Monday, February 14, 2011

My Old Kentucky Home-Grown Activism

Buoyed by the euphoria of Egypt's recent democratic protest movement, I was excited to learn this week about the ongoing efforts in my home state of 14 anti-mountaintop removal activists, including Kentucky literary treasure Wendell Berry, who have been staging a sit-in in KY Governor Steve Beshear's office since Friday. The protesters, who are calling themselves Kentucky Rising, are calling on Gov. Beshear
"To lead by ending mountaintop removal, by beginning a sincere public dialogue about creating sustainable jobs for our hard-working miners, by putting the vital interests of ordinary Kentuckians above the special interests of an abusive industry."
The efforts of the Kentucky Rising participants will culminate on Monday with a planned "I Love Mountains" march on the Capitol building in Frankfort. Kentucky Rising has already received outpourings of support from the likes of author Michael Pollan, environmentalist and climate change expert Bill McKibben, and evidently from the pulpit as well. In a sermon delivered Sunday, a minister in Georgia devoted his sermon to a discussion of the activists' efforts, explaining:
"We have lost touch with the physical. We have numbed ourselves to violence and loss because we see it all the time on TV. We forget how things are real and tangible. We lose our perspective because we have distanced ourselves.

A perfect example of this is in how get power to our homes. It has to come from somewhere, and we need to start paying attention to where it comes from. Two of my favorite authors are camped out in the governor's office in Kentucky right now with other protesters to get him to stop mountaintop removal mining in their state. Mountaintop removal destroys nature, communities, and ecosystems, poisoning the land..."
We wish the Kentucky Rising activists nothing but success in their efforts to halt one of the most abusive methods of resource extraction ever devised. What a week for civil disobedience!

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