Appalachian Treasures Project Launched

In March, Appalachian Voices and Coal River Mountain Watch will begin touring the country to build a national network of people who will work together to protect coalfield communities from mountaintop removal. Dubbed the Appalachian Treasures Project, the effort will feature a multimedia presentation and the personal testimony of residents of Appalachia’s coalfields, who will…

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One Valley, Two Worlds

Climbing the steps at C.D. Owen High School in Black Mountain, NC, as hundreds of my classmates do each morning, offers two unique and contrasting perspectives. Looking straight ahead, as most do when preparing to start their school day, we see the rigid vertical and horizontal lines of the school’s modern facade-the carefully laid cinder…

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Personal Geography

We are marked by the place we call home, not the house or people (though that is true, too), but by the land. I am the daughter of the mother of mountains, child of this earth’s oldest river, suckled by Appalachian breasts, sung to sleep by New River’s roar. The road ended, petered out, at…

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In Search of the Pileated Woodpecker

Both the sight and sound of a pileated woodpecker are unforgettable. The call of the bird has always struck me as jungle-like, sounding more like a chattering monkey than a chirping bird. Most folks who spend any amount of time outdoors will probably recognize the sound, even if they cannot identify the source. Its exotic…

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States Should Step In to Safeguard the Mountains

As this issue of the Appalachian Voice goes to press, the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is poised to vote on the Clear Skies Act. Despite its misleading name, Clear Skies would actually make air pollution worse by allowing the release of greater amounts of pollutants like mercury, while delaying clean up…

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The First Appalachian Journey

A country road in the west of Scotland. I look out at the sweep of field and forested hills surrounding us, and I feel a sense of calm. “It looks right,” I say. A month later I went home to southwest Virginia with a photograph of that landscape of Scottish countryside, and I passed it…

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Harlan County Goes to Hollywood….Again

Late last year, I was invited to Lincoln Center in New York City to attend the premiere of a restored edition of the 1976 film “Harlan County, USA.” The original film print had begun to deteriorate, and an organization called the Women’s Film Preservation Fund had taken on the job of saving this American classic.…

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Powerline Paths

images/voice_uploads/PowerlineCutCircle.gif From the ground, they are long, barren alleys into the forest, sometimes narrow, sometimes as wide as an interstate, and always ugly. From the sky, they are strands of thread traversing the fabric of the land, stitches that both render and join. And in our towns and cities, these lines parallel streets and are…

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Too Hot to Handle?

images/voice_uploads/MtRogers.gif We’ve heard about the threat of global warming for decades, but for those of us who live in the Appalachian Mountains, the danger may seem far away. Amidst all the talk of melting ice caps and flooded coastal cities, of droughts on the Great Plains and melting glaciers in Rockies, you don’t hear much…

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How to Help Stop Global Warming

There are many groups both national and regional that are working to educate people and encourage political leaders to take global warming seriously. One of the most interesting of these is the Climate Connection, a program of the North Carolina Council of Churches (NCCC). According to Alice Loyd, Chair of the program, “Climate Connection works…

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