Mountain Justice Summer Needs You!

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Come to Virginia to defend the mountains and all the life that dwells therein!

From May to August of 2008, Blue Ridge Earth First! will
be hosting volunteers in Virginia to work on the Mountain Justice
campaign to end mountaintop removal coal mining. Currently the main
focus of our work in Virginia is in challenging Dominion Power’s
proposed coal-fired power plant in Wise County.

Other issue foci include the sustained efforts to pressure Bank of America and Citi to
pull their funding out of coal and holding solidarity actions against
Richmond-based Massey Energy for their endless MTR, sludge, labor and
human-rights assaults on our friends in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Our state is also currently dealing with proposed expansions to a
nuclear power plant and a corporate and government interest in mining
Uranium in the southern central part of the state.

Activities will include:
– demonstrations and direct actions. (such as small-scale things like
banner drops and Bank of America protests as well as larger-scale
non-violent direct actions targeting Massey and/or Dominion.)
– gardening and dumpstering
– cooking and eating together
– organizing and promoting educational events (speakers, movies, etc.)
– fundraising
– participation in the planning collective for the Southeast Climate
Convergence (site scouting and prep, outreach and promotion,
logistics)
– ongoing workshops
– making stuff (stuff for rallies, stuff for fundraising, stuff for
just being alive)
– renovating a house (campaign house in Appalachia)
– building a cob house (Appalachia)
– working on sustainable farms

– and other ideas as well (such as yours)

Activists in Blacksburg, Harrisonburg and Appalachia (also a town, not only a region) are prepared to host volunteers. In all these communities lodging will be camping in the backyard or on nearby public lands (national forests, etc.). Appalachia will potentially have some house space as well. We have no budget for food but we will be able to grow and dumpster much if not all of what we need. There is no fee for participation in Mountain Justice Summer 08 in Virginia but folks are expected to contribute to group expenses such as travel and food according to one’s own capacity. (Upon contacting us we can have a more extensive discussion about funds and other details of Mountain Justice Summer projects.) Ideally we would like a commitment of two and a half to three months starting with the Mountain Justice Action camp in Eastern Ky, May 17th – 23rd, culminating with the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action in central Virginia at the end of July and beginning of August and calming down a bit thereafter.

We have a particular need for folks who can bottom-line gardening projects with the goal of feeding ourselves and our allies.

For more interest or if you’re already sure you want to come spend some time with us, contact BlueRidgeEF@yahoo.com and let’s talk.

wellness,
Blue Ridge Earth First!

Clinton Down With Mountains Coming Down

Hey all, just started up another blog over at The Green Zephyr. I have to write there a couple times a week, so hopefully it will mean more blogging here too.


So for anyone not aware of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, Mountain Justice Summer is a great resource.

Essentially it is the removal of anywhere from 200-1000 vertical feet of a mountain ridge in order to expose and remove the coal that runs laterally across the mountain in layers. The left over mountain is then dumped into the valley streams between the mountains, burying one of the most important water sources east of the Mississippi.

MTR is a complex issue, one that people like Ed Wiley and Judy Bonds (who will be speaking at JMU on April 16th as part of Earth Week) have been fighting for a long time now. But what should be simple to anyone aware of climate change, ideas of environmental justice or common 21st century sense is that we need to just stop making new coal plants, stop blowing up mountains for the black rock, and start investing in technologies that will be available long after coal is gone (and won’t add to climate change).

“Clinton: “Maybe there’s a way to recover those mountaintops . . .”

Published by jamiehenn, March 19th, 2008 Coal , Coal Campaign , Fossil Fools Day , Politics

With all the attention to Obama’s wavering on coal issues, have we been letting Clinton off the hook? In an interview this morning with West Virginia Public Radio, Clinton wavered on the issue of mountaintop removal, making a false dichotomy between profits and environmental protection. You can listen to the broadcast here or read the quote below:

I am concerned about it for all the reasons people state, but I think its a difficult question because of the conflict between the economic and environmental trade-off that you have here. I’m not an expert. I don’t know enough to have an independent opinion, but I sure would like people who could be objective, understanding both the economic necessities and environmental damage to come up with some approach that would enable us to retrieve the coal but would enable us to do it in a way that wouldn’t damage the living standards and the other important qualities associated with people living both under the mountaintop and people who are along the streams. You know, maybe there is a way to recover those mountaintops once they have been stripped of the coal. You know, I think we’ve got to look at this from a practical perspective.”

There is so much wrong with this response. We need to find ways to retrieve the coal? Here’s a better idea: stop burning it in the first place. And I’m sorry, but since when was it “practical” to blow the tops of mountains, destroy communities, threaten people’s lives, and subvert the political process so that corporations could make an extra buck for bribing judges and politicians with?