Tennessee’s New, Old, Contradictory, and Ultimately Transformative Green Economy: How Personal Stories of Climate Change in an Evangelical, "Red" State Are Amending Green Job and Sustainable Economy Definitions

By Mark J. O'Gorman.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Tennessee, a socially conservative southeastern US state and one of the more politically “red” states in America, has actively acquired renewable energy businesses. Public-private partnerships in the Volunteer State have challenged existing regional socio-political stereotypes by creating projects or hosting firms that are developing next generation solar, ethanol, biomass, and wind energies. While pleasing to sustainably based green job advocates, Tennessee's emerging green economy perplexes environmentalists; given the state's continuing support of nuclear power plant construction, historic Appalachian Mountain coal extraction, present-day fracking, and the state’s half-century of hydroelectric energy generation. How can understanding a state's paradoxical energy economy help to more clearly define green jobs and regional sustainable economics? Is it possible that a coal, nuclear, and renewable energy state be held out as a model of sustainability? Analyzing green jobs scholarship and data revealing TN's green economy will help to explain Tennessee’s current, and possibly future, path to economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

Keywords: Green Jobs, Renewable Energy, Tennessee, Southeastern USA, Appalachian, Climate Change

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.109-131. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.159MB).

Dr. Mark J. O'Gorman

Associate Professor and Coordinator, Environmental Studies Major, Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee, USA

Dr. Mark O’Gorman coordinates the Environmental Studies major, is an associate professor of political science and environmental studies, and has taught at Maryville College, a liberal arts college in east Tennessee, for the past 16 years, teaching political science, public and environmental policy, law and environmental studies classes. Mark currently manages over half a million dollars in green energy and sustainable economic development projects in East Tennessee. He is facilitating renewable energy project construction at Maryville College, and assisting the City of Maryville, TN with deployment of smart metering technology in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Mark’s co-authored book chapter on a sustainable-environment-and-arts-centric focus for faculty-supervised, undergraduate overseas travel to Costa Rica came out in 2011. His book chapter on President Barack Obama’s environmental policy record is forthcoming. You can usually find Mark at many sustainable education conferences in North America, presenting papers on trends in sustainable undergraduate education and renewables-based economic development.