Symposium 2013

One of our major class goals is to bring awareness about issues in Appalachia onto campus. Our class planned a week of events, with the hope of facilitating change through education, featuring speakers who graciously traveled from Appalachia.

Schedule of Events

 Tuesday February 19th
Appalachian Awareness                                     Scott Plaza
College Coffee                                                      9:40-10:20 am
The True Cost of Coal                                           Yeager Recital Hall
with Bill Price, Sierra Club                                 7:30-8:30 pm
Appalachian Music and Slideshow                    Irazu
                                                                                9-10 pm
Wednesday February 20th
Mountain Activism                                                Yeager Recital Hall
with Lorelei Scarbro,                                             7:30-8:30 pm
Environmental Activist
Thursday February 21st
Reflections on Appalachian Life                             Yeager Recital Hall
with Derek Mullins, Appalshop                               7:30-8:30 pm
Saturday February 23rd
Screening of “The Last Mountain”                           McEwen 011
Mountain Top Removal Documentary                      3:30-6:30 pm
Sponsored by Appalachian Voices

Speaker Information

Bill Price serves as the Environmental Justice for the West Virginia Sierra Club Chapter. Their chapter focuses on fighting coal related issues such as flooding and the destruction of clean water sources. Furthermore, they have started a campaign, called the Marcellus Shale Gas Campaign, to protect communities from the hydro-fracking process. Visit Sierra Club’s website to find out  more about their Beyond Coal initiative as well as many others!

Lorelei Scarbro is a full-time volunteer at the Boone-Raleigh Community Center in Whitesville, West Virginia. She is also a well-known mountain top removal (MTR) opponent, community organizer, and alternative energy advocate. She hopes to diversify her community’s energy and economy through the development of sustainable wind farms.

Derek Mullins works for the Marketing and Sales department of Appalshop—a non-profit multi-disciplinary arts education center located in Whitesville, KY. The center works to tell the stories of Appalachians and to document the creativity of the region through film, radio, music, and theater. Appalshop houses several programs, like the Appalachia Media Institute and Community Media Institute, to train youth and community members how to use digital media to support social and economic justice organizing. To find out more about Appalshop visit: http://appalshop.org/

Brief Information About Mountain Top Removal

Mountain Top Removal is a relatively newer mining practice in which coal companies remove up to 500 feet from the tops of mountains in order to get to access more coal. Not only are the coal companies able to get more coal from this technique of mining, but they also only need three employees to complete each MTR job. Mountain Top Removal has resulted in horrendous environmental destruction, including the destruction of over 500 mountains, and the poisoning of over 2000 headwater streams. Health effects on the citizens living close to these areas have been detrimental as well, including significantly higher rates of respiratory diseases, different types of cancer, and birth defects. Here is a labeled map of health statistics in the following affected and surrounding areas: http://ilovemountains.org/the-human-cost

How you are related to this problem

46.6% of Elon University’s energy comes from coal power based on a 2011 report from Duke Energy. The closest coal plant to Elon gets coal from eight different Mountain Top Removal Sites. This is only one of many coal plants that operate today within North Carolina. North Carolina is the second largest consumer of Coal in the United States, the majority of which comes from mountain top removal. Turning on our light switches has a direct effect on the health and livelihoods of the citizens of Appalachia.  Here is a map view of the usage of Mountain Top Removal in our area from the websiteIlovemountains.org.

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More Important Organizations

With our classes endeavors in Central Appalachia, we have encountered many inspirational and prominent organizations who fight to preserve the culture of the region. This is done through the empowerment of West Virginian’s as well as the opposition to the destruction of the mountains. Here are just a few that we found truly admirable.
The Keepers of the Mountain Foundation seeks to end mountaintop removal, and create healthier and more sustainable mountain communities. Their ultimate goal is to empower their fellow West Virginians to move beyond an extraction based economy and replace it with an economy focused on the people, land and mountain heritage. The late Larry Gibson, a hero in the fight against mountaintop removal is an inspiration to all, truly defending Kayford Mountain and his beliefs until his sudden passing this fall. His message resonates with The Keepers of the Mountain, living a life that fulfilled their mission to the fullest. To find out more about The Keepers of the Mountain, visit their website: http://www.mountainkeeper.org/
Appalachian Voices will be sponsoring the screening of “The Last Mountain”, a documentary about the fight to save Coal River Mountain in West Virginia. Appalachian Voices’ mission is to protect the land, air and water of the central and southern Appalachian region, focusing on reducing coal’s impact on the region and moving towards clearer energy in the future. While providing tools, strategies and grassroots campaigns, App Voices empowers people to defend the region’s rich natural and cultural heritage. More information about Appalachian Voices can be found on their website: http://appvoices.org/
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One Response to Symposium 2013

  1. Pingback: Symposium 2013 Highlights | Periclean 2014

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