Crimes Against The Earth

12715301_10153258089765974_1135051678986030655_n_(1).jpgCrimes against the Earth are not precisely the same thing as the lurid descriptions of the campaigns that try to stop them. Put it this way - here we are in the picture singing and meditating in the heart of Kayford Mountain in West Virginia. A coal company blew the summit from the mountain, explosively hurling deer and mushrooms and young birds - all life - to their deaths. Then they scraped off the "over-burden" and pushed the refuse into the streams below, burying the mountain stream life under the death-rubble. 

As urban people, our exposure to Mountaintop Removal (MTR) coal mining came as dramatic writing like my writing so far in this post. Campaigns against a crime must carry that crime to possible activists, to grow the opposition. Since we are isolated in the city, we get, well, like everyone everywhere gets - so many crimes described to us by hopeful change agents.... But then we traveled to Coal River Valley and met Larry Gibson, Maria Gunneau, Judi Bonds, Bo Webb and the community of Climate Ground Zero gathered around Mike Roselle. They took us on the inevitable sojourn up to Kayford Mountain. Larry and Bo took us hiking into the dry bones of the mountain.

We climbed down into the strange ashy insides of the mountain and all the information, guilt, polemical writing, graphics - all of that became preliminary to this immersion in the violence. The wind and sun were weird. We sang our MTR song at the awful feeling. We were letting ourselves become haunted... And for years after we talked of this afternoon's power - and how primary experience must answer the needs of all the polemics of a campaign.

We miss Larry and Judi and all the heroes of this movement in Appalachia, many of these heroes die so young. With their old mountains, they have been killed...