Germany and Appalachia: Perspectives on Economic Transition in Coal Communities


A discussion in Whitesburg, Kentucky featured a talk by Timon Wehnert of the Wuppertal Institute as part of a tour of US coal communities sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.

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Discussion participants with a view of mountain-top removal in Virginia from Bear Mountain, the highest mountain in Kentucky

This radio piece was produced and published by Mtn Talk Monday, a radio show featured on local Whitesburg, KY radio station WMMT 88.7.

On July 18th in Whitesburg, Kentucky, local radio station WMMT and Appalshop, a community-run media, arts, and education center, hosted a roundtable discussion on Germany & Appalachia: Perspectives on Economic Transition in Coal Communities. The event featured a talk by Timon Wehnert of the Wuppertal Institute as part of a tour of US coal communities sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America. The trip focused on experiences with just transitions from coal in the US and Germany.

Germany is well-known for its historical reliance on coal mining and recent transition to other energy sources, such as renewable energy. Timon, an energy expert and researcher based in Berlin, shared his insights on Germany’s energy transition in general, and specifically about the phase-out of coal, structural change, and transformation in German coal communities. Timon was joined by leaders working on economic transition in Central Appalachia, including: MACED (Mountain Association for Community Economic Development) Vice President Betsy Whaley and Eric Dixon with Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center.

Mountain Talk is WMMT’s twice-weekly community space for conversation, airing each Monday & Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.  Mountain Talk programs focus on a variety of topics related to life in the mountains, including: food, community issues, art, health, and more.  Click here to hear past programs.