Eastern Kentucky contains some of our wildest natural places. Located in the central Appalachia, this region is beautiful and scenic, with unique geological features. Eastern Kentucky also faces many challenges: for years, eastern Kentucky counties have ranked among the poorest, with low per capita income and poor infrastructure. In addition, this region has faced numerous environmental and public health crises from traditional coal mining, mountaintop removal coal mining, and related water pollution from the industry. Widespread poverty, the opioid epidemic, structural racism, underfunded schools, and few job opportunities compound the ecological issues.
The people of Appalachian Kentucky are strong. They banded together during the Eastern Kentucky Floods of 2022, feeding, sheltering, and caring for one another as the creeks rose to unprecedented levels. An article in Sierra Magazine interviewed Kentucky's state geologist who called the flooding “unprecedented.” He also noted that it was “consistent with our expectations” for climate change.
Eastern Kentucky is no stranger to the fight for environmental justice, and in previous decades, Local Groups were active in the Highlands, Red River, and Troublesome areas. With the support of the Kentucky Chapter, we hope to connect with community partners already doing good work to raise awareness of climate change and the fossil fuel industry’s effect on the region and its people.
If you are a Sierra Club member in eastern Kentucky and want to become a Sierra Club volunteer leader, contact Chapter Director Julia Finch, email@example.com, or Chapter Coordinator Sarah Reeves, firstname.lastname@example.org.