These are the front-line fighters seeking justice for the environment. They are the transformation that is needed to fight climate change. Two such people are Scott Shoupe and Leo Woodberry.
Scott used to be a miner of coal. Now he is a technician for renewable energy in East Kentucky. Leo is a reverend at a small church in South Carolina’s Florence. His parish is mostly African American. The two very dissimilar people met each other over one common ambition – to do something about climate change and environmental neglect. They are tackling two very important challenges: just transition and environmental justice.
The Climate Change Dealt With Small Steps
For over 2 centuries now, Kentucky has continued to be a commercial coal hub. Scott Shoupe and three of his preceding generations were all coal miners. The industry had its ups and downs, but financially the city was not struggling at all. When Scott had started, he was making over $80k annually. This at a time when the average income of a household was about $34k.
However, the occupation had become a source of pride and tradition for the community. However, after working in the mines for over two decades, he was suffering from black lungs and damage to his vertebrae. But Scott and his neighbors have no regrets about the occupation. Right now though, renewable energy has taken over jobs. In 2018, he trained himself through an organization about using his skills for green energy. Now he has a business known as New Age Solutions that is the result of his desire to be a solution. However, he explained, that in many towns the step forward is yet to be taken.
This career path that Scott had chosen landed him a meeting with Reverend Leo. He installed Source Hydropanels, a technology that produces drinkable water from air using solar energy. For Leo, this technology helps his community’s water insecurities. Leo both preaches and champions environmental justice. He believes in a concept known as “creation care”.
The flooding and undependable water situation have been largely countered by the new technologies. He says that this is the basis of democracy and transformation. Truly, two great changers for climate change.