Invest Appalachia, an impact investment organization serving the people of Central Appalachia, released a new report, Climate Resilience in Central Appalachia: Impacts and Opportunities, aimed to improve economic resilience for the region.
The evidence-based analysis shows that Central Appalachian communities, including towns in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, are well-positioned to become top choice locations for Americans moving as a result of climate change. The report also identifies new opportunities for investment as well as community-driven strategies to build economic resilience for the region.
“The Climate Resilience in Central Appalachia report aims to situate Appalachia within the broader climate resilience dialogue, and provide a basis for collective planning and action towards a resilient future for the region. The findings show that we need bold changes in policy, investment, and economic development strategies in order to prepare Appalachian communities for an increasingly climate-impacted future,” said Andrew Crosson, Chief Executive Officer of Invest Appalachia.
The Climate Resilience in Central Appalachia report shows that concerns about climate change are becoming a driver of where Americans choose to live and that Central Appalachia is one of the best-positioned regions in the nation to receive an in-migration of residents. The report was developed through extensive research, practice-based analysis, and peer review from community organizations, government agencies, higher education, and technical experts. The report authors combine a review of the academic literature and expertise from research institutions along with analysis rooted in the lived experience and on-the-ground outlook of Appalachian residents, industry leaders, and community development.
“Appalachia must play a key role in safeguarding American economic development, safety, and security. Climate is expected to be the dominant driver of global migration in the 21st Century, this report outlines the geostrategic role that Appalachia’s communities and resources will likely play in the coming decades. We need bold thinking from residents and new investments from regional and national funders to prepare our region for the impacts of the climate crisis. Appalachia\’s resources and labor powered the growth of our nation, we believe the mountains will play a pivotal role in saving it,” said Baylen Campbell, Director of Community Impact for Invest Appalachia.
The report identifies the need for climate-informed investment strategies that move beyond the current focus on green tech and energy transition to a comprehensive focus on what makes a place climate resilient, inclusive, and livable.
Report findings highlight areas that are currently under-represented in climate discourse, policymaking, and investments – such as attention to locally-based businesses, community amenities, and infrastructure – as essential elements of a climate mitigation strategy that drives economic resilience.
“While affordable clean energy is important, issues such as community-oriented health systems, robust infrastructure and built environments, thriving local economies, and a diverse regionalized food system are also part of the foundation on which to build a climate-resilient Central Appalachia,” said Joanne Kilgour, Executive Director, Ohio River Valley Institute
\”We need forward-looking, all-inclusive strategies to blunt the negative impacts of climate change and build a prosperous future for the region. The ACT Now Coalition, which includes nearly 100 public and private partners, applauds the vision and analysis found in this report. We believe Appalachia can lead the way in building a more resilient economy,\” said Brandon Dennison, Chief Executive Officer of Coalfield Development.
The Climate Resilience in Central Appalachia report concludes with recommended actions to create a well-rounded, climate-informed approach to economic resilience for groups focused on capital investment, public policy, research, and community engagement strategies.
The Climate Resilience in Central Appalachia: Impacts and Opportunities report is available at https://investappalachia.org/climate-analysis.
Members of the media, contact with questions and requests: Andrew Crosson, Invest Appalachia, [email protected].
About Invest Appalachia:
Invest Appalachia is a regional impact investing fund designed to accelerate and expand community investment across Central Appalachia. Invest Appalachia’s mission is to help finance Appalachia’s transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable economic future. Invest Appalachia is governed by a regionally representative board of directors and managed by regionally-rooted staff. Invest Appalachia works in the Appalachian counties of Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, catalyzing community investment from the ground up. To learn more, visit www.investappalachia.org.