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Betsty Taylor2012 women climate justice tribunal

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  • 1. Aerial of Rock Creek household, Showing showing traditional pattern of Appalachian field and forest farming taken by Lyntha Eiler“Poverty, Economic Injustice & Lack of Economic Vitality” Central Appalachian Womens Tribunal on Climate Justice May 10, 2012, Charleston, West Virginia Betsy Taylor (contact betsyt@vt.edu or http://vt.academia.edu/BetsyTaylor)
  • 2. High school completion rates in distressed 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. 2006–2010 povertyrates in Appalachianparts of: Kentucky 24.4% Tennessee 16.9% Virginia 17.5% West Virginia 17.4%2006–2010 US poverty rates = 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, robust economy From 1870s to 1920s, large corporate networks began to dominate the regional economy – cartels of timber, coal, railroad industries with interlocking ownership, membership and big political influence in national legislatures and courts This period was marked by violence, as local elites struggled to find a place in a regional economy rapidly being absorbed by national & global markets This violence was inaccurately stereotyped, in national media, as „primitive‟ violence among „archaic‟ clans– beginning a process of severe cultural stigmatization of mountain peoples as premodern, unintelligent „savages‟SOURCES: 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) Appalachia’s Path to Dependency; Waller (1988) Feud: Hatfields, McCoys and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900
  • 5. Benefits of coal mining Proud heritage of skilled workers, doing dangerous jobs that have been of great importance in national economy Relatively high paying jobs, especially during periods of high unionization Strong social bonds, rich histories, traditions of mutual support & neighborliness in coal-mining communities Vibrant multicultural, multiracial communities when industry draws in workers from diverse ethnic groups and countries
  • 6. Economic macrostructures of 19th c, laid down development pathway for severe economic structural 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 industry has tended to be a job shedding industry, with high rates of injury, anti- unionism & mechanizationSOURCES: Appalachian Land Ownership Task Force (1983) Who Owns Appalachia?; Economic Development Research Group et al (2007) Sources of Regional Growth in Non-Metro Appalachia; Lockard (1998) Coal: a memoir and critique; Mannion & McCourt (2002) Trends in Coal Production and the Socio-Economic and Environmental Cost of the Coal Extraction Industry
  • 7. Trends in Mining Total Productivity 1923-1998 Long term structural12000 In Millions of Short Tons trends in US coal100008000 industry600040002000 •Steep production increases 1923 1933 1943 1953 1963 1973 1983 1993 1998 YEAR •Long term declines in SOURCE: Department of Energy Energy Inf ormation Administration Trends in Coal Mining employment 1928-1998 Working Miners •These data do not support “jobs vs. environment”800000700000600000500000400000 arguments. Coal is not going to300000200000 be strong job producer if100000 0 present trends continue into the 1923 1933 1943 1953 1963 1973 1983 1993 1998 YEAR future. SOURCE: Department of Energy Energy Inf ormation Administration
  • 8. US coal industry tends toward monopolization Trends in Coal Mining 1928-1998 Number of Mines 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 1923 1933 1943 1953 1963 1973 1983 1993 1998 YEAR SOURCE: Department of Energy Energy Inf ormation Administration
  • 9. Recent employment & production trends in Central Appalachian coal industry 350 75,000 65,000 300 55,000 250Millions of Short Tons 45,000 Coal Production DASHED LINE SOLID LINE Mining Jobs 200 35,000 150 25,000 100 15,000 50 5,000 0 -5,000
  • 10. Economic inequality linked to political inequality, domination & divisiveness Power relations with powerful national & global corporate players create tendencies towards cronyism Corporate capture of, or influence over, government regulatory agencies and expert institutions Weakening of capacity to build alternative economic pathways or to plan for time when coal runs out Cycles of „power & powerlessness‟ – vibrant social & environmental justice movements as well as widespread citizen quiescence and hopelessness In 21st century, large-scale coal industry media & public opinion campaign to stigmatize non-coal development In 21st century, lack of social trust & divisions within local communitiesSOURCES: Bell & York (2010) “Community Economic Identity: The Coal Industry and Ideology Construction in West Virginia.” Rural Sociology. 75(1):111-143; Blee & Billings (2000) The Road 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 Critical Regionalism and Civic Professionalism” Journal of Appalachian Studies 8 (1):9-32; Smith & Fisher (2012) Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia
  • 11. Human Development Index: one of mostwidely used indicators of human wellbeing Developed to integrate social & political health measures with economic measures Used by United Nations for international comparison 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 Kentucky’s Human Development Index” Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky 2003
  • 12. 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 poorest countries 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 Kentucky’s Human Development Index”Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky 2003
  • 13. Externalization of costs of coal mining onto Appalachia•Market 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
  • 14. The wealth of Appalachia In the 21st century, resource scarcity, climate change, ability to relocalize production, consumption and transportion will be key features of successful development Sustainable, just development will put a high value on assets that Appalachia has in abundance:  Water  Biodiversity  Proximity of rural producers to urban populations  Local knowledge & cultural assets for sustainable, re-localized economies
  • 15. VERY HUMID REGION•Only 2 other extensive areasof USA have greater annualpreciptation•Clean & abundant watersupply•Rugged topography & highannual precipitation haveformed soils which are poor forindustrial style agriculture butexcellent forhorticulture, forestry, small-scale farming, non-timberforest products
  • 16. Extraordinary biodiversity
  • 17. Appalachian treasures: cultural heritage •Unbroken cultural traditions of sustainable, local, forest farming •Ecological knowledge •Livelihood knowledge & skills •Union heritage: skills of organizing, sense of justice, pride •Cultural attachment to place & land & social systems of mutual support [“neighborliness”] •Powerful tradition of social & environmental justice movements •Global citizensber of Kentuckians for of women who dig Three generations the Commonwealth) ginseng together on Horse Creek, posing with their seng hoes.
  • 18. 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/