I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. Our house was perched at nearly 3,000 feet in elevation. I learned to ride my pink bike with the banana seat by cruising down very steep hills and very high speeds. To get to friends’ and neighbors’ houses, we had to hike up the street, pitched forward at a 60 degree angle, our calves burning. This was – still is psychologically – home for me. And I get very sad, not to mention angry, when people tell me that they are destroying those mountains that have stood for tens of thousands of years.

So I was both saddened to be reminded of the hilltop removal process for getting coal and gladdened to hear that someone was taking action when TJ posted his call for action yesterday. He is asking us to take action to stop this horrific method of mining because it hurts the land and because it hurts the people – directly and indirectly – who live on that land.
TJ points us to an organization that I’m thrilled to see in existence – Christians for the Mountains – a group who takes all the power in their hands and in God’s hands to try and save these beautiful pieces of our world. TJ also suggested that we visit Kilowatt Ours to learn ways to reduce our reliance on coal.
Additionally, TJ offers us a challenge to win a DVD about how to stop this aberration to God’s creation. Here’s what he asks us to do:
To have your name put in the drawing for the DVD, Mountain Mourning, please leave a comment here or email toujoursjacques AT gmail DOT com agreeing to do one of the following (you can change your mind later about which one, if you like):

1. write a post on mountaintop removal in general, with a link to this post
2. write a post on Appalachia, Appalachian literature, or Appalachian music that also (if briefly) addresses mountaintop removal and link it to this post.
3. read along with me, a book called Coal River (Michael Schnayerson, 2008), and write about it on your blog (in any way you like—a formal review isn’t necessary) and link it to this post. By the way, if you are participating in Emily’s Ecojustice08 challenge—and chose #5 (reading/posting on an environmental book)—you could double dip with Coal River.

If you want to participate, but don’t have a blog, you can send your words to me and I will post them for you. The drawing will be held on May 25th. I also have two related prizes for the second and third names drawn.

I have pledge to take all three actions, the first of which of fulfilling here. And I will fulfill the second regularly by posting often on Appalachian beauty. Please take the pledge if you can. These mountains provide respite for all of us; we need them.

  • Now for the winner of the Me, Me, Memoir Challenge giveaway – Susan from You Can Never Have Too Many Books – you have won a copy of At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard. Email me your regular address at andilit at gmail.com, and get the book out to you ASAP. Congrats.

  • Finally, a couple of beautiful things for you to read. First, check out Laraine Herring’s blog for a great post on writing memoir.

    Then, take a look at Gayle Brandeis’ response to my “Living Responsibly” post. She mentions CodePink, a great women’s organization that organizes for peace around the country.

    And if you need some good movies, I second Carl’s recommendation that you see Once. If you’re in a “be inspired in a sweet way” kind of mood, you might also check out August Rush.

    Last but not least, for this mammoth post, a gorgeous photo of the Appalachian gorgeousness randomly selected from Flickr.
    Dark Hollow Fales by Hanneoria