Energy Integration and Intergenerational Ethics: How Applied Sustainability Provides a Solution to Childhood Poverty

Our Integrated Energy strategy has more than just national collaboration between right/left and RE/Fossil Fuels in mind, we intend to develop a market-based strategy for combating poverty very much in line with Bono’s statement in Forbes where “job creators and innovators are just the key, and aid is just a bridge;” we call it Applied Sustainability. On September 24th, representatives from central Appalachian coalfields are holding a policy workshop in Charleston West Virginia. Below, we have provided additional details along with power point (click on image):


Policy Proposal

Through the lens of energy integration and using both Mingo and McDowell Counties as a case study, this strategy session is focusing  on economic diversification as an essential component to addressing the growing concern of poverty in our state. This panel will discuss the merits of West Virginia developing an all-the-above energy strategy founded upon stimulating the research and development of novel approaches to energy integration. If viable, this proposal will look at existing and potential policies that may work in a synergistic manner to encourage economic diversification in Southern WV, home to some of the most economically distressed counties in the state and country. One example that will be discussed during this session is the development of legislation that encourages the emergence of Integrated Energy Park (IEP) clusters throughout Southern WV that directly relate to existing post-mine land use projects such as the King Coal Highway. IEPs will build from many energy resources including:

  • Coal
  • Biomass
  • Natural Gas
  • Solar

When considering this legislative avenue, this session will emphasize the importance of energy integration which encourages technological linkages between a variety of resources (both Fossil Fuel and RE) with the end goal of stimulating technological innovation – the foundation of developing a culture of entrepreneurship. 

Relationship to Childhood Poverty

As one of the root causes of poverty, the lack of economic diversification has arguably been a thorn in the side of southern West Virginia since the birth of our state. Our hope through this strategy session is to identify specific steps to build upon existing energy resources in a manner which spurs a diverse economic landscape – the basic infrastructure which may provide a robust entrepreneurial eco-system for generating local wealth that will in turn rebuild the institutional landscape (e.g., schools) to directly change the conditions which cause childhood poverty in central Appalachia.

 For more information please visit: WV Policy Symposium – Our Children Our Future



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First and foremost a philosopher, J. Eric Mathis has been at the forefront of initiatives to bridge the gap between the fossil fuel and renewable energy industries through the development and implementation of innovative finance and business models. These models are designed to be beneficial to both industries, creating mutually productive economic linkages between the fossil fuel and renewable industries and most importantly, the surrounding communities. As an active member of the community, he is helping to develop a comprehensive project entitled Sustainable Williamson which emphasizes health and wellness as a key component for economic revitalization. Using Sustainable Williamson as a template, his most recent endeavor is participating in the creation and implementation of the Central Appalachian Sustainable Economies (CASE) network which is a peer-to-peer regional network of innovators cultivating new ideas and resources in central Appalachia to grow healthy communities. Eric is a proud Green for All Fellow, a 2010 recipient of Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Innovation Award for community renewables and a 2012 White House Champion of Change for Greening our Cities and Towns. As self described "evolutionary" and a nationally recognized practitioner of applied sustainability, he helped spearhead one of the America's first student lead Renewable Energy Initiatives, has lectured at MIT as part of the 2013-2014 Sloan Sustainability Speaker Series, has been both a speaker and a moderator of panels at many economic/sustainability conferences and is a frequent contributor/blogger for the world's #1 renewable energy network. His collaborative work has been covered by or featured in Biodiesel Magazine, BBC World News, Eye Opener TV, Bloomberg, Photon Magazine, Daily Yonder, West Virginia Executive Magazine, Fast Company, Home Power Magazine, PBS News Hour and Fortune Magazine. He is presently developing an "augmented" practitioners guide to sustainability that is set to be released 2015.

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