Ending coal use is a critical step in the fight against climate change – but many communities’ residents and economies have depended on its production for generations.
Nonprofit organization Coalfield Development, led by Brandon Dennison, is working to break that chain in the Appalachian region of the United States. He aims to help build a greener, more diversified economy, “an economy that leverages our natural environment rather than extracts it, destroys it, ships it all out.”
His organization creates opportunities for those facing barriers, while revitalizing the local economy and supporting the climate fight. Coalfield Development hires unemployed members of the community – many of whom are recovering from substance use disorder – to retrofit buildings to improve energy efficiency, grow local food, and install clean energy systems. Every week, those in the program work for 33 hours, attend community college for six hours, and participate in personal development sessions, focused on overcoming trauma, for three hours.