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photograph of Appalachian dirt road, fields and mountains, Click graphic for EPA Energy Star info

Appalachian Ecology -- Part 2

"The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof."
-- Psalm 24:1

"We live in an abundant universe."--Silent Unity

Video above "Amazing Grace" in Tsa-la-gi, native language of the Cherokee Nation.

"Heaven and Earth"

Boohoo to you too.
You're just a nightmare
we all encountered
too close up and personally
without law or morality,
decency or humanity,
truth or sanity,
beasts if ever there were any
in the forms of wo/man.
The multitude, the many
lost in your houses of sand
with savagery at every hand
just as scriptures say
passing away.

"Truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth come to an end, not the smallest letter or part of a letter will in any way be taken from the law, till all things are done." -- Jesus (Matthew 5:16), Bible in Basic English

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; and in that day the heavens will be rolled up with a great noise, and the substance of the earth will be changed by violent heat, and the world and everything in it will be burned up." -- 2 Peter 3:10, BBE

"Heaven and earth will come to an end, but my words will not come to an end." -- Jesus (Mark 13:31), BBE

"Heaven and earth will come to an end, but my words will not come to an end." -- Jesus (Luke 21:33), BBE

Nolichucky River and kayakers, East Tennessee

cut coral "Multibillion-dollar clean coal projects in West Virginia, Texas and Alabama are getting $979 million in federal stimulus funding, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday. The money will go toward retrofitting existing coal-fired power plants owned by American Electric Power, Southern Co. and Summit Texas Clean Energy to capture and store carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas linked to climate change. The Energy Department is aiming to have the technology available commercially -- and to share with other big coal-using countries -- in eight to 10 years. 'Coal is a very important mix of our power. It generates over 50 percent of our electricity. The United States has 25 percent of the entire coal reserves in the world,' Chu said. 'We don't plan to turn our back on coal. Neither will China. Neither will India.'..." -- News Runner, 12/5/09

cut and faceted amethyst "The Obama administration announced a plan today for curbing the use of streamlined federal permitting for mountaintop coal mining and boosting efforts to protect rivers and streams from mining debris. The administration stopped short of prohibiting mountaintop operations, opting instead to curb what it considers the mining technique's most environmentally damaging aspects with an agreement among the Interior Department, the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S...." -- Scientific American, 6/1//09

cut and faceted emerald "A majority of Americans support clean energy. But powerful special interests are blocking our path, spending millions to protect the status quo." -- Repower America

cut moonstone "[former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al] Gore described the book [Our Choice] as a guide to existing technologies that will help citizens around the world tackle climate change: 'If you want to be a part of the solution, this is a guide to exactly how we can solve the climate crisis. Some of the solutions are not simple and easy, but they're all effective and we've got to find a way to implement them.'..." -- The Climate Project

cut moonstone "... 80% of the world's oil reserves are located in just 13 countries which make up OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). Algeria, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Angola, Indonesia, Ecuador, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.... Ethanol made from corn for gasoline engines and biodiesel from soy for diesel engines [are the two main biofuels in use in America today]....As the earth heats and the ice caps melt, there is more dark water and land, which absorbs more heat instead of white ice which reflects light and heat so the earth heats up faster and faster.... Biomass includes any organic material such as trees, yard clippings, hemp, construction debris, garbage, sugarcane, logging residue, and used cooking oil. These materials can be turned into biofuels...." -- The Fuel Film

cut and faceted diamond "... Italian and Norwegian oil engineers and geologists have arrived in Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania to learn how to extract gas from layers of a black rock called shale. Companies are leasing huge tracts of land across Europe for exploration. And oil executives are gathering rocks and scrutinizing Asian and North African geological maps in search of other fields. The global drilling rush is still in its early stages. But energy analysts are already predicting that shale could reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas. They said they believed that gas reserves in many countries could increase over the next two decades, comparable with the 40 percent increase in the United States in recent years.... More extensive use of natural gas could aid in reducing global warming, because gas produces fewer emissions of greenhouse gases than either oil or coal...." -- Clifford Krauss in New Way to Tap Gas May Expand Global Supplies, New York Times, 10/9/09

