From the bean of Green Bean.
I don't live in the Appalachian Mountains. In fact, I've never been there. I've never walked Appalachia's ancient forests or sat in the valley below, wondering at the ability of forests, such as these, to pull and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. I've never listened to the chirp of its threatened song birds that dwell in the eighty different species of trees that crawl along its mountainsides. And I've never tiptoed across its bubbling streams of the "rain forest" of North America. I've also never seen, first hand, the destruction of the most diverse ecosystem on the continent . . . for cheap coal. A year ago, though, I read Lost Mountain, a stomach churning book that chronicles mountain top removal from the beautiful forest to the desolation that remains. (Read my review here and then pick up a copy of the book.)
But still I live in California. Very little of my energy comes from the dirty hands of coal. My mountains are intact. It is easy to forget. To push mountaintop removal from my mind. To think of it as someone else's battle.
Mountaintop removal, though, is more than that. According to Grist, it is shaping up to be ground zero for Climate Change and renewable energy movements. A study recently found that one mountain, Coal River Mountain, could be the site for windmills generating up to 328 megawatts of clean wind energy. That could power 70,000 West Virginia homes, provide permanent jobs and nearly two million in taxes. Residents rallied around the idea of a profitable, long term wind farm. Green jobs vs. the coal industry. And yet, that mountain is now slated for destruction.
Courtesy of Appalachian Voices
On October 24th, people across the planet demanded Climate Action. If we, as a country and as a planet, want to shift from the dead end of fossil fuels to the hope of renewables, now is the time to take a stand. Sign the petition, call the President or email him, email the EPA, write Congress, tell your friends, talk about it on Facebook, tweet about it, blog about it. Just don't forget about it.
Because saving Coal River Mountain, ending mountaintop removal is so much more than just someone else's problem. It's all of our problem.
* When I called the White House, the operator knew immediately what Coal River Mountain was - which I take to be a good sign.