How did you start blogging, and why do you continue?
In September of 2010 I was invited by the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards to attend Appalachia Rising in Washington, D.C. While there I was introduced to two gentlemen from the environmental non-profit Appalachian Voices, J.W. Randolph and Matt Wasson, PhD. Both had read the articles I’d written for their organization’s newsletter, and encouraged me to share my story through blogging. When I returned home I started “Out of the Coal Mines and Into the Fire”.
Today I continue blogging to bring the everyday strife of new generation coal miners to a larger audience while also trying to help coal miners understand the true nature of the industry they work for.
What do you envision for the future of Appalachia?
I would like to see the Appalachia coalfields progress beyond coal, to see the political and economic repression lifted so that this area may flourish. There is enormous potential in the people of Appalachia. It would be wonderful to see their exceptional pride and strong work ethic used in ways that will not strip the land and people of their dignity. Nothing is beyond fixing if people will let it be fixed.
Is there a role for media in realizing that vision?
Information is key to helping people in Appalachia understand the problems they face. Just as the coal industry uses media to convince us that coal is our past, present, and future, media must be used to shed light on the destruction and contamination of our Appalachian homes. Media must also be used to give people hope that Appalachia can and will change for the better.