Issue 7: December 2008



Augean Cleanup on Aisle Six

It’s been widely observed that the next president will be left with an enormous cleanup task. At one point, Vice President-elect Joe Biden compared it to cleaning the Augean Stables. He was referring to the humblest of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, a Greek myth dating from before 600 B.C. Hercules took on the impossible […]


Carbon Emissions to Drop Under VA Climate Plan

Virginia could cut new power plant construction — and save money in the process — under a new plan to reduce carbon emissions and promote energy conservation. The plan emerged from the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change this November, and legislation from the planning process will be proposed at the state level in 2009. “This […]


Excerpt from a Letter

MEMO TO: President-elect Obama FROM: The Appalachian Alliance Dear President-elect Obama, … We are dealing with the devastating effects of the cycle of coal, from extraction, cleaning, transport, burning and the disposal of coal combustion waste. Coal industry abuse has cost many of us our homes, our health, our loved ones, and sometimes our entire […]


Biodiversity in Appalachia's Future

By Paul L. Angermeier Paul Angermeier is a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA Appalachia is blessed with fantastic biological diversity that is practically invisible to most of us. Biodiversity is the variety of living organisms and their assemblages in our backyards and regions. It’s […]


The Future of Blair Mountain

By Wess Harris Wess Harris is a former coal miner, a union organizer, a farmer and the editor of When Miners March Blair Mountain is a site that is sacred to American labor, so why not claim it as our own? Blair Mountain should become the Blair Mountain Center for the Development of American Labor. […]


Clean up and renew Appalachia

By George Brosi George Brosi is the Editor of Appalachian Heritage at Berea College, KY The future of Appalachia will be great if we can clean up and renew our infrastructure — in the broad sense of that term.  If we can’t, there will be two Appalachias: one of fancy gated communities and the other […]


Appalachian Artists and Writers Must Create the Vision of a Healthy Future

By Theresa L. Burriss Theresa L. Burriss is an assistant professor of English and Appalachian studies at Radford University. Burriss also serves as the contributing senior editor of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. Appalachia is spiritually bankrupt. Despite the noble efforts of activist organizations and religious groups, mountaintop removal coal mining continues […]


Build on Historic Traditions

By Dr. Jeff Boyer Dr Boyer is a professor in the Anthropology Department and Sustainable Development Program at Appalachian State University Peering into Appalachia’s crystal ball, 20 years out is mostly full of “ifs.” But if the current economic recession darkens our gaze, the recent election was more about hope than fear, regardless of how […]


Generating a Renewed Energy Future

By Rory McIlmoil Rory McIlMoil is the Coal River Wind Campaign Coordinator for the Coal River Mountain Watch Through the employment of Mountaintop Removal (MTR) mining methods, the Appalachian coal industry has evolved. Now it is not merely suppressing economic diversification and prosperity in Appalachia as it has traditionally done. Now it is completely destroying […]


It’s the Water, Stupid

By Harvard Ayers Harvard Ayers is a professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University and a founding Board Member of Appalachian Voices. Appalachia has long been the source of water for vast areas both east and west of our region. From points east to the Atlantic to points west to the Mississippi River, our once […]


Appalachia Could Be America’s Centerpiece

By Kate Larken Kate Larken is a member of Public Outcry, a musical group that performs to educate the public about mountaintop removal coal mining. She is also the publisher of MotesBooks, Inc. There are several Appalachias. Life at the northern end of our mountain chain differs from the southern mountains’ culture, but both extremes […]


Loosen Industry’s Grip on Government

By Jeff Biggers Jeff Biggers is the author of The United States of Appalachia and a contributor to Huffington Post, where this first appeared. … If President-elect Obama is truly serious about affecting climate change, launching a new green economy, and insuring environmental protection and mine workplace safety, then we must end the appointment of […]


Stream Buffer Zone Rule Repeal Deserves President Obama’s Attention

To the outrage of environmentalists across the Appalachian region, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a severe weakening of a rule protecting streams from coal mining pollution in early December. The Stream Buffer Zone rule had been in effect since 1983 to protect the nation’s headwater streams from being buried by valley fills from mountaintop […]


