I just got wind of what sounds like a pretty huge action against mountaintop removal mining. It’s called the March on Blair Mountain and it’s happening in southern West Virginia, June 4-11. Marchers will walk 50 miles from Marmet, WV to Blair, WV, and on June 11 there will be a culminating rally and concert in Blair.
Just to read through the logistical details on the website is to get a glimpse of the organizing that’s behind this event–shuttle buses, camping arrangements, childcare, food…it’s inspiring, and so is the deliberate echo of another "march on Blair Mountain," which happened 90 years ago and saw 10,000 coal miners protesting their treatment by coal companies.
Mountaintop removal is really the signature environmental issue for our time and place. The Appalachian environment is literally being dismantled because of the need for fossil fuels. The impacts range from the economic (fewer mining jobs available than in traditional underground mines) to problems with water quality and erosion to, quite simply, the visual annihilation of the mountains. And the burning of coal is, of course, directly linked not only to the degraded air quality present throughout our region but to global climate change.
It’s incredible that private corporations have been allowed to decimate what should truly belong to all of us.
Check it out and think about participating in some or all of the events in June. Anyone who’s planning to go, chime in!