Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Environmental protection is often a contentious topic in regions closely tied to extractive industries. This is especially true in places such as the Appalachian coalfields of Kentucky and West Virginia, where coal mining has existed in place for over a century. Here, the mining industry has exposed communities to many environmental hazards and harmed an outsized number of workers. Despite the industry declining significantly over the previous two decades, coal mining is considered a part of local identities and continues to hold strong grassroots support. This work is an examination of how history, culture, and conceptions of identity exist in tension with environmental activism, how historical events have been mobilized by coal producers to gain support for an industry in decline, and how environmental activists and conservation groups can better find support in this social landscape by understanding the values of people living in communities strongly associated with identities shaped by industry.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Sonja Pieck

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.