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Project October 4, 2023

Appalachian Changemakers Redefine Environmentalism


Matt McFadden, of Secure Solar Futures, surveys the solar array on top of his daughter’s elementary school in Wise, Virginia. Secure Solar Futures installed the array in 2022 and plans to install several others in the Wise County school system. Image by Hannah Wilson-Black. United States, 2023.

The public often conceptualizes environmental advocates as outdoorsy defenders of plants and animals who live in California and Vermont. However, little major reporting has been dedicated specifically to environmentalists from Central Appalachia and the Upper South.

Through this project, journalist Hannah Wilson-Black reports on how people in Appalachian Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia are trying to bring their beloved communities out of fossil fuel dependencies that have damaged the land and economic diversity of this region.

This series examines their successes, their battles with powers larger than themselves, and, most of all, their love of home.


yellow halftone illustration of an elephant


Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change