Guest post by JC Woodley
Having a voice and telling my story are important steps in finding an acceptable resolution to the issue of industrial logging in my community. I experienced “that step” in participating in the meeting with a Dutch delegation in Richmond, Virginia early this November. On several occasions now, I have told my story regarding the impacts on my community due to Enviva’s industrial logging in Northampton County, NC and Southampton County, VA. However, telling it to decision makers that day has made a difference in my overall outlook regarding such impacts on other communities.
Today, I believe there is going to be a positive change in the way industrial logging will impact all communities.
My voice represented the many voices of the affected communities in the Southeastern USA crying out for help. I come from a community where it is a constant challenge to make the money necessary for families to survive. So many communities are becoming beat down psychologically with nowhere to turn because of the lack of jobs. Compound that with having their environment destroyed right in front of their eyes is another blow they have to take. Then the constant noise, smell and heavy truck traffic does not help either. You have a family with kids who are afraid of the trucks, sick from the particulates in the air and no relief in sight.
This is all too much for a community to have to bear. How can they live like that? Why should they have to live like that?
I felt the decision makers (including the Dutch delegation) in Richmond, VA heard the voice of those communities through me and through the Dogwood Alliance staff. I am so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to be one of the voices crying out, “HELP ME!”
After working in academia for years, James worked with the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. His greatest joy involves working on issues to protect the environment. Having to retire early because of a recurring bout of polio, James has immersed himself in addressing environmental issues from his home. Recently, he began working with Dogwood Alliance in addressing industrial logging impacts on the target environments and affected communities. Dogwood’s work is important to him because the issues are vital to the welfare of the community that he was born and raised in.