Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, July 02, 2010

"We Are Under Assault"

Two overtures before the General Assembly relate to Earth care. I thought there was an overture specifically related to stopping mountain top removal strip mining but there isn't. However, committee eleven could address mountain top removal mining in its deliberations and reaffirm this commissioner's resolution of 2006.

The two overtures before this committee are

These overtures were sent to GA before the BP disaster. Now is the time for the commissioners to bring awareness to the church regarding how our fossil fuel addiction is destroying life.

Thanks to an organization called LEAF (
Lindquist-Environmental Appalachian Fellowship) every church in our presbytery received a dvd and book about creation care. At the last presbytery meeting we watched a segment on Mountain Top Removal.

Some folks weren't aware it was happening and few knew the extent.

Go here for some pictures.

Five hundred mountains have had their tops ripped off and turned inside out. It is devastating. To learn more go to I Love Mountains and discover your connection to Mountain Top Removal.

People of faith (such as those at LEAF) are realizing that this is a faith issue. Thanks to Presbyterians for Earth Care, the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii, and the PC (U.S.A.) Washington Office for joining 25 other Christian groups in urging President Obama and the EPA to close the Clean Water Act loophole and stop mountain top removal. Check the story.

Here is why it is important. Watch this four minute video from the film,
Kilowatt Hours:

"They use 2500 tons of explosives a day in Appalachia. That's why I say we're under assault. We are under attack."
--Judy Bonds

Tennessee is next. Check out this editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Our mountains are being sized up for slaughter.

If you are a church in East Tennessee, LEAF will give you these educational materials at no charge:

Because LEAF’s mission is to draw attention to the scriptural call for Creation Care among East Tennessee’s congregations, we offer educational materials to churches within the region, free of charge. Contact us at and we will send your church a free copy of the book Serve God, Save the Planet, By Matthew Sleeth, M.D., the DVD Mountain Mourning (produced by Christians for the Mountains in West Virginia) and Kilowatt Ours, by Nashville filmmaker, Jeff Barrie.
The devastation to marine and human life in and around the Gulf of Mexico and the devastation to the mountains and people of Appalachia are related. It is the same cause. Fossil fuels. Their production is peaking all over the planet as demand increases. Will we destroy everything in a feeble, desperate attempt to maintain what we cannot sustain?

We don't have forever. Now is the time.

Presbyterians for Earth Care has important information for commissioners at this General Assembly, particularly those assigned to committee 11.

Make your statement as strong as you can.
While, the particular recommendations are important, what is more important is that you make noise about it and never stop.

Please take time to read their latest newsletter.

In the article, "Oil and Water: A Kairos Time?" PEC coordinator, Jenny Holmes writes:

May we not let this time pass without listening deeply to the cries of creation in the Gulf, praying fervently out of what we hear and providing the leadership and hope that God invites; in our congregations, at General Assembly in July and in our communities.
That is nicely said. I will put it more bluntly.

Everyone needs to raise hell now. Otherwise we will be living in it.


  1. John I hate to sound like a whiney environmentalist but I took a look at some of the pictures of the so called "reclaimed" land that had the green things on the Google maps and there are these little tiny developed areas with most of the rest of it looking like maybe there is some grass on top of where the mine is/was. If that reclamation then the EPA needs to do a better job judging even on the "reclaimed" areas.

  2. I don't think anyone would argue with that, Bob. The "reclamation" addresses one area of MTR: run-off. By growing a few trees and some grass, the EPA prevents erosion and siltification of waterways to a degree, but it doesn't address the destruction of native habitat, some of which may be quite rare, or the health impact for the people of the areas affected by MTR.

    It's great for people who like to ride their 4-wheelers, but frankly, they can take a flying f%^k at a rolling doughnut.

  3. Snad

    I'm sure the coal companies would disagree with me, at least in public.

    Aside from other concerns I would add that this method of coal mining also destroys any fossil record that might be around or near the coal. Since these are really old mountains I suspect any fossil record would also be really old.

  4. This needs to be seen as a justice issue -- justice for the folks who are losing their livelihoods when the mines are shut down, and justice for the other life-forms that are destroyed in the process of strip-mining.

    The late Sen. Robert Byrd had become a leader in the Senate for stopping mountain-top removal strip-mining. However, in coal states like WV, TN, Kentucky, and Ohio, cap and trade, and "green" mining methods and being fought tooth and nail by the coal interests (read share-holders) and the media (especially in West Virginia), which get their money from coal mining companies.

    Justice for displaced coal-mining communities has to include major, heavy-hitting education and training programs. Many of these folks are illiterate, and despite the relatively high wages (relative to zero or minimum-wage Mcjobs), many of these folks are living in poverty and ignorance.

    So there is plenty of work to do. The hardest job seems to be winning the hearts and minds of the people who are so oppressed they can't imagine living any other way, and therefore are afraid to make any changes.

  5. Bob -

    Of course, by "anyone", I meant people, not corporations or the heartless greedy bastards that run them.

    Did I just say that? Yes, I did!

    Sea Raven -

    Right on, Sister!

  6. You cannot reclaim this in human time. We are talking millions of years. Mountains are literally turned inside-out.