Pollutive industries like manufacturing and energy drive the economy across Appalachia. Air and water quality suffer, landscapes are scarred, while communities are held at the mercy of a boom-and-bust cycle, which trends towards the bust. The term “path dependency” refers to a sort of historical inertia resulting from a resistance to change. Historical choices limit our options today.
Existing structures and institutions can constrain the ways we live—economically, politically, culturally, ecologically. Contemporary choices limit options into the future. We're hanging on to an economy driven by extraction, even as we are developing clean methods of meeting needs. This is a visual document of the legacy our ancestors left for us and what we will leave others.