Flipping Your Light Switch May Demolish Mountains

Flipping Your Light Switch May Demolish Mountains

A new Web-based tool allows U.S. residents to learn how their local electricity consumption may be linked to the destruction of landscapes in the Appalachia region of the eastern United States. With “My Connection,” a feature from North Carolina-based Appalachian Voices, users can enter their ZIP codes and use Google Earth to view the decimated mountains from which their power provider obtains coal. “When you can show people they have a direct connection to it, it makes it that much more relevant to their day-to-day life,” Mary Anne Hitt, the executive director of Appalachian Voices, told The Wall Street Journal.

The online tool uses mapping and aerial imagery to allow users to do a “fly over” of power production and coal mining locations around the country. It also helps Appalachian Voices campaign director Lenny Kohm answer the frequently asked question: “what’s [mountaintop removal mining] got to do with me?” The relatively new form of strip mining, which involves blowing up all or part of a mountain to reach the coal seams below, is particularly harmful to the environment, miners, and local communities, the group says.

With the new tool, electricity users from as far away as California can be linked to mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. “When you look at a light switch on the wall, you think of it as a light switch, but this gives you a chance to look behind it,” says Kohm. “Everyone who uses electricity is complicit in blowing up mountains.”

No excuse anymore for saying you don’t know what you’re doing. We’re all part of the problem. We should demand better and cleaner sources of energy. Our leaders have relied on our ignorance until now. It’s not just climate change, but wholesale destruction of landscapes. Find out your candidates’ energy position, and help defeat the status quo of fossil energy. Vote for carbon taxes and renewable energy credits. We deserve the peace of mind of knowing we can meet our energy needs without ruining the planet for our children. Let’s kill Ole King Coal before he kills us.

Comments (One comment)

Liquid Egg Product / December 1st, 2007, 3:50 pm / #1

To add: some electric companies have programs which allow you to specify where your electricity’s coming from. It costs more, but voting with your wallet is one of the strongest actions you can take.

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