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Beyond Coal: A Resilient New Economy for Appalachia

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Todd, John; Doshi, Samir; McInnis, Anthony
Journal: Solutions
Volume: 1
Page(s): 45-52
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8363
Sector: Social Organization
Region: North America
Subject(s): coal
economic development
environmental change
Abstract: "Coal mining has dominated the economy of Appalachia for more than a century and has drastically altered much of the regional ecology. Among the primary impacts of coal mining are degraded soils, slurry impoundments, contaminated streams, polluted air, human health effects, and a reduction in biodiversity. We address the broad issue of Appalachia's future by proposing an alternative to the devastating large-scale practice of surface mining in central Appalachia, including mountaintop removal and valley fill surface coal mining. We propose a theory of ecological design for the remaking of damaged landscapes and the creation of a diverse new economy with the broad participation of the people of the region. Our design approach applies ecological principles to the healing of the landscape and the formation of an economy based on natural resources and renewable energy. It includes ecomimetic technologies and techniques for the generation of new soils, the revegetation of the landscape, the treatment of wastes (including mining waste), the cultivation of foods, and the generation of fuels and other products. We see soil formation on a broad scale as the primary driver for a durable future. Without it there can be no viable economy."

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