Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mountaintop madness

Of all the creatively awful ways humans have figured out for messing up the natural environment, mountaintop removal coal mining may be the most appalling and senseless. Of course, we have managed to mess things up on a massive scale many times before: deforestation of large portions of whole continents is a good example. But amazingly, trees and forests grow back: witness the northeastern United States. Mountaintops do not grow back, except possibly on a geologic time scale. And adding insult to violent injury, the mining spoils kill the streams, and the coal itself has a second and even a third round opportunity to kill the planet: globally through CO2 emissions, and locally through coal ash disposal. I guess there are people who look at pictures like these and can only see dollar signs; others turn away and see votes. Now and then somebody stands up and does the right thing...

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