Futures Scenario Project Sustainability/Disciplined Society

Futures Scenario Project

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Page 1: Futures Scenario Project

Futures Scenario ProjectSustainability/Disciplined Society

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Sustainability ScenarioAccording to Jim Dator, in the field of Futures Studies there are 4 generic possible futures: continued growth, collapse, disciplined society and transformation. The rest of this study will focus on what the future could possibly be for Appalachia if it becomes a disciplined society in the next 30 years. In the year 2009, people are noticing that something needs to change—the region doesn’t need certain areas to continue to boom while others head toward total collapse. Achieving a Disciplined society, or sustainability, is what the majority of this research is going to be about.

What will Appalachia look like in 2039?

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Introduction Appalachia, a land where people have a tender

kinship with the earth, has endured many things the last three decades. It is the year 2039, and while many things have changed in the past 30 years, it has still sustained its basic way of life. Appalachia still has the same limitations, and the majority of America has a distorted view of what Appalachia and its mountain people are really like. The region’s problems from years before still haunt the Appalachia of today; small cities and towns revolve around a single industry, drug abuse is a prevalent issue, and a majority of the people are impoverished.

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IntroductionOld systems take time to over-haul, especially

when years of a certain way of thinking and doing things are embedded in the culture of these people. While many things have remained the same in the region, over the years technology has developed and the globe’s view on certain issues have drastically changed. These viewpoint shifts have sparked a culture of people aware and willing to help the environment in our capitalistic society. Appalachia has moved away from only “King Coal” and has focused on other alternative sources of energy.

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Phase One: 2009-2019 2009/2010- The current economy is the worst it has been since

The Great Depression. The U.S. economy hasn’t gone backwards since WWII but is now doing so and causing great consequences. Billions of dollars have been lost in businesses, and many people have been left hungry and/or homeless. The International Monetary Fund declared the situation as “ the deepest global recession since the Great Depression.” The IMF predicts a 1.3 percent shrink in the global economy for 2009.

The downturn of the economy is going to leave people all around the globe unemployed. The Appalachian region is already below the curve compared to the rest of America when it comes to poverty and unemployment figures—poverty rates are sometimes twice as bad in Appalachia as the national average. This dire economic situation will be felt most in a region where people are already poor and have great difficulty finding jobs.

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Phase One: 2009-2019 2011-2013- Because of the global recession, the world has had to focus on

alternative ways of doing things they have grown so accustomed to throughout their lifetime. People are learning to reduce spending to shrink the amount of cash flowing out of their wallets. With this mind set has also come environmentally friendly practices. An energy crunch is happening and people around America are taking the “reduce, reuse, recycle” attitudes to heart. To save money Americans are being inventive and frugal and are becoming more conscious of their wasteful habits. This leads to a nation that opens up to the idea of “Green practices”.

In 2012, President Barack Obama will be elected for his second term. Building upon his last 4 years in office, and embracing the attitudes the majority of the current population, he continues to push the “green movement”. He wants to “reset capitalism” so as it puts the environment at the center. This practice will shift environmental costs to the producers, rather than the rest of society. Obama wants to ensure companies can’t structure their “operations so that any upside gains accrue to their owners while the risks or costs get shifted onto society as a whole”. Obama also will commit to adopting a transparency for environmental companies. Adequate information about economic actors will have to be given, and public officials will also ensure that disclosures of this information is complete and accurate.

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Phase One: 2009-2019•In Appalachia, some things are transforming. Because Obama has embraced the Green Movement, the EPA is continuing crackdowns on environmental groups—including coal companies. If coal companies want to continue to stay alive, they will have to research other ways of doing business whether it be by coming up with a “clean coal” alternative, or some other alternative energy sources. President Obama wants the nation to be committed to change, as we “have the resources to change”. He speaks of creating “green jobs” and believes that “no single issue is as fundamental to our future as energy”. According to Obama, America’s dependence on foreign oil is one of the most serious obstacles our nation has faced. He believes it drives prices up as we are at the mercy of international corporations.This is one of his primary motives of pushing the “Green Movement”. Appalachia sees that, and coal companies are figuring out their next move.

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Supplemental Videohttp://alternativeenergy.com/profi


Obama speaking about energy and America’s future.

Watch: 1:09-2:00

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Phase One: 2016-2019 2013-2016-The Green Movement has continued to sweep the nation. People are proceeding

with their green efforts with a common purpose. Obama has put more money than ever in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. This has enabled scientists, businesses and workers to move forward. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan places a down payment on the economy and initially put 460,000 people to work with clean energy investments. It has doubled the capacity to generate alternative energy over the next couple years.

This Plan has spread to Appalachia. With the EPA crackdowns on environmentally negative activity, restrictions on surface mining have expanded. This has increased costs and crippled the coal industry in the region. Before the “Green Movement”, coal production was at an all time high while the number of mining jobs was at an all-time low.

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Phase One:2016-2019Hard times on the coal industry mean hard times for the

Appalachian people. With whole towns based around the coal industry, everyone is hurting. Elites in town are even feeling the effects of a stifled economy, but still are holding their ground because they benefit from the coal industry. They are also awaiting the election of the new U.S. President.

A democratic President is elected and upholds the plans Obama set forth. The President continues the Green initiatives and motivates people once again to remain focused on being Green. Continued pressure by the national government has the coal industry researching other alternative energy sources to become involved with.

