By Molly Updegrove
Two years ago was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and marked a milestone across our planet. Did you know that over one billion individuals participate in Earth day each year, on average? That is A LOT of incredible people helping to improve the future! The increasing urgency on halting or slowing down the effects of climate change means that this year’s Earth Day will likely bring in a large number of concerned advocates for change. Earth Day has been one of the single-most popular days for action history and must continue that way. You can click here to learn ways to take action this year and learn more on the history of Earth Day via this official website.
While Earth Day is celebrated across the globe, it is crucial that we recognize the importance of protecting our environment in Appalachia and the impact that environmental concerns have on our communities. Please explore our blogs and resources to learn more about the environmental concerns that are impacting your community and how you can get involved.
An aspect that isn’t always highlighted on Earth Day but must continue to be reinforced is that the future of jobs in environmental work must be good unionized jobs. This will ensure that the economy is helping the individuals, families, and communities that are contributing to it. And while we create these good union jobs, this also means creating pathways for people that have been historically left out of the labor market and giving . For instance, we can modernize President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) by target hiring those affected by the opioid crisis and the formerly incarcerated. With this new type of CCC that is currently included in a proposed $555 billion climate reconciliation package, we can heal our lands, create effective job training and apprenticeship programs, and pay a living wage to the workers who can properly provide for their families.
We cannot perpetuate the jobs vs the environment myth. Good paying jobs and a healthy environment are not mutually exclusive. Our blueprint is a testament to that!
ReImagine Appalachia released its framework in July of 2020 with input and support from dozens of organizations in the Appalachian region, including Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The framework had key points to ensure the future of Appalachia is better for current and future generations. As our blueprint states, “The future of the economy must be good for workers, communities, and the environment.” As we celebrate Earth Day this year, ReImagine Appalachia is advocating for this and more, and with the theme of Earth Day 2022 being, “Invest In Our Planet,” we don’t see a more fitting time, than right now, to advocate for our workers, communities, and environment.