Sunday, November 05, 2006

National Memorial for the Mountains

A National travesty gone largely unoticed......

After a two year voyage of discussion, home-front reporting, and uncensored opinion, Dances with Leaves has received a new coat of paint, brand-spanking new engines, and an array of weaponry bound to strike fear into the hearts of conservatives, fundamentalists, criminally minded politicians, and idiots of all stripes. With her sleek new superstructure, she gets a new name, one that is more in line with her stated mission. "Dances" served me and my readership well, but with the new bells and whistles provided by the Blogger Beta, "These Thoughts Escape Me" will be better able to carry on the proud tradition begun several years ago by the original creaky rowboat without a paddle known as "Madness, Musings, and Melancholy". I want to thank all of you who stumbled across this blog, read it, and bookmarked it rather than consign it to the virtual trash-can. Thank you all for the help, the encouragement, and the inspiration you all provided me via your own great works. I hope to continue to be worthy of your company.

For her maiden voyage (that last post was simply her shake-down cruise) I want to revisit a travesty that I touched on briefly a few posts back, that being the wholesale destruction being visited upon the Allegheny mountain range as the coal companies bypass the slower, more expensive, and yes, more dangerous mine-shaft method of coal extraction in favor of the cheap and dirty process of simply removing the entire mountain covering the coal. Using explosives, mega-sized buckets and bulldozers, these companies are making flat whole mountains, filling in the nearby valleys with rubble and toxic dirt, destroying the fish populations, poisoning the water, and altering forever the topography and culture of the residents living in the shadows of these once great and beautiful creations that took eons to create. While providing immense wealth to a relatively few individuals and investors and a dirty and polluting energy source for our powerplants, an entire region of our country is being altered and destroyed on a scale not seen since the building of the Three Gorges Dam in China, with even far worse consequences environmentally. The residents living in these regions, not all who are employed or benefit in any real way from these mines, have seen their homes covered in coal dust, their water wells rendered worthless as the water table is polluted, and landslides and flooding increase dramatically as these mountains are leveled. What they end up with, when the coal companies finally get around to it, are large flat areas that are sold to those lucky few for new homes, farms, and even new townships where once the topography prevented it. Some of these areas are described as flat, featureless zones that look like sterile golf courses paved over with astroturf. This is man's tendency to want to pave over nature to the ultimate extreme, as though what nature has provided is simply something that needs to be terraformed to better suit our flat and soulless nature. Imagine all the new territory that has been provided perfect for hundreds of new Walmarts!

Meanwhile, the product of this rape and pillage has provided tons of the dirtiest fuel we know of to burn in powerplants and pump back into the atmosphere, further degrading our air quality and ramping up global warming. It amazes me that all these people involved honestly give little thought to what effect this is going to have on their own children and grandchildren. It amazes me that they can sleep at all on their beds of money. On second amazes me anymore as to what mankind is capable of. Suicide by greed, graft, ignorance, corruption, and self-centered ego is one of our most celebrated traits.

All this has pretty much slide under the radar, not garnering much attention in the mainstream media, which is amazing considering that this is no less equal in importance to Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, or the Love Canal fiasco. It remains to be seen if the new government about to be formed, less influenced by conservative fundamentalists out to bring on Armageddon, will take notice of this disaster and put a stop to it. I doubt it will unless this new crop of electees are immune to the sweet talk and cash contributions of the Energy special interests, and I honestly don't think they will be. Only the elimination of the Bush/Cheney Monarchy and their Tom Delay co-horts will allow such concerns to be addressed, but by the time they are, most of these mountains will have been laid low, and an entire region of our country scarred forever, a permanent and very visual reminder of just what evil we are capable of.

You, my readers, can help shed at least a little more light on this travesty by sharing this video with everybody you know, in hopes that at least the knowledge of it might help raise much needed outrage against it. I realize that the American people are not famous these days for caring about their fellow man, but who knows, maybe this once they will, at least enough to bring it up in discussions with the right people, people who vote for those who should have done something about this years ago.

Thank you for your patronage, and please, get out and VOTE, or never grace the pages of my blog again..........


Buffalo said...

Vote? How do we choose the lesser of the evils?

THE Michael said...

Buf, even voting "none of the above" sends a message. Right now, even having to settle for a Democrate as opposed to his evil twin is better than nothing. Next time around, if the grass roots would get involved, maybe we can begin to bring forth some third-party atternatives to this never ending two-party FUBAR.