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Poverty, Economic Injustice & Lack of Economic Vitality” Central Appalachian Women's Tribunal on Climate Justice May 10, 2012, Charleston, West Virginia Betsy Taylor (contact [email protected] or http://vt.academia.edu/BetsyTaylor) Thousands marching in “Appalachia Rising” march on Washington DC, Sept 27, 2010 to protest Mountaintop Removal Mining

2012 women climate justice tribunal

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Betsy Taylor's presentation at the May 10, 2012 Central Appalachian Women’s Climate Justice Tribunal, held in Charleston, W.Va.

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  • 1.Thousandsmarching inAppalachiaRising marchonWashingtonDC, Sept27, 2010 toprotestMountaintopRemovalMiningPoverty, Economic Injustice & Lack of EconomicVitalityCentral Appalachian Womens Tribunal on Climate Justice May 10, 2012, Charleston, West VirginiaBetsy Taylor (contact [email protected] or http://vt.academia.edu/BetsyTaylor)

2. High school completion rates indistressed counties in USA (1990)DISTRESS: over 150 % of US poverty rate and over150 % of US unemployment rate (for past three years) Less than 67 % of the US per capita income OR Twice the US poverty rate and at least one of other two variables.Educational attainment is % of adults without high school degree: BROWN = over 63%, RED = over 50%, ORANGE = over 40% 3. 20062010 povertyrates in Appalachianparts of: Kentucky 24.4% Tennessee 16.9% Virginia 17.5% West Virginia 17.4%20062010 US povertyrates = 13.8% 4. What causes this poverty? It is primarily a political economic problem the region has abundant natural and human assets for a stable, robusteconomy From 1870s to 1920s, large corporate networks began to dominate the regionaleconomy cartels of timber, coal, railroad industries with interlockingownership, membership and big political influence in national legislatures andcourts This period was marked by violence, as local elites struggled to find a place in aregional economy rapidly being absorbed by national & global markets This violence was inaccurately stereotyped, in national media, as primitiveviolence among archaic clans beginning a process of severe culturalstigmatization of mountain peoples as premodern, unintelligent savagesSOURCES: Cunningham (1987) Apples on the Flood; Hennen (1996) The Americanization of West Virginia ; Lewis (1998) Transforming the Appalachian Countryside; Pudup et al (1995) Eds., Appalachia in the Making; Salstrom (1994) Appalachias Path to Dependency; Waller (1988) Feud: Hatfields, McCoys and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900 5. Economic macrostructures of 19th c, laid downdevelopment pathway for severe economicstructural injustice in 20-21st centuries Massive land grab (1870s 1920s) by land speculators & coal / timber / railroad/ corporations . Steep inequality in land ownership: in coal producing counties 70%-over 90% of land still is typically owned by outside corporations who pay little in taxes Coal industry is tied into global markets which are volatile in demand, supply & pricing patterns creating severe boom & bust cycles Coal tends towards monopolization & concentration of ownership Coal tends towards monolithic regional economies with weak capacity to diversify when coal does not produce jobs creating communities dependent on one source of employment & vulnerable to boom & bust cycles Coal tends to be a job shedding industry. With high rates of injury, anti-unionism & unstable markets, the industry emphasizes mechanization over investment in worker benefits (except in countries with political will to encourage employment)SOURCES: Appalachian Land Ownership Task Force (1983) Who Owns Appalachia?; Economic DevelopmentResearch Group et al (2007) Sources of Regional Growth in Non-Metro Appalachia; Lockard (1998) Coal: amemoir and critique; Mannion & McCourt (2002) Trends in Coal Production and the Socio-Economic andEnvironmental Cost of the Coal Extraction Industry 6. Trends in Mining Total Productivity1923-1998 Long term US historical12000In Millions of Short Tonstrends show that coal100008000tends to be a job-60004000shedding industry:2000 1923 1933 194319531963 1973 1983 1993 1998YEARSOURCE: Department of EnergyEnergy Inf ormation AdministrationSteep production increases Trends in Coal Mining 1928-1998Long term declines in Working Miners employment800000700000600000These data clearly show that500000400000cultural ideologies are300000200000100000counterfactual when they use 01923 1933 1943 19531963 1973 1983 1993 1998 jobs vs. environment thinking YEAR SOURCE: Department of Energy Energy Inf ormation Administration 7. US coal industry tends towardmonopolization Trends in Coal Mining 1928-1998 Number of Mines 10000 8000 6000 4000 200001923 1933 194319531963 1973 1983 1993 1998 YEAR SOURCE: Department of Energy Energy Inf ormation Administration 8. Employment & production trends inCentral Appalachian coal industry 35075,00065,000 30055,000 250Millions of Short Tons45,000 Coal ProductionDASHED LINE SOLID LINE Mining Jobs 20035,000 15025,000 10015,000505,000 0-5,000 9. Economic inequality linked to