cut and faceted ruby "... A massive spill at a [TVA] power plant near Knoxville [Tennessee] dumped more than a billion tons of toxic coal ash and buried more than 400 acres of homes and farmland in thick gray sludge. The incident ranks as the largest coal ash disaster in American history...." -- Switchboard, from NRDC

cut and faceted amber "... The waste from burning coal is packed with heavy metals such as arsenic, which causes cancer. Around the country, about 600 landfills and surface ponds are used to store leftover contaminated coal waste. When they break or leak, communities face the risk of contaminated farmland, wildlife and drinking water. And the coal ash stored in unlined landfills in communities all across the country -- and around the world -- can leach into drinking water supplies. Every year, coal-fired power plants in the U.S. produce about 130 million tons of contaminated waste, which we know poses significant health risks. In fact, people living near unlined coal ash impoundments have as much as a 1 in 50 chance of getting cancer from drinking water contaminated by arsenic leaking from the sites, according to studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Only now is the federal government finally considering regulating this hazardous waste -- prompted by last year's devastating coal spill disaster in Tennessee...." -- Rob Perks in Coal Ash: A Clear and Present Danger

cut and faceted garnet "It's been called the Exxon Valdez of coal ash—a wakeup call for a fossil fuel industry. But the recent toxic ash spill in Tennessee is greater in scope than the 1989 oil spill, and despite what some conservationists are calling very real threats, the ash disaster has so far inspired apparently little concern for local wildlife. On December 22 a billion gallons of poisonous sludge—largely coal ash, a byproduct of coal burning—broke through an earthen dike at the Kingston Fossil Plant. The torrent half-buried area homes and elevated long-running health concerns over heavy metals in the ash. Those worries, experts say, are not limited to human health. In addition to the animals killed by the initial spill, wildlife may be threatened for years by the trace amounts of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, thallium, and other toxins in the coal ash...." -- Kelly Hearn in Giant Toxic Coal Ash Spill Threatens Animals, National Geographic

cut and faceted opal "At about 1 a.m. last Dec. 22, James Schean awoke with a start. He heard what sounded like a furious thunderclap and a staccato of snapping trees. Then his house shuddered and heaved. Swept up by some mighty force, it tore clear of its foundation and rumbled off like a derailed freight car. 'I could hear everything breaking," he says, "the rafters cracking, Sheetrock falling off, the furniture getting twisted and moved, all the pictures falling off the walls, glass breaking everywhere.' Amid the upheaval, the power had been knocked out. He groped frantically in the dark for his pants, coat, and work boots, which he'd laid out beside his bed, and struggled to get them on. When the house finally stopped moving, everything went silent.... As Schean soon learned, the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant had experienced a catastrophic failure.... On that December night, the dike surrounding the mound collapsed, unleashing a tsunami that coated 300 acres of gorgeous countryside and waterways with 1 billion gallons of gray sludge. The wall of ash surged with such ferocity that it destroyed three homes, including Schean's, which it carried about 40 feet and slammed against that embankment.... When the ash finally settled, it looked 'like the surface of the moon, all gray and craters and mounds,' says Janice James, who owned one of the other destroyed homes and also managed to escape. "It was the saddest thing I've ever seen.'... Yet the Kingston disaster had only begun to wreak its havoc. The largest industrial spill in U.S. history, it has created an environmental and engineering nightmare. The cleanup effort, which the Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing, could cost as much as $1 billion (though estimates continue to climb) and take years to complete. Meanwhile, the released ash—which is packed with toxins like arsenic, lead, and selenium—threatens to poison the air and water...." -- Arian Campo-Flores in Toxic Tsunami, Newsweek

