September 30, 2010

Overburdened Mountains or Just Greedy Capitalists? ~ Edward Guffey

Over 100 people arrested for demonstrating against MTR.

Sitting at number two on the NYT Best Sellers list we find Freedom by Jonathon Franzen. We find Franzen’s main character, Walter, facing the challenge of how one creates a bird sanctuary as well as how one strips the tops of mountains in what is also known as MTR (Mountain Top Removal).

The timing of Franzen’s subject matter and the reality of the non-profit Appalachia Rising merged in Washington, DC this past weekend as the event  “Appalachia Rising: To Mobilize and End Mountain Top Removal” came to town.


Wikipedia describes MTR as removing “the top of a mountain, hill or ridge by removing the so-called overburden (soil, plants, wildlife and other material lying above the economically desired resource).”

Overburden?  I have never thought of soil, plants, or wildlife as a burden.  The key phrase in this definition of “overburden” lies in the phrase “economically desired resource.”  It is played out all over Mother Earth everyday. We saw it in the Gulf of Mexico this summer.

In Appalachia, MTR is an industry that yields less than 5% of coal within the coal industry according to Appalachian Voices.  Less than 5%?  Is this worth water contamination, loss of air quality? Is it worth damaged or lost homes due to the blasting damaging the foundations? Is this worth a loss of culture, as the area is being threatened by big corporations wanting to own these sites.  I think not, but then again when an “economically desired resource” is at stake the average American citizen is not as valuable as the desired resource.

Over 100 people were arrested Monday September 27 as the final conference event concluded in front of the White House as a peaceful sit-in. Was the message heard?  One can hope.

“Economically desired resources” such as coal, natural gas and oil take precedent over natural resources such as solar and wind.  Lend your voice to organizations such as Appalachia Rising and help save Mother Earth.

Edward Guffey lives in Southern Vermont on a farm with his partner, four corgis and one cat. Formerly with an international non profit organization dedicated to relieving hunger and giving medical aid in third world countries. Director of human resources for a retail group of stores based in virginia. Lover of life and Mother Earth, practicing yoga, enjoying the outdoors and continuing to learn about life and how to better ones self. Part time organic farmer, chef and environmental activist in the mountains of Southern Vermont. All around good guy.

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