politicalinequality, domination & divisiveness Local elites dependent on cronyistic networks with powerful globalcorporate players Political corruption, corporate capture of, or influenceover, government regulatory agencies and expert institutions Weakness in dominant elites creativity, interest or capacity to buildalternative economic pathways Cycles of power & powerlessness vibrant social & environmentaljustice movements as well as widespread citizen quiescence andhopelessness In 21st century, large-scale coal industry media & public opinioncampaign to stigmatize non-coal development In 21st century, fearfulness, lack of social trust & bitter divisionswithin local communities,SOURCES: Bell & York (2010) Community Economic Identity: The Coal Industry and IdeologyConstruction in West Virginia. Rural Sociology. 75(1):111-143; Blee & Billings (2000) TheRoad to Poverty; Reid, "Global Adjustments, Throwaway Regions, Appalachian Studies:Resituating The Kentucky Cycle on the Postmodern Frontier," Journal of Appalachian Studies(Fall, 1996) 164-181; Reid & Taylor (2002) Appalachia as a Global Region: Toward CriticalRegionalism and Civic Professionalism Journal of Appalachian Studies 8 (1):9-32; Smith &Fisher (2012) Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia 10. Human Development Index: one of mostwidely used indicators of human wellbeing Developed to integrate social & political healthmeasures with economic measures Used by United Nations for internationalcomparison re/ life chances of individuals HDI = combination of Income (per capita + inequality + poverty rate) Education (literacy + High school & above rates) Mortality (general death rate + infant mortality)Data from:Elgin Mannion Education, longevity, income: measuring Kentuckys Human Development Index Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky 2003 11. Kentucky: human development index International norm: above .8 HDI= high development Above .5 HDI= medium development Below .5 HDI= low development Below .3 HDI= very bad sign, equivalent to some of the poorestcountries in Africa (such as Niger) & other parts of the Global South Kentucky: Below .3 HDI= McCreary County Below .4 HDI = 10 counties (McCreary, Wolfe, Elliott, Powell, Letcher, Breathitt, Menifee, Clay, Bell) Below .5 HDI = 43 countiesData from:Elgin Mannion Education, longevity, income: measuring Kentuckys Human Development IndexAppalachian Center, University of Kentucky 2003 12. Externalization of costs of coalmining onto Appalachiamarket value of coaldoes not include theexternalized costs ofcoal mining for the landand people of CentralAppalachia.For the US, a recentstudy cost the Americanpublic roughly $500billion annuallySOURCE:2011 - Epstein, P. etal, (2011) Full costaccounting for the life cycleof coal Annals of the NewYork Academy of Sciences. Damage from Buffalo Creek Flood, February1219: 73-98. 26, 1972 13. The wealth of Appalachia In the 21st century, resource scarcity, climatechange, ability to relocalizeproduction, consumption and transportion will bekey features of successful development Sustainable, just development will put a highvalue on assets that Appalachia has inabundance: Water Biodiversity Proximity of rural producers to urban populations Local knowledge & cultural assets for sustainable, re-localizedeconomies 14. VERY HUMID REGIONOnly 2 other extensive areasof USA have greater annualpreciptationClean & abundant watersupplyRugged topography & highannual precipitation haveformed soils which are poor forindustrial style agriculture 15. Extraordinary biodiversity 16. Appalachian treasures: cultural heritageUnbroken cultural traditions ofsustainable, local, forest farmingEcological knowledgeLivelihood knowledge & skillsUnion heritage: skills oforganizing, sense of justice, prideCultural attachment to place &land & social systems of mutualsupport [neighborliness]Powerful tradition of social &environmental justice movementsGlobal citizensDaymon Morgan, Leslie County, KY(founding member of Kentuckians for theCommonwealth) 17. incorporates 679 excerpts from original sound recordings and 1,256 photographs from the American Folklife Centers Coal River Folklife Project (1992-99)documenting traditional uses of the mountains in Southern West Virginias Big Coal River Valley. Functioning as a de facto commons, the mountains havesupported a way of life that for many generations has entailed hunting, gathering, and subsistence gardening, as well as coal mining and timbering. Theonline collection includes extensive interviews on native forest species and the seasonal round of traditional harvesting (including spring greens; summerberries and fish; and fall nuts, roots such as ginseng, fruits, and game) and documents community cultural events such as storytelling, baptisms in theriver, cemetery customs, and the spring "ramp" feasts using the wild leek native to the region. Interpretive texts outline thesocial, historical, economic, environmental, and cultural contexts of community life, while a series of maps and a diagram depicting the seasonal round ofcommunity activities provide special access to collection materials.http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cmnshtml/