Mountain Justice Spring Break by Krista Shugart

Mountain Justice Spring Break will bring students face to face with the devastating effects of mountaintop removal and coal industry abuse which is deeply rooted  in our fossil fuel-based economy. The program will give students the skills and knowledge that they need to confront this systemic issue. Through education, direct community service, affected speakers, ecological education, non-violent direct action training and more, students will learn from and stand with Appalachian communities in the struggle to maintain their health, land and culture. Students will support the growing anti-mountaintop removal movement in Virginia and Southern Appalachia. Mountain Justice Spring break will be facilitated by Mountain Justice, RReNEW, Coal River Mountain Watch, RAMPS, and Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards.  

A photo I took last year at Mountain Justice Spring Break 2012 of a Mountaintop Removal Site. A mountain used to be here. This is what “clean coal” looks like. CLEAN COAL = DIRTY LIE

The burning of coal is responsible for 40% (2 billion tons per year) of US greenhouse gas emissions. Coal affects the air we all breathe nationwide, contributing to thousands of cases of childhood asthma and premature deaths per year. Mountaintop removal is also causing a loss in biodiversity, more frequent and powerful storms, rising sea levels, a public health crisis, and numerous other environmental and social issues. Other issues of mountain removal mining are poisoned groundwater, rising cancer rates, and other negative health effects in communities. These effects are being ignored by the coal industry as well as dismissed by local and national governments and mass media in the interest of protecting corporate profits over people’s health. For six years, Mountain Justice has worked in the coalfields of TN, KY, WV, VA, and OH to stop mountaintop removal mining and restore the health of the people and ecosystems.

Fourteen Green Mountain College students will join 100+ like-minded college students from across the country to gather from March 1st-10th to mobilize against mountaintop removal and learn about the vibrant history of the Appalachian region. The goal for Mountain Justice Spring Break is to educate, empower, and activate students to take action year round to stop mountaintop removal mining and create space to build sustainable and vibrant economies in its place. Students will attend daily workshops. One of the main ideas behind Mountain Justice Spring Break is that America’s dirty coal secrets have remained hidden for too long. MJSB allows students to see the injustices of coal first hand and then join the fight against them.

No jobs on a dead planet.

Green Mountain College is among the Greenest Schools in the Nation, and GMC students will take a stand on social, environmental, and intergenerational issues, and do more than talk the talk about being green; we walk the walk and take action by sending students to the front lines of injustice to fight to protect the environment and a safe livable future for all. This will be a departure from many of our roles as a chorus of advocates simply calling for change; we will emerge into a position of leadership, demanding real change on energy and social justice for all, and refuse to stop until it is achieved.

*Thank you student senate for funding this!!!*





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