Council Day Celebrates Earth Day, Launch of Mountain Mindful

At Coalfield Development, we take sustainability seriously: in the workplace, in our endeavors, and in our personal lives. With Earth Day in our periphery and the recent launch of our newest eco-friendly social enterprise, Mountain Mindful, much of our conversations centered around conservancy on Friday during our monthly Coalfield Council Day meeting.

Last week, with nearly 50 Coalfield team members in attendance, we virtually gathered to participate in team-building exercises, host constructive conversations, and celebrate our wins, both personal and professional. Our team was also joined by featured speaker Eriks Brolis, of The Nature Conservancy, who spoke about the long-term impacts of climate change and how our organizations are partnering to determine the best ways to assist and protect our environment.

Each shirt you buy from us keeps up to 6 plastic bottles out of the landfill.
Each pound of wood product you purchase is a pound of an abandoned building that would have otherwise been wasted in a landfill.
Mountain Mindful’s Successful Launch

After months of planning and production, we debuted Mountain Mindful, a social enterprise that combines the creativity and specialized skills of our crew members from Sustain U, Saw’s Edge, and more to create one-of-a-kind apparel, home furnishings and self-care products. Since the launch last Thursday, dozens of new orders have been placed!

As Appalachians, resourcefulness is ingrained into our DNA. So, when we created Mountain Mindful, it was important to create items that were made to last — items that could become heirlooms for future generations. Each of our unique handmade products are crafted with care from reclaimed, recycled and organic materials, allowing us to decrease our carbon footprint. For customers, this means a one-and-done deal: unlike mass-produced items that are designed for short-term usage, these items are built with the future in mind.

Guest Speaker Eriks Brolis

As this month’s featured speaker, Eriks Brolis, of The Nature Conservancy, took time to meet with our team and share some valuable insight into our current climate situation. In collaborating with The Nature Conservancy, our team at Coalfield Development aims to find more Earth-friendly solutions to some of the persistent challenges our region encounters.

Responsible forestry, repurposing minelands for tourism and recreation, and using that development to stimulate the local economy and create job opportunities are a great place to start.

“This is our vision,” Eriks said. “We’ve been working together to sketch out how we see the coalfields region really fitting into this changing climate and shift in economy [that starts with] collaborating with stakeholders, to moving up to reforestation on minelands as an opportunity across the hundreds of thousands of acres that are, right now, without forest.”

In closing, Eriks emphasized the need to focus on the long term view when making decisions today, as small actions can lead to big impacts. The coalfields, he said, can be a haven for wildlife and plants.

Tips for Being More Responsible Consumers

Toward the end of the Council Day, we divided into smaller breakout rooms to discuss some of the actions we can take to be more responsible consumers. Each group shared their own insight, with advice ranging from avoiding single-use plastics, to decreasing animal product consumption, to recycling materials.

As we reflected on Earth Day, CEO Brandon Dennison addressed a common misconception: In Appalachia, where many land-based industries have left irreparable impacts on our environment, many still believe that industries cannot be successful unless they are compromising or exploiting the environment. But at Coalfield Development, we know that’s not the case. Each of our social enterprises demonstrates that sustainable, environmentally-conscious business is possible — and it’s able to thrive here.

“A lot of times we’re told that taking care of our planet or being a steward of creation goes against having good jobs and that you can’t have both,” Dennison said. “By taking better care of our planet, we can actually create more jobs and better quality jobs and more fulfilling jobs that help us be better stewards of creation.”

In closing, Brandon Dennison closed with a word of praise for our team, our progress over the last few months, and our respect for our environment. At the end of the day, we must all take responsibility in looking out for the future of our planet.

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