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Restorative Jobs and Opportunity in Natural Infrastructure

By October 11, 2022October 12th, 2022No Comments

By Molly O’Brien

Molly O’Brien is a Research Intern for ReImagine Appalachia

On Tuesday, October 4, ReImagine Appalachia hosted a panel webinar to share the results of a research paper that RA intern Molly O’Brien has written on our REJOIN initiative, Restorative Jobs and Opportunity in Natural Infrastructure. Expanding on a previous whitepaper on the need for a big and boldly reimagined Civilian Climate Corps for the 21st century, the REJOIN paper presents program examples and policy priorities from organizations in our region who are engaged in the type of work we would hope to see in a modern CCC: reforesting abandoned mine lands, maintaining parks and public green spaces, reclaiming and revitalizing urban lots, practicing sustainable agriculture, and offering employment to returning citizens. 

Some of the key takeaways from our partners were:

  • Community engagement and collaboration are critical. “Don’t reinvent the wheel. Someone has already done that. Find them and keep the wheel spinning.” 
  • Investing in ecosystems such as soil remediation and erosion prevention has big payoffs, and makes good economic sense, 
  • Jobs created should be sustainable in every sense of the word:
    • Long-lasting and won’t be transferred elsewhere
    • Pay wages that can sustain a family
    • sustain our natural resources that have been exploited and extracted

You can listen to the webinar recording HERE

We are still receiving comments and feedback before making this paper final and publishing it on the ReImagine Appalachia website. The full draft is HERE if you would like to review it and provide comments. We will be sure to let you know when the final version is published as well. 

Here are links to the organizations our panelists represent:

Many thanks to the people who were interviewed or otherwise contributed to the paper:

For some additional reading, here are the links to other relevant reports mentioned by our panelists Ted Boettner, Jessica Arriens, and Wendy Tarr: