Front Porch Blog

We Are Not “Environmentalists”

We love our mountains. We love the beautiful mixed mesophytic forest that blankets their surface, the pristine headwaters that pull and tumble throughout them, and the majestic and diverse creatures that inhabit these hills and hollows. We love our mountains’ shape, are drawn in by their corporal topography, respecting their inherent values that in turn shape and color who we are as individuals and as a regional community.

But the Blair Mountain March proves that when it comes to mountaintop removal, there are no “environmentalists.” The Blair Mountain March makes clear, that to simply call this an “environmentalist” march is lazy. To call opposition to mountaintop removal an “environmentalist” position is inaccurate. There is a national coalition of opposition to mountaintop removal that consists of Democrats, Republicans, faith leaders, civil rights leaders, conservationists, union workers, economists, underground coal-miners, health care professionals, scientists, journalists, me, you, and just about everybody who understands the issue. Together we form a majority of citizens who oppose the permanent destruction – by a few – of a special, historic, ancient mountain which so many of us hold dear. This is much more significant than just trying to protect a few trees, or a stream, or even an ancient mountain. The March on Blair Mountain crystallizes a moment when a broader coalition of Appalachian citizens have come together organize ourselves into a bigger tent to protect ourselves from the abuses of an overzealous and arrogant coal company. We are working to protect each other.

This moment is yet another key turning point when the majority of the Appalachian people stand up against the few who would destroy what we hold dear. The proposed destruction of Blair Mountain is not just an attack on our environment, it is not just an attack on our economy, it is not just an attack on our history, it is not just an attack on our health, it is not just an attack on working men and women. This is an attack on us, our very selves, and the heritage of generations that binds us to our families and to each other.

That is why we have come together. Labor, citizens, “environmentalists,” remember this. We don’t march for the environment. We march for each other and for our future.

Please listen to the citizens who have joined the march, and take a minute to take action*.

* -even if it’s only for “the environment”. 🙂





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  1. Lenny Kohm on June 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Millions of citizens speaking softly results in one very loud voice, and if that one voice is directed at the U.S. Congress it can stop mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Please contact your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, and urge her or him to cosponsor & support the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1375). They are blowing up our mountains, and there oughta be a law!

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