Developing Action Competence for Sustainability in Central Appalachia

This case study explores how organizations support community leaders development of action competence for sustainability in an Appalachian Transition project in Eastern Kentucky. Action competence for sustainability is defined as the development of “ability, motivation and desire to play an active role in finding democratic solutions to problems and issues connected to sustainable development” (Mogensen & Schnack, 2010). Aspects of action competence include investment, inclination to take action, awareness of consequences and roots to the problems, development of a vision and solutions, and knowledge into action (Almers, 2013). An Appalachian Transition project could be defined as a grassroots innovation. Seyfang and Smith (2007) define grassroots innovations as “networks of activists and organizations generating novel bottom-up solutions for sustainable development; solutions that respond to the local situation and the interests and values of the communities involved” (p. 585). These types of initiatives are typically motivated by unmet social needs and ideology, rather than a profit motive found within the market economy. The case study includes semi-structured interviews of participants in the project and document analysis. This study would also fill a gap in the literature and understanding of adult education in Central Appalachian communities striving to develop a different economy consist within this tradition.