Video below, Lightnin' Charlie and his wife Beth, East Tennessee

Graphic below: photo by Charles Dyer, Kingsport TN, of Roan Mountain TN-NC

Roan Mountain, East Tennessee, photo by Charles Dyer, Kingsport "... In the last five years alone, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. The violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses. However, the vast majority of those polluters have escaped punishment. State officials have repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which can prosecute polluters when states fail to act, has often declined to intervene...."
-- Charles Duhigg in Toxic Waters, New York Times, 9/13/09

"Coal has come a long way with the passage of clean air and water acts. It isn't as opponents portray it on television."
-- John W. Hutchinson Jr in a letter to the editor, Johnson City Press, 9/20/09

"Stay at a magnificent hotel, play a round of golf, fish a beautiful lake, or waste the day away in one of our parks. Each of these is a result of the reclamation efforts which are part of mountaintop removal."
-- Jennifer Ratliff in a letter to the editor, Johnson City Press, 9/20/09

For those who question the facts, a drive along polluted Appalachian rivers, aquifers and streams and conversations with residents affected without help or concern throughout Appalachian coal country by our just past Administration and corporate owners most particularly both enlightens and saddens. There are also reputable and incontravertible scientific assessments and studies easily accessible on-line and through snailmail by federal, state and private agencies devoted to environmental sanity and healthful good that document and delineate all-around damage in great detail, as well as historically reliable media investigations of criminal negligence such as one recently reported through the New York Times and National Public Radio, and quarterly in the freely-distributed journal Appalachian Voices. Additionally, there are numerous famous and not scholarly books, autobiographies, novels and centuries of regional folk songs describing conditions and consequences of coal extraction without thoughtful diligence for workers, communities and environmental atmosphere.

"And God called the land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas, and God saw that it was good." -- Genesis 1:10. As our planet's earliest inhabitants, sustainingly and reverently integrated into their and our home, knew well and honored, we are all just caretakers passing through. "Earth doesn't belong to us. It is in our keeping for the use and enjoyment of future generations." And we are held to be the keepers of our neighbors, especially the disabled and the poor. "Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." -- Jesus, Matthew 25:45. The Godly and the Christian will see through vacuous excuses and vapid alibis for continuing calamity in our biosphere, accept reasonable and effective alternatives, and support essential remediation efforts for people and planet. -- jH

"Where Coal Lies"

Play a sad song
of love and loss and heartache,
broken dreams and lives,
homes tossed aside by a storm
in the turbulent seas of law and policy
without a redeeming God.
Each one's alone --
bombing women, raping children,
filling the land with diseased bodies, 
screams, toxic wastes and streams of untruth, 
running brain-dead over cold stones.
Views from mountain vales
aren't so gilded or perfect-pretty,
littered as they are in impoverishment
without sight or pity.
Folks who can't drink water
from their own wells and creeks
can't afford extravagances 
of commercial mountaintop retreats,
and they aren't on any guided tours 
wealthy bypassers might expense.
Unleashed leaches gulp history's blood
without conscience, care, or consciousness of cost
until Earth is doomed, Gaia heaves her last hurrah,
and breathes no longer.
We have enough elegant hotels and fields for golfing,
but God isn't making mountaintops here anymore.

"It only take one push of a plunger to blow a mountain away and destroy a whole community."
-- Pete Ramey, Wise County VA

"In southwest Virginia, the communities of Appalachia and Andover are threatened by a proposed mountaintop removal project on Ison Rock Ridge."
-- i love mountains

"The dream of the mountains' struggle, the dream of simplicity and of justice, like so many other repressed visions, is, we believe, the voice of the Lord among us."
-- Catholic Commmitte of Appalachia in This Land is Home To Me, 1975

