Youth Recycling, Environmental Stewardship, and Slow Activism in Southern West Virginia

Jordan Lovejoy (University of Minnesota)

Since 2015, the Wyoming County East High School Friends of the Earth student group in West Virginia has successfully developed and run the county’s only recycling program. The group, led by their science teacher, has gained both national attention and local support for their recycling and environmental efforts in the southern coalfields. This paper explores how a youth-run program’s bottom-up work, slow efforts, and environmental advocacy have led to a local promotion of environmental stewardship, investment in public space, and an ability to speak across political and generational divides to discuss topics like climate change, environmental advocacy, and future livability.

Part of 03-02 Environmentalisms from the Bottom Up: Knowledge Exchange in Appalachian Contexts, Thursday, October 13, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm