The Coalfields of Appalachia Are in a State of Emergency and Your Help Is Needed Now
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Now is the time for all good greens, rednecks, social entrepreneurs, hellraisers, Repower America and Al Gore to come to the aid of their fellow citizens in the Appalachian coalfields.
While Big Coal Gone Wild continues to unravel in its bizarre pr campaigns this summer, coalfield residents and advocates from around the country have been organizing one of the most important national campaigns to get our nation beyond coal, to launch clean energy jobs, to slow the grind of climate destabilization, and halt one of the most egregious human rights and environmental violations--mountaintop removal.
And they need your help. NOW.
The coalfields are in the throes of a state of emergency: Protesters have been met with violence, and saddled with reactionary and costly legal procedures; while 3 million pounds of ANFO explosives devastate the mountain communities and displace citizens every day, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has been wracked with scandal and embarrassing inaction; green job advocates desperately need national supporters and investors.
In a line: Whether you live (or are vacationing) in Martha's Vineyard, Yellowstone National Park, Washington DC or anywhere between San Francisco and Boston, you are probably using electricity generated by mountaintop removal coal, and ravaged coalfield residents now need your help to transition away from this abomination--and the help of Al Gore, Repower America, green job investors, lawyers, activists, educators and endowed supporters who can write a check for a defense fund.
Here are a few ways to support coalfield residents and heroes, affect climate destabilization, and move our nation toward clean energy jobs:
The "Made in America" Tour Should Add Some Pit-Stops in the Coalfields
Last week, the Allliance for Climate Protection's Repower America campaign, in partnership with the Blue Green Alliance and its labor and environmental partners, launched a fabulous nationwide Made in America Jobs tour, going to the frontlines in the industrial heartland to spotlight the "benefits to American workers and businesses of transitioning to a clean energy economy that will create millions of jobs."
Here's a link to the wonderful tour.
To go along with the 50 events in 22 states, it would be great if the Made in America tour could also add some events at ground zero in the battle to slow climate change and transition our country to clean energy--namely, the Appalachian and Midwestern coalfields.
Last year at the Netroots Nation gathering in July in Texas, Al Gore made it clear that coal miners should be in the forefront of the green jobs movement. He declared: "Mountaintop mining is an atrocity... We should guarantee a job and health and sunshine to every coal miner."
Green Jobs administrator Van Jones, who is currently at work on green jobs in the coalfields, told PowerShift activists in Washington DC on February 28 this year: "This movement also has to include the coal miners." He added. "We could have clean coal, and we could have unicorns pull our cars for us."
West Virginia was ranked by Forbes Magazine last year as the worst state for business. Mountaintop removal, in particular, has destroyed any diversified economy or economic development, and led to soaring poverty rates.
According to the CAP report on Green Economic Recovery, West Virginia could net 12,149 jobs through a green economic recovery program and jumpstart its economy.
The Made in America Tour should visit the JOBS project in Mingo County, West Virginia, where coalfield residents have been meeting to discuss renewable energy options, manufacturing ideas, and setting up the infrastructure for investment in a biomass plant and clean energy jobs, and even sponsored an "Energy Independence Day" this summer.