Here in West Virginia we've been wondering about the way forward for many years. People feel desperate about the state of things--the widespread loss of jobs, the incredibly scary drug epidemic, the tendency of young people to leave the state. As a Charleston attorney explained in a blog post that went viral last week, it's these lost opportunities and jobs that account for our state's recent election results.
Last week I listened to a documentary called Cedar Grove, produced by Catherine Moore, who says: "There's just kind of a feeling in the air, right now, in central Appalachia, that we have reached a moment, or a crossroads, where we're gonna have to choose a path for our future." Her piece is worth a listen, and her conclusion simple: it starts with us.
And while I like that sentiment (take the power back! be self-reliant! don't wait for someone to save you!), it does leave me wondering. What does that mean?
For my part I say, hey, check out our beautiful state. We got to see some terrain you can't access except on foot by taking a ride on the Cheat Mountain Salamander train outside of Elkins several weeks ago. Which I mention because tourism is one option we have here. Social entrepreneurship is another. Regular entrepreneurship could also work. But how do we make that happen? Should we recruit?