USA & Columbia: Coal Is The Wound That Binds

Environmental Effects of Mountaintop Removal Mining Worse Than South American Mining Operations First of a series: Coal around the World  By Bill Kovarik  Mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia is even more destructive than in Columbia, said two union miners from that South American country on a tour of the coalfields this November. “It was a great […]


Blasting Permit Granted on Coal River Mountain

Story by Sarah Vig Bulldozers are set to begin moving dirt on Coal River Mountain, and Massey Energy, with the permit granted to them by West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection, can begin blasting at any time. The permit’s approval, which was announced in late November, was met with anger and disappointment from community members […]


Biker Merges Law With Advocacy

By Sarah Vig Sam Evans’ environmental consciousness has always been linked to his bike. As a teenager growing up in Walker county, Alabama, Evans started riding in high school for transportation. “I didn’t have a car,” he explained sheepishly. Beyond simple transportation, biking led Evans to what he describes as his personal “environmental epiphany.” While […]


Appalachian Bookshelf

These four picks for Appalachian literature and history represent an astonishing depth and variety. For more, see www.appvoices.org/books. • Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants, by Bradford Angier, Stackpole Books (2008). This revised edition brings back a 30-year-old classic field guide with the help of biologist David K. Foster. In the book, for instance, you will […]


Appalachia Needs Appropriate Technology

By Al Fritsch and Paul Gallimore Excerpt from “Healing Appalachia,” University of Kentucky Press, 2007 Appropriate technology is a necessity for our planet as well as our country and the Appalachian region. We hope to offer a regional model of what the rest of the country and world could do and be. This is a […]


Appalachia Cannot Become a Sacrifice Zone

By Wendell Berry Wendell Berry is a world-renowned author of 25 books of poems, 16 volumes of essays, and 11 novels and short story collections. He is widely known as the conscience of Appalachia. These remarks were made at the Society of Environmental Journalists in Roanoke, Va. on Oct. 19, 2008 There is a phrase […]


Future Depends on Vision

By Bill Kovarik Fifty years ago, America discovered Appalachia and the “sense of despair which lingers over the valleys and ridges,” as one Washington Post writer put it. Stark images of poverty aroused the conscience of the nation, and a few years later, President Lyndon Johnson traveled to Inez, Kentucky to announce his “War on […]


How We Talk Can Be As Important As the Problems We Talk About

By Kathy Mattea Kathy Mattea is a Grammy-Award winning country singer and songwriter whose most recent album, “Coal” was inspired by the Sago Mine Disaster of 2006. See www.mattea.com. I have come to believe that the future of Appalachia’s environment is directly related to the level of discourse we are able to have about the […]


Building on Character, Respecting the Environment

By Rep. Heath Schuler Congressional Representative of North Carolina’s 11th District As a native of Western North Carolina and the representative of the 11th Congressional District, I am proud of the shared history and cultural identity of the Appalachian region. From our forbears, we as a people have inherited an appreciation for strong work ethic, […]


Inaugural New River Trail Race a Success

Runners of the first New River Trail 50K (NRT 50K) began their race with foggy 48 degree temperatures on Saturday, October 11, but finished with bright skies and sunny conditions. Of the 102 racers at the start of the 50K (31.1 miles) course—known as an “ultramarathon”—100 crossed the finish line and 96 finished in the […]


Appalachian Voices Is Earthfare’s December Friend of the Month

Appalachian Voices has always been a friend of the earth, but now we’re also a friend of Earthfare. For the entire month of December, Appalachian Voices will be the featured organization of Earthfare’s Friend of the Month program in Boone, NC. Throughout the month, special fundraising events will take place at Earthfare’s Boone location, all […]


iLoveMountains Launches Obama–First 100 Days

New Campaign Asks the President-elect To End Mountaintop Removal During the recent presidential campaign, President-elect Barack Obama pledged to end mountaintop removal coal mining. iLoveMountains.org is asking Obama to deliver on his promise. On December 3, 2008, iLoveMountains.org launched a major campaign asking President-elect Obama to end mountaintop removal coal mining – and to do […]


Sunroots at Solstice Time

By R. Kelly Coffey As the sun weakens at the end of the growing season and flowering plants fade to brittle remnants, gardeners and wildflower lovers resign themselves to a few months estranged from nature’s brilliant colors. But one wildflower – the Jerusalem artichoke – can satisfy the appetite in winter if not the eye. […]


