Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mountaintop Removal Week 4

Week 4
7 June
Day 1 (22)
Went to church today. It was really energetic and the sermon was right on. I got to watch over one of the volunteer’s little girl today: super fun. Then I stayed up till 2pm gardening because the above ground greens had to be planted before this cycle of the moon ended. It was a really great lesson in gardening though: I needed it. Due to a recent personal discovery in just how much corn is in our system, I have to get into gardening a lot some day.

8 June
Day 2 (23)
I slept in today then toured the watershed that I’ll be testing in within the following weeks. It was simply beautiful in the area: very few houses and an abundance of nature. In some places you could visually tell that the water was polluted. The issue then is that these people live so far away from civilization, that they can’t really buy water. They had gardens and animals for their own food: a simple, beautiful life.

9 June
Day 3 (24)
I didn’t go to appeals court today. I should have, but I would have fallen asleep. Today is more of a personal day to take care of a few things and rest. At the end of the day we watched an old Stephen Segal film called “Fire Down Below,” about Segal beating up people in the coal companies: obviously not something we support.

10 June
Day 4 (25)
We made final preparations today for the Icthus Festival. We finished fine tuning the brochure I made, finished fine tuning the poster that Jason designed, and other outreach materials. It’s pretty cool to actually do these things after you learn so much about why outreach materials are so important in advocacy. We also finished planting today, but the fencing isn’t up, so the rabbit is having a field day. I’m glad I got to do all of this gardening, since it’s such an important part of sustainability.

11 June-13 June
Days 5-7 (26-28)
Icthus is great so far! I can feel myself really getting closer to God and understanding Him more. We’ve also had some great outreach successes. Some discussions lasted an hour, others short but successful. A lot of people signed up to volunteer. We also made connections with other groups there like organizations and youth groups. A big part of Christians for the Mountains is bringing in groups to educate them about mountaintop removal hands on: not just pictures, movies, and statistics. Groups coming in will go on hikes to appreciate the area and learn about the biodiversity here, then visit mine sites and understand the clear difference. The mine site visits include tours and information from people who live in these communities and are leading activists like Judy Bonds and Maria Gunnoe (winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize). One group that we connected with is a Christian Adventure group that has a creation awareness program; they do trail work and wilderness trips.

Today was the last day of the festival. It's really late at night and we're staying up for a gypsy Christian rock band, then driving back. Some wonderful connections were made on the trip. I feel like I've come to understand how to interact with people boldly to spread a message. I even got a seemingly passive man to say, "Well, I can do that!" When asked to send emails through a website to his representatives and senators about mountaintop removal and the current legislation on it (Clean Water Restoration Act and the Appalachian Preservation Act). A lot of people in Kentucky (this is where the festival was) thought that mountaintop removal wasn't happening anymore (in fact it's happening much, much more) or had never heard of mountaintop removal. The interesting thing is that parts of eastern Kentucky are being strip mined.

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