Tuesday, September 2, 2008

“Oh What are Men Compared to Rocks and Mountains” –Jane Austen

In our modern day “take whatever we want from the land” society, man has managed to cross the line yet again. This time it’s not about endangering species, cutting down forests, or polluting our water; it’s about destroying some of the few things that we were all certain would stand tall and out last us; mountains. We are blasting off mountain tops and pushing the debris into the valley below, covering up rivers, streams, and natural habitats; while pulverizing the land into a
flat characterless pile of rocks, all in the name of finding more coal. What a noble occupation.

Mountain top removal (MTR) is literally taking the mountain off of the coal. You blast the top of the mountain off, extract the coal seams and then push the excess debris into a valley below. This is a cheaper, faster, and more efficient way of extracting the coal. It also pollutes water, destroys ecosystem and depletes the local economy. That’s right, MTR is not just bad for the cute fury little animals, but for the people around the mountain as well. Coal mining no longer means stable jobs. Jobs that would usually be reserved for local minors are now being taken by machines and dynamite. Even beyond the economy, the removal of mountain tops disrupts water patterns and makes way for possible flooding of communities and homes.

The sad part is (well, other than the general dissipation and destruction MTR causes) no one really knows that it’s happening. Aside from the well informed environmental and/or political community, the coal companies, and the towns that fall victim; most people have no clue we are pulverizing mountains. Why is this not made more of a big deal? We know all about the drilling off the Florida Coast and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which is good, but why is it that the general media doesn’t seem concerned about blowing up our age-long symbols of strength and resilience? Why, Because it doesn’t effect the consumers pocket book, so it’s not a story.

People are riding their bikes because they can’t afford to fill their tanks, energy companies are looking into renewable resources because everything else is growing too expensive, trucks and SUV’s are being replaced by hybrids and economy cars because of miles per gallon, but when you start talking about blowing up a mountain; the up roar becomes a dual moan. The moan of the few people that actually care if their children don’t get to experience the breath taking site of those towering wonders. It’s sad to think that maybe in a few 100 years the tallest things on earth will be man-made. But even sadder is that we’re going to destroy all of these mountains, and still run out of coal. Is that really something we want to be a part of our legacy? The Millennial generation: the force that killed the mountains.

1 comment:

smoness said...

I don't suppose we can teach the mountains how to shoot back, huh?