Utne Blogs > Wild Green

Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.

It Takes a Woman to Save a Mountain

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, energy, mountaintop removal, coal mining, Judy Bonds, Maria Gunnoe, women, feminism, activism, Appalachia, make/shift,

Majora Carter and Judy BondsIn the campaign against mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, many of the leading organizers are women. There’s Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch, whom we named an Utne visionary last year (and who is pictured here with another Utne visionary, Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx ). There’s Maria Gunnoe of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, who along with Bonds has won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts. And, reports make/shift, there are front-line activists like Zoe Beavers, who did grunt work on a ground support crew for tree-sitters at a West Virginia mine site last August. (She was rewarded with trespassing charges.) Make/shift puts the work of these women in historical perspective:

Today’s activists are part of a long tradition. In 1965, Ollie “Widow” Combs laid down in front of the bulldozer readying to strip-mine her Kentucky farm. In the courtroom where she was sentenced to 20 hours in jail, the 61-year-old expressed her desire simply: to go back to her hollow and live out the rest of her life in peace. Contemporary activists take this demand a step further: they don’t want coal-related industries devastating anyone’s home.

Source: make/shift (article not available online)

Image by James Chase, courtesy of Coal River Mountain Watch.