Today Dogwood Alliance is excited to join in solidarity with the international movement for Blog Action Day 2015 and contribute to this year’s theme, #RaiseYourVoice. We all have the power to create the world we want to see yet for many of our fellow changemakers raising their voice comes at a great risk. Here in the Southern US and around the world, this must change!
Here in the South communities are no stranger to extractive industries that put greed over the health and prosperity of the people. We know all too well the familiar story of profit-hungry corporations and politicians promising economic development and community care, but delivering low-paying jobs, environmental disasters, and health consequences that reverberate for decades.
It’s time to #RaiseYourVoice.
Southerners also know the power of community action. From the oil rigs of the Gulf South to the hog waste lagoons of North Carolina, Southern residents have successfully come together to protect their health, heritage, and way of life.
The wood pellet industry is disrupting the quality of life, health, environment, and safety of residents across the South. In Eastern North Carolina, Jane Thornton and Deborah Kornegay dread the completion of the Enviva plant, whose industrial-scale logging and production of wood pellets is putting their rural community at risk. In an area where most of the residents make their living by farming, the threat of logging on air and water quality, flood plain protection, and erosion is deeply felt.
The increased truck traffic from the facilities is clogging up the roads, damaging publicly funded roadways, and poses a serious safety concern to local commuters.
Furthermore, this industry is being fueled by massive subsidies and incentives, all at the expense of local taxpayers. What few jobs the industry provides come at the expense of the forests, air, and water of communities. Development that destroys the environment and health of the people is not development.
With organizing and action, we can pave the way for a future that puts the needs of the people before corporate profit, and values our forests for the myriad of life-supporting services they provide just by standing. Our Southern communities and forests are not resources that can be taken advantage of for the personal gain of greedy industries. They are vital components of a vibrant global community and ecosystem, and we must take action to make sure they continue to be so.