Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ground Zero

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.


The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Thanks for giving exposure to this excellent cause. How sad that this beautiful expanse of forest should be destroyed - forever. And the benefits reaped from this mining would last for only a short time. I have signed the petition and will help spread the word. It's time I started contacting Congress.

daharja said...

I did live in West Virginia, a decade ago. I have walked Appalachia's ancient forests, and I've lived among the families who have lost members to "black lung", caused by a life of breathing coal mine dust. Many of them were good friends during my year spent in Fairmont, WV.

The people of WV need clean renewables. They need to get out of the rut of coal mining, and into the challenge of clean energy - for them, for their communities, and for their country.

Ground zero - you bet. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the world I've ever seen, or had the good fortune to live in. to think of it being leveled to heat up the planet is shameful.

This isn't my fight any more, because I don't live in the US any more. But I am soooo behind you, 100%.

I look forward to seeing windmills, not coal mines, in my old home state.

Daharja at Cluttercut

Green Bean said...

Farmgal: Thank you!! I thought, if I get one person to take action because of this post, then its worth it. Thank you, thank you, for taking action.

Daharja: It's truly heartbreaking. Thank you for the support.

kale for sale said...

That is a good sign that the person on the other end of the phone at the White House knew what you were talking about. You're awesome for calling. I'm the petition signer but I rarely call. What I want to say though is there's a new movie, Coal Country, that seems to do a good job about bringing mountain top removal up close and personal. I saw a 40 minute clip of it several weeks ago and I'll definitely do what I can to see the entire thing once it's out, which I believe is soon. In any event, you would probably like it. I loved Lost Mountain. Not the reality of it but the way the story and information was written. Thanks for posting about this.

Green Bean said...

Katrina: Please post about Coal Mountain when it comes out. Actually, I'm very much a DVD girl. With two kids, we don't get out to movies much. Speaking of which, wonder when Food Inc comes out on DVD. Hmmm, off to check . . .

Lynn from OrganicMania.com said...


What a great post...and I'm so glad to hear that you called the White House. So often bloggers just blog..which is great...but it's not enough. We need to remember to follow-up our actions with calls and letters to Congress and The White House. It's so important!

Lynn from OrganicMania.com said...

Arghh...just realized Michelle wrote that post! I was thinking of the message from Erin about the post! :) Need more....coffee...uh, green tea..but with caffeine!

Diane said...

Actually, Green Bean, a lot of power in California does come from coal-fired power plants, though not necessarily from mountain-top mines. So many of us don't have a clue that the energy we're using - whether from coal or oil or nuclear power -- causes so much pollution or so many health problems. We just flip our electrical switches and voila! Wouldn't it be great if every time we turned on a light or the power button on our computers, we got a notice about how much coal needed to be mined so we could have that spurt of electricity? It might make more of us realize that electricity costs a lot more than the few dollars we pay for it every month.

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