Mountaintop Removal and Fracking: Keeping the Electricity Fairy Alive

These could be some the healthiest places in the country, but...

A few of you might have read the post the other day about the widespread stress upon many aspects of daily life for whales. The stress was produced by the incessant drum of engines overhead, the din of nonsense noise that cut one whale off from family and the pack and made finding food more difficult. Stress is under-appreciated as a cause of physical and emotional and mental damage. Add to that more tangible stressors of increased danger, pollution and habitat destruction, and illness and other impoverishments are likely to show a high correlation.

Many of us who live in what otherwise would be considered healthy settings suffer without knowing it the damage of air pollution, city traffic and airport noise, sirens, visual clutter and ugliness and risk of violence. But even so, there are some in our country who are dying young and living sick because of the noise, pollution and danger–every minute of every day stresses of where they live, because they see, here, smell and feel the rumbling under their feet as their communities are detonated, and their streams disappear under rubble that once was their mountain.

We can’t say we didn’t know the high cost of electricity produced from mountaintop removal coal practices. I challenge you to click at least three of the drop-down map overlays produced by ilovemountains.org. The human costs include birth defect, poverty, cancer, respiratory disease and life expectancy. The stress-poverty-wellbeing clusters around mountaintop removal practices, if inflicted by an enemy, would be considered torture.

But the risk of this publicly-sanctioned corporate hegemony does not stop at the edges of Appalachia, and it is not limited to strip mining the tops off mountains.

Fracking Industry Colludes With Pennsylvania Legislature to Create Dangerous New Law | Truthout

If you can read this description of how hydrologic fracturing or FRACKING is being illegally imposed on the people of Pennsylvania and not have your blood pressure rise, then maybe your susceptibility to stress and outrage has grown complacent, and your indignity fatigue is working in your favor while Rome burns.

Many still don’t understand the imperative to make the very hard decision to end the age of fossil fuels before it ends us. The Industry does not want us to do the hard thing or the right thing but the thing we’ve always done that’s always been good for their stockholders. The choice is ours.

From the Mountains to the Boardrooms, Activists call on Duke to Quit Coal

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About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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