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Phase Two:2019-2029 2019-2021-With the American people focused on Green initiatives, the jobs

that were being researched and planned for during the Obama administration are finally coming in full swing. Green Jobs and Alternative Energy are becoming the fastest growing energy sector. People in America are being retrained to obtain a “green job” and the American people are finally going back to work—getting things back to normal.

Watch: What Is a Green Job? Video- http://alternativeenergy.com/profiles/blogs/what-is-a-green-job-video 28 seconds-1:30

The coal industries in Appalachia did not expect the switch to more alternative energy sources to happen so fast; they haven’t planned for it. Coal companies are losing profits and cutting salaries for workers while laying others off. The rest of America is going back to work but Appalachia, being a single industry region, triumphs and fails according to the coal company.

Laborers and families are having to leave the region to seek out work and other opportunities.

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Phase Two:2019-2029•2021-2025- Coal companies have buckled down to find solutions to their problems. While they are not going to be able to change the attitudes of the people, they must evolve into what the people want, and what is going to make them money. •Coal companies are shifting. They are no longer only coal companies—they are energy companies. For example, Hazard Coal Company is now Hazard Energy Company. These energy companies are investing in wind turbines and solar panels to put on reclaimed strip mine land and on mountains that were previously used for mountain-top removal mining. These newly made energy companies are reviving the Appalachian region. People are getting jobs to install and maintain these new systems, and Appalachians are moving back to the region because more opportunities are available.

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Brief Description of Solar Panels

•Solar Panels use renewable energy from the sun and are a clean and environmentally friendly way of collecting energy. While they may cost money, they will create jobs for many Appalachians that will in turn put that money right back into the regional economy. •Solar Panels are arrays of Photovoltaic cells that harvest sunlight and convert it into electricity. It is an infinite resource, and provides no ill effects to the environment.

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Brief Description of Wind Turbines

•A wind turbine is a machine that takes wind (kinetic energy) and turns it into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy can then be turned into electricity. Just like solar panels, wind turbines are using a natural renewable resource and they are environmentally friendly.

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Phase Two: 2019-20292025-2029: In the year 2025, newly turned “Energy

Companies” have caught up with the Green Movement. The green industry in Appalachia is booming and is supplying more jobs now than the coal industry was when its “boom” ended. Coal is still being utilized, however, the energy companies are now also focusing on coal, solar and wind sources for energy.

Energy companies now have even more control over the Appalachian region than coal companies did. Most people’s job in the Appalachian region are tied up somehow with the Energy Companies. The Energy Companies are able to expand because of high demand for new energy equipment (solar panels/wind turbines), thus creating even more jobs.

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Phase Three: 2029-2039 2029-2039: With the recent success of the Energy

Companies, they are even more committed to hiring scientists and personnel to stay on the cutting edge of new technology, thus starting a tech revolution. More effort is being put into the thought of geothermal energy and the money it could bring to the company. Geothermal energy uses the heat from the earth to produce energy. The heat from the earth’s mantle rises through the crust and this hot water and steam can be extracted and used. The energy can create electricity. Geothermal energy is just another facet of what the energy corporations want to incorporate. They have mastered the field of coal, wind, and solar energy and incorporating geothermal energy is only going to expand their role in the Appalachian Community.

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Conclusion In 30 years the Appalachian region went from one in a dire economic situation, to a

one that has recovered with a vengeance. People were without jobs and the stubborn coal industry controlled the lives of many Appalachians during the tough economic time. Elites and Coal Industry big wigs controlled the city and made the most important decisions for the people. Everyone is connected, and only those on the “right side” really benefitted.

With Obama’s push for more Green Initiatives came a change for America. American’s were becoming more environmentally conscious and Green Companies were profiting. Coal companies were losing money and cutting back on employees and overhead costs. Mountain people had to move out of the region to find jobs and opportunity. The already poor Appalachian region was hurting, and on the verge of collapse.

When America began relying on alternative sources of energy as well as coal rather quickly. The coal industry was struck by surprise and had to act fast. All of their resources poured into research of alternative energy sources, and soon enough coal companies turned into energy companies. Former coal companies began to master and manufacture wind turbine and photovoltaic cells. This opened up a window of opportunity for the Appalachian region. Things were looking up—especially for the energy companies. People coming back to the region were getting jobs with the energy company. Since no other real development had taken place, the energy company was the center of the city again, and had a large amount of control on the decisions being made by politicians.

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Conclusion The energy companies are booming so much that they are able to expand.

With that is the thought of investing in another type of energy that is sometimes overshadowed by solar and wind energy—geothermal energy. Geothermal energy would give energy companies another leg to stand on, even furthering their reach in the Appalachian region.

Drugs are still a problem in the region. When the economy took a turn for the worse, and it seemed like Appalachia may collapse, more people than ever turned to drug use. No new systems are in place to combat this problem than were 30 years before.

The stereotype of Mountain People of Appalachia is still in place. When Appalachians moved to other parts of the country to get jobs, they took their accents, and slower way of life with them. They lived with family, thus, their crowded homes, or big groups of Appalachians together perpetuated the stereotype.

The Appalachian region went from being on the verge of collapse, to booming. However, the same limitations that were in place 30 years ago are still prevalent today in 2039.

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Additional NotesI went about my project in a little bit

different way than most other students. I really focused on telling a story—especially one that could be easily explained to anyone, no matter what their experience with this subject is.

I know I am a little under the word count even with two pictures and two videos, but I felt like adding in more would be useless babbling on my part.