"On Wednesday April 2, 2008 the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act was defeated in the House Environment subcommittee.... The Christian community was the main mobilization behind this bill -- not the enviros. Now they are totally behind it and have added to their numbers. Next time the enviros will be in it -- with the religious and much of the political and media community of Tennessee. Everyone who fought for the bill walked away ten times stronger and more powerful. Only the strip mining corporations got status quo...."
-- Tennessee Mountain Defender, published by United Mountain Defense, Knoxville TN

The "Building A New World" Conference featuring "dozens of progressive speakers on the environmental, global warming, the economy, economic democracy, healthcare, civil liberties, media control, women's liberation, etc" will be held May 22-25, 2008, at Radford University, Radford VA

digital graphic of mountaintops, toxic fumes, and marchers by jH

"... Lady, lady with your torch held high, your flame is burning low/ You said you'd harbor us safe in your arms, oh why did you let us go?/ They've taken your name and left a hollow frame where liberty once stood/ They say it's every man for himself now, to hell with the common good/ [chorus] America the beautiful, America the strong/ We are the dispossessed, the long oppressed/ Why do you do us wrong?/ America, the land of the free, you've forgotten we're your blood/ But we will join together one by one until a drop becomes a flood/ Who’s gonna save you now, I ask, from the shame of all your lies?/ You say you speak the word of god, but it’s just hatred in disguise/ We used to be a beacon of hope shining across the sea/ But we shed the blood of the innocent now in the name of democracy/ ...[last chorus] America the beautiful, do you hear our song?/ We are the dispossessed, the long oppressed/ Why do you do us wrong?/ America, the land of the free, you've forgotten we're your blood/ But we'll join together one by one until a drop becomes a flood"
-- Until A Drop Becomes A Flood by Grace Family Music, Leela and Ellie Grace

"The spiritual community has 'an inherent covenental responsibility' to care for the earth."
-- Rabbi Ben Romer, Congregation of Or Ami, Richmond VA, at a gathering of Virginia faith leaders opposing the Dominion plant

"[We must] live out moral responsibility to protect the earth for our children and future generations. We also are called to serve and protect the poor and the helpless and 'to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.' ... Those who suffer the most ... are the very people whom we have been instructed to protect: the least among us...."
-- letter from faith leaders to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine opposing construction of a coal-fired power plant in Wise VA by Dominion Coal Company

"Dominion continues to call this [non-carbon capture compatible power plant] a 'clean coal plant,' which is like saying 'healthy cigarettes'."
-- Cale Jeffe, SELC staff attorney

"End Mountaintop Removal"
-- I Love Mountains

There was an April 5th Blessing of the Mountains organized by Christians for the Mountains calling on the public "to join prayers for Divine intervention to counter the devastation of mountaintop removal."

"[LEAF has been organized] to bring the issue of mountaintop removal to the attention of East Tennessee's Christian communities and encourage them to address the environmental destruction and economic injustice this practice inflicts on the land and people of Appalachia."

digital graphic of mountaintop by jH

Restoring Eden is a group of young evangelicals organized to work for a sustainable environment.

"According to the Jewish and Christian traditions, the primary vocation to which humans are called is to be stewards of, and participants in, God's love for this magnificent, beautiful and resourceful creation."
-- Bishop Kenneth Carder, professor at Duke University Divinity School, at Mountain Wildlife and Wilderness Days, 7/07

Supporting wilderness designation for Monongehela National Forest Rev. Dennis Sparks, Executive Director of the WV Council of Churches, spoke before the United States Congress

The UMWA, WV legislature, and many other groups prevailed recently, over intense lobbying by coal companies wanting to use the land for mountaintop removal, with a unanimous resolution by the WV House of Delegates for preservation of 1600 acres of the Blair Mountain Battlefield as a National Historic Site. There, in 1920-21, miners were evicted and two murdered, along with the town mayor and Police Chief Sid Hatfield, during an uprising of around 10,000 miners armed with rifles and pistols attacked by company detectives with machine guns and canons. The federal government intervened with troops, about 500 of the organizers were tried for treason and murder near Harpers Ferry, and most were acquited with the support of townspeople whom they'd befriended, with the rest serving time until at most 1925, while in 1933 FDR legalized union activities nationally.

