Why experts believe parts of Appalachia could lead in climate resiliency

Flood debris remains in EKY
Flood debris remains in EKY(WYMT)
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 10:03 AM CDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Climate change concerns are already influencing where many Americans are choosing to live.

Director of Community Impact for Invest Appalachia, Baylen Campbell said that available data points to central Appalachia as a likely important hub for in-migration and climate-adaptive development.

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“What we want to gage and understand better is about you know, what happens when hills call people home. Who may not have ever called this place home, and how can we as a region be prepared for that to happen,” he said.

He also said that Appalachia has seen the effects of the climate crisis with back-to-back floods and that the region has a unique role in the country when it comes to climate resiliency.

“I think it is about how communities can start better preparing and understanding what resilience looks like. You know, ranging from infrastructure to housing to sustainability in our built-in natural environments,” he said. “We now know very well that we are our best first responders and catalyst for recovery. Folks are still out doing it day in and day out.”

Campbell also added that the floods have created some out-migration for folks from the region. However, many Kentuckians have already proven their resiliency.

“Our task and our additional research, and I think the big goal is that we can create opportunities out of these challenges. Not only the ones that we have currently but the ones that are to come. That’s creating opportunities out of challenges because they will be necessary,” he said.

Based off of Campbell’s research he said that he is expecting these changes in in-migration to take place over the next century.