Image credit: ILoveMountains.org
Coal mining communities and TreeHuggers don't always see eye-to-eye. But as Sarah posted last week, there is a long history of protest and progressive thought among coal mining communities, with much of that tradition centered around Blair Mountain—the site of the 1921 "mine wars" in which miners fought for basic safety and labor rights. Now that very mountain is threatened by mountaintop removal, a practice that decimates the environment, destroys natural beauty, and replaces many conventional coal mining jobs. That's why hundreds of "rednecks" are marching on Blair Mountain, and reviving the true meaning of that very term in the process.
We've already seen how anti-mountaintop removal activist group ILoveMountains.org has drawn connections between our own energy use and mountaintop removal. Now they are working to make the same connections between Blair Mountain's history of standing up for what's right, and the present struggles that it, and the communities around it, face. Reviving the term redneck, which was originally used to
refer to the red bandannas worn by protesting miners in 1921, the group is marching 50 miles to demand that Blair Mountain be protected from mountaintop removal mining.
Doubtless, in an area where many families rely on the coal industry for their bread and butter, there will be those who support more mining—whatever the environmental costs. But given that the majority of the American public opposes mountaintop removal, and that coal mining communities are the first to suffer when coal mining goes wrong, it's no surprise that the marchers are reporting much community support from the people they pass.
More on Coal Mining and Mountaintop Removal
Toxic Coal Ash Slurry Released in Dyke Burst
Mountaintop Removal and You: ILoveMountains.org
Will You Join the March on Blair Mountain?
The Majority of American Public Opposes Mountaintop Removal