Jillian Alt/Iowa State DailyThanks to the help and work of many people over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak about Appalachian issues all across the nation, connecting our region with other impacted communities. As much as I enjoy writing, public outreach through lectures, seminars, and panels, especially those that allow for extensive discussions with audience members, provides the best opportunity for knowledge exchange. Finding common ground is the most important thing we can do as political polarization divides our country. It is the first step toward a just transition, not just in Appalachia, but every community impacted by environmental injustice, be it resource extraction, manufacturing, or climate change.

If you are interested in having me lecture, or join your panel, please contact me using the form below or by contacting Outspoken.

Here are some of the topics I cover:


After years of hard work and millions of dollars invested in environmental advocacy campaigns, marches and protests, something strange happened. The political landscape of the nation shifted once again to support economics over environmental protection. As our country continues to broaden its political and cultural divide, many people are left wondering, “What went wrong?” Appalachia has risen as a microcosm of the nation’s underlying socioeconomic problems, and while there exists a great potential to find truth within the Appalachian experience, there’s a problem. In this talk, I explain the economic and political forces that turned one of the nation’s largest labor rights strongholds into a region of pro-industry attitudes based upon conservative values, helping audiences understand the issues working-class communities face while illustrating the need to rethink the communications framework of environmental activism.


Corporate interests have always sought to maintain a positive public image. But what happens when their intentions turn to manipulating the cultural identity of entire communities? Through investments in marketing, faux grassroots campaigns, and even the infiltration of public education systems, industry is going beyond basic advertising to change the way communities view political and economic issues—often with alarming result. In this lecture, I examine the tactics used by large industry to accomplish cultural hegemony over local communities serving not only as a means to support their brand and increase employee loyalty, but also to defend against public interest groups and government regulations.


Human caused climate change is real, as are the challenges we now face. Although it is absolutely necessary that carbon emissions be reduced, many people continue to challenge the science. How do we convince people of the need for change, and how can we protect those most economically vulnerable as we transition away from fossil fuel? In this lecture I discuss the reality of climate change from a working-class perspective, engaging both believers and non-believers in the need for sustainable energy practices while looking towards a just economic transition for those most dependent on fossil fuel extraction.


Previous Events


October 12th | University of Massachusetts – Boston, MA

October 23rd| University of Buffalo – Buffalo, NY

October 24th | Daemen College – Amherst, NY

October 27th  | Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, VA

November 9th | George Washington University – Washington, DC


February 19th | Iowa State University – Ames, IA
2018 Symposium on Sustainability Keynote

March 23th |State of Appalachia Conference –  Pipestem, WV

March 25th | Citizens’ Climate Lobby Southeastern Conference – Asheville, NC

March 26th | Warren Wilson College – Swannanoa, NC

March 27th | Emory & Henry College – Emory, VA

April 6th & 7th | Appalachian Studies Conference – Cincinnati, OH

April 11 & 12th | Smith College – Northampton, MA


March 2nd | Rothko Chapel – Houston, TX
Toward a Better Future: Transformer the Climate Crisis

Donations are also being accepted to pay travel and living expenses so that speaking engagements can be offered to groups and venues at reduced rates, or for free where honorariums cannot be obtained.

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