by Cara Cooper, KSEC Organizer
KSEC fights for a Kentucky where we can stay and thrive after graduation, where we don’t have to choose between putting food on the table and the health of our communities or our environment. That is why we are a part of the just transition movement. We believe that we can envision and build a new economy together. We also know that in order for the solutions to work for us-young people have to be a part of the decision-making.
This is how the Solutions Tour was born.
It started off as a survey . Reach out to the dozens of amazing organizations that are working on Just Economic Transition, find out what industries are being touted as the “best and brightest” ideas for the the region, then get young people to weigh in. KSEC’s Just Transition Working Group was pretty stoked about this idea. Imagine all the ways we could present the data (think infographics and social media all the way to presentations at local chambers of commerce) and all the new people we could bring into the conversation.
And then we realized;
If we are going to ask people to weigh in, they probably need some more information, like what is it like to work in that particular industry and what the heck just transition even means. We should also teach people about community participation and ways to get involved in local decision making that affects them, well you know, because surveys are never enough. Plus getting together in person is powerful. So we added in our Youth Assemblies on Economic Transition.
It also seemed important to note that the new economy isn’t in the future, there are real people building it right now (check out a few of my faves here, here and here).
So we added in our Solution Spotlights to highlight the stories of these emerging industries, meet the people making it happen and see how it could work in our home communities. In fact, our first Solution Spotlight is coming up real soon! We’ll highlight young entrepreneurs, new ideas, and opportunities in the technology, sustainable farming, local food, renewable energy, hemp, and creative economies that are popping up all across Appalachia over the next several months.
The KSEC Solution Tour is a way for us to reach new people and learn how we can support each other in not just talking about economic transition, but really taking a hold of our future and creating our own opportunities to stay in Kentucky. We are exploring ideas around hosting workshops of cooperative economic models and how to access resources and hosting a two-day gathering in the Fall. Let us know if there is something that you think would help you feel confident in building your own opportunities -OR- if you want to get involved.
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The Young Kentuckian is a blog of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition where youth share their work and ideas for Kentucky's bright future.
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