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
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.
More Important Organizations