"What people needed to understand was that there had always been something wrong with an industry that 'produced a mint of wealth and forced its employees to live in poverty'."
-- William C. Blizzard, son of main Blair Mountain union mine organizer, in When Miners March, 2005

Cherokee Star

"The Appalachian Mountains are among the most beautiful places on earth. They are our home, our heritage, and our way of life. They are our children's inheritance. But their future cannot be taken for granted. Today, the Appalachian Mountains suffer from the worst air quality, the most unsustainable logging, and the most irresponsible mining in the nation. Every day, more of our streams, forests and mountains are degraded and lost forever."
-- Appalachian Voices

"Baptists have a moral responsibility to combat climate change." -- Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville TN, 3/08

"The mountains of rural Appalachia are among the most biodiverse ecosystem in the world. Our viable economic options for individuals and for local communities are limitless. Our vision is that Appalachia, and specifically the coalfields of Central Appalachia, needs community-based, diversified and appropriate economic development that sustains both the culture and the environment of the mountains."
-- Creative Economy Conference, Southwest Virginia r-H Educational Center, Abingdon VA, September 19-21, 2008
  • "To bring together people working on sustainable economic development, those preserving Appalachian land and cultures, and community members interested in building stronger, more sustainable economies
  • "To better connect, inform, and empower these various communities and individuals by sharing experience and knowledge about creating sustainable economies
  • "To forge a stronger network concerning economic and environmental sustainability in Appalachia and to create space where more possibilities and ideas can emerge"

digital graphic of planet by jH

"Mountains in the holy scriptures: Psalm 104:5; Psalm 24:1; Nahum 1:15; Exodus 24:12; Matthew 5:1-3; Micah 4:2; Matthew 17:1-4; Mark 6:46; Luke 9:28; John 6:15; Numbers 35:34; Exodus 19:23; Isaiah 25:10"

"... practices which would not be acceptable for a third world country are somehow considered acceptable in Appalachia.... It's as if corporations feel entitled to come to Appalachia, take our land, clear-cut our forests, bring all the toxic industries to our region, strip mine, and in general act as if they are the colonialist British come to occupy our land.... Any region or people portrayed negatively are easier to exploit.... Portraying the people of Appalachia as stupid, ignorant, and inbred somehow makes it acceptable to turn streams bright orange and to blow up entire mountains and destroy highland watersheds forever.... The reality is that Appalachia has a long and proud history of political thought, resistance to power, art, craft, discourse, and music that is not accurately portrayed by the mass media.... This region was instrumental in the abolishionist movement, and played a large part in the Underground Railroad.... The coal miners of Appalachia were some of the first to strike and demand humane living conditions. Direct action and organizing models from the grassroots union organizing in Appalqachia continue to influence the tactics used by other grassroots movements in America today...."
-- Chris Irwin in Appalachia, America's Fourth World, United Mountain Defense's publication Tennessee Mountain Defender

"... we painted up our faces and donned our funny clothes/ played kazoos and banjos, trumpets and trombones/ we told jokes and laughed and played and danced around/ identified by a colorful sign that said the 'coup clutz clowns'/ well them nazis and them KKK, they shout and prance around/ in their funny pointy dunce hats and their pretty long white gowns/ but we run 'em out of town, no they can't stand up to clowns/ ..."
-- Coup Clutz Clowns from Mountain Justice Summer training camp, 2005-2009

Strip Mine Committee

digital abstract graphic by jH

"But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor." -- Micah 4:12

Video above "Rocky Top Tennessee," the people's favorite heritage song

Appalachian Blue Mist, digital graphic by jH

Quadoshka, Cherokee path to cosmic consciousness -- digital graphic by jH

Unattributed text and graphics c. A Country Rag, Inc. and Jeannette Harris, Jonesborough, TN, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011,2014. All rights reserved.