West Virginia Wesleyan College, where community engagement seems to be an increasingly strong area and I know there are also some interesting classes and activities having to do with Appalachia and poverty. I'm going to do some thinking on this and be back later!

anonymous said...

@Dave Tabler-

Thank you so much for the suggestion! Definitely will do some research and will look to interview some folks for the blog. Let me know if you recommend me talking to anyone in particular!

anonymous said...


Truly fascinated to learn more about what you've seen and learned. Send me an email- Would love to talk to you more about your experience and what you see as the most crucial needs for that area.

THANK YOU for writing!!