Letters to the Editor

Damascus is not the only town on the AT Dear Editor, I have very much enjoyed and learned from Appalachian Voices for a long time.  I usually pickup issues at our local co-op, Tennessee’s only community-owned grocery store: Three Rivers Market in Knoxville, TN. Keep up the excellent work! I wanted to point out an overstatement in the article […]


Across Appalachia: Environmental News in Brief

Stream Buffer Zone Rule Repeal Deserves President Obama’s Attention To the outrage of environmentalists across the Appalachian region, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a severe weakening of a rule protecting streams from coal mining pollution in early December. The Stream Buffer Zone rule had been in effect since 1983 to protect the nation’s headwater […]


USA & Colombia: Coal Is The Wound That Binds

First of a series: Coal around the World   Mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia is even more destructive than in Colombia, said two union miners from that South American country on a tour of the coalfields this November. “It was a great surprise for us to see that here in the U.S. open pit mining was […]


Greenest Holiday Gifts You Can Buy

/images/AppalachianVoices/AV-08dec/recycling-trees.jpg It’s enough to turn anyone into a Scrooge! So many potential gifts ignore concerns about natural ingredients, fair labor, the carbon imprints of production and shipping, wasteful packaging, and so on… Enter Appalachian Voice’s Green Gift Guide! With nine suggestions for eco-conscious giving, your Christmas tree won’t be the only green thing spreading the […]


Blasting Permit Granted on Coal River Mountain

Bulldozers are set to begin moving dirt on Coal River Mountain, and Massey Energy, with the permit granted to them by West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection, can begin blasting at any time. The permit’s approval, which was announced in late November, was met with anger and disappointment from community members and opponents of mountaintop […]


A ‘Greener’ Christmas Tree

For most people, the quest for the perfect Christmas is not so different today than it was 150 years ago. People have been cutting their own Christmas trees since the 1850s. At the time, trees were chosen from forest, not farms. The first Christmas tree farm began in 1901 in New Jersey with 25,000 Norway […]


Full Appalachian Voice December issue in PDF

Download the full PDF (8.1 MB) http://appvoices.org/pdfs/voice_2008_06dec.pdf


Hiking the Highlands: Hanging Out in Hanging Rock State Park

/images/AppalachianVoices/AV_08dec/hangingrock.jpg Among the picturesque plains of the North Carolina Piedmont, the Sauratown Mountains rise north of Winston-Salem. Capped by cliffs, these peaks on the east side of the Blue Ridge are known locally as the “mountains away from the mountains,” and take their name from the Saura Indians, who lived in this area as early […]


Solar homes tour leading by example

It’s been said that the best way to lead is by example. The American Solar Energy Society has embraced this mantra with the sponsorship of a national solar homes tour. Over the first weekends in October, people all over the nation traveled to homes and commercial building that have incorporated solar technology into their design. […]


Hanging Out in Hanging Rock State Park

By Joe Tennis Among the picturesque plains of the North Carolina Piedmont, the Sauratown Mountains rise north of Winston-Salem. Capped by cliffs, these peaks on the east side of the Blue Ridge are known locally as the “mountains away from the mountains,” and take their name from the Saura Indians, who lived in this area […]


Greenest Holiday Gifts You Can Buy

By Sarah Vig and Melanie Bianchi It’s enough to turn anyone into a Scrooge! So many potential gifts ignore concerns about natural ingredients, fair labor, the carbon imprints of production and shipping, wasteful packaging, and so on… Enter Appalachian Voice’s Green Gift Guide! With nine suggestions for eco-conscious giving, your Christmas tree won’t be the […]


A ‘Greener’ Christmas Tree

Integrated Pest Management and Fraser Fir Farming By Sarah Vig For most people, the quest for the perfect Christmas is not so different today than it was 150 years ago. People have been cutting their own Christmas trees since the 1850s. At the time, trees were chosen from forest, not farms. The first Christmas tree […]
  • Naturalist's Notebook

    Naturalist's Notebook

    Sunroots at Solstice Time

  • Hiking the Highlands

    Hanging Out in Hanging Rock State Park