News & Politics

Vote Now and Ensure $5,000 for Sustainable Energy and Economic Opportunities for Coal Country

The epicenter of coal extraction needs your help right now and it will just take 3 minutes.

It's not every day you can help some incredible visionaries get $5,000 just by doing exactly what you're doing now -- sitting in front of your computer. With you a few clicks you can vote on the Brighter Planet web site to award a grant for Sustainable Energy and Economic Diversification in the Coal River Valley in West Virginia.

This group is neck-and-neck for the prize money and the voting ends today, so take a few minutes and help make a difference.

Why is this important?

The Coal River Valley is at the epicenter of coal extraction in Appalachia. Ravaged by crushing force mountaintop removal and the corroding effects of black lung and industry-related ailments, community members in the Coal River Valley are ready for something new. Coal River Mountain Watch's mission is to end mountaintop removal and create a sustainable economy in its place. The Sustainable Energy and Economy Diversification program is working towards the second part of CRMW's mission.

What's the money for?

Despite the economic hardship and environmental degradation in this region, many of the elements of a sustainable economy are alive and well in the folk traditions of local residents. The SEED program seeks to combine these common sense traditions and ethics with 21st century concepts of sustainability and appropriate technology. Between November 2009 and August 2010 we will interview community members, identify community-led entrepreneurial projects, select five projects to support, document our work on the website and adapt our results as lesson plans for distribution in regional high schools and colleges.

By creating economic alternatives, and presenting them in an educational format to a wide audience of young people, this project will reduce local economic dependency on fossil fuel extraction and help educate a new generation of sustainability and justice minded Americans.

Yes, we want to end the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining, but it's also important to make sure the people of West Virginia have viable economic opportunities that support a clean environment. Get involved. Vote (you get 3 votes for each email address). Voting ends soon, so go and do it and do it now and tell your friends.

If you need to know more about how this area has been affected by mountaintop removal mining, check out this video.


Tara Lohan is a senior editor at AlterNet.