There's Something About Appalachia...


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Join us for this mini immersion trip to the most popular domestic service destination for US high schools and universities. This session will engage immersion leaders and participants who are going on an alternative break to Appalachia and individuals who are generally interested in the uniqueness of the Appalachian culture.

Prepared for the 2012 Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice. Contact with questions.

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  • Appalachian Region is defined by the Appalachian Commission which was established in 1965 to promote economic development in the region. It contains parts of 12 states and all of 1, West Virginia. The Region includes 420 counties. It extends more than 1,000 miles, from southern New York to northeastern Mississippi, and is home to 24.8 million people. (
  • You can’t talk about Appalachia until you review its rich culture and traditions. From clogging and bluegrass music to the peoples’ deep roots in nature.
  • In order to truly connect with the wonders of Appalachia, one must take advantage of the many outdoor activities. Ie: visiting state parks, atv trails, white water rafting, rock climbing, kayaking, etc.
  • A history of frontier life, oppression, and struggle against outsiders, especially in the coal mining region.
  • Note: The labor movement within Appalachia was a combination of disgruntled employees (due to poor working conditions, scrip payment (money that could only be used at coal company stores)), child labor, and concerned activists like Mother Jones (Most Dangerous Woman in America).
  • WV ranks highest in employed (around 20,000 people) and second in production. Wyoming almost quadruples us in production, but does it with only 5,000 people. This is the future of coal: mechanization.
  • Within Appalachian, over 500 mountains have been affected by MTR. Millions of pounds of dynamite are used nad machines weighing over 8 million pounds blow up the mountain and then scoop the “overburden” into near by valleys. Creating valley fills. These fills permanantly change the landscape and ecology of the land. These valleys are home to head water streams (very important). Currently over 2,000 miles of streams have been buried.
  • The picture on the right depicts a typical natural gas rig site. Many sites require some sort of forest displacement because of the need for access roads, drill pads, fracking ponds, and tail-end ponds.
  • NOW GO!
  • There's Something About Appalachia...

    1. 1. There’s Something About Appalachia…Tom Weinandy Appalachian Institute
    2. 2. Overview• What is Appalachia?• Culture• Politics/Economics• Energy/Environment• Health• Making a Difference!
    3. 3. Appalachia
    4. 4. CULTURE
    5. 5. Outdoor Adventure
    6. 6. History
    7. 7. Boom and Bust Economies
    8. 8. Labor Unions
    9. 9. POLITICS & ECONOMICS “A Rich Place with Poor People”
    10. 10. •US electricity= 45% from coal•WV electricity= 98% from coal•Coal provides 53,000 jobs throughout entireregion. In some counties it’s as high as 40-50% ofemployment.•Appalachian coal mining made $720 million intaxes in 2005.Coalis King!
    11. 11. Poverty Rates Despite coal miningmore than 100 counties remain in poverty West Virginia: 50th in average family income
    12. 12. Unemployment RatesEconomy of extreme highs and lows
    13. 13. Energy and Environment
    14. 14. Mountain Top Removal
    15. 15. Natural Gas -- FrackingGood or bad? Marcellus Shale
    16. 16. 1st adult current smokers2nd obesity rates (adults) Health1st diabetes6th low birth weight1st loss of all teeth by age 6546th life expectancy
    17. 17. Making aDifference…
    18. 18. …and experiencing Appalachia
    19. 19. Appalachian Institute Tom Weinandyat Wheeling Jesuit University Twitter: @tomweinandy
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