“Citizen Harry” replies to Randall Maggard (see “Sierra Club Hosts 850 Parties to Preview Film, Take Action” for the full blog comments.)

Randy,
Slurry ponds do contain selenium, arsenic, mercury, all in so called “safe” amounts. Just to name a few horrors that exist in slurry ponds. Selenium poisoning of water systems may result whenever new agricultural runoff courses through normally dry undeveloped lands. This process leaches natural soluble selenium compounds (such as selenates) into the water, which may then be concentrated in new “wetlands” as the water evaporates. High selenium levels produced in this fashion have been found to have caused certain congenital disorders in wetland birds. And the dams haven’t proved to be safe, even if most of them have lasted a few decades. If I lived under one, I would move, but then I have the means to move. Some of us do use “Head and Shoulders” shampoo, etc. pouring selenium on our heads, because the FDA calls it “safe”. I use an organic shampoo product that has put some thought into what we should put on our bodies, and down our drains.

Let’s talk about some other “safe” stuff.  Deodorants, and Antiperspirants are mostly aluminum based, and aluminum poisoning is now being studied as a cause for Alzheimers, etc. in younger and younger people.  So I choose to buy a natural organic deodorant, and wash more often.  Phenolalanine, Asparteme, which goes into “Diet” drinks is “safe” as well. And there is evidence that it causes lowered kidney function, and other problems, especially in women.  For tens of thousands of years, early humans did not drink things like “Coke”, and probably had very little “diabetes”. So I have a choice, given some education about the issue…  I choose to drink water.  McDonalds, which is the “great American restaurant” sells some of the worst food for human consumption, and has contributed to a fat society, bringing health care costs way up.  I choose to buy from my local organic food co-op, and support local farmers.  All these things I have a choice to use, or not use in my daily life. However… a slurry pond, and its unknown long term effects on the water system is something that is thrust up on me, just as the pollution in our rivers and streams, and the smokestacks belching millions of tons of Carbon Dioxide. The destruction of the mountain tops, and the natural flora and fauna of the great Appalachian forests is lost forever, no matter how you “reclaim.”

I understand that my computers, and electricity come partially from coal. I also drive a car, and so fossil fuels are definitely part of my life, and have enhanced our lives in many ways. So, too, could wind power, solar panels, alternative fuels, conservation of energy we have now, and recycling.

I’ve also noticed how because of our perceived “affluence”, we throw things into landfills because it’s easier to buy new than to repair old. That makes the manufacturing of new things shoddy, as they will inevitably have a short life, and so the circle continues toward lower quality, less jobs, and more pollution. That’s why businesses have left to move to Mexico, and other places where they can pay slave wages. The way we consume has lost us jobs, and made things worse for us as a nation.

Green energy solutions will create jobs, and enable us to stop polluting the environment as much, and stop the emissions in the air, destruction of the planets resources, and the need for things like “slurry” ponds.

Why can’t you admit to the fact that should we begin to work towards green jobs, like solar, wind power, etc., and decrease the use of coal. I’m not suggesting we shut down mining, but we all know that MTR strip mining is just the most cost effective way of creating big profits for coal companies, and not in the best interest of coal miners. Less miners work in those facilities than did underground, and Massey Energy has been a Union buster, for many years. The story that coal companies are concerned so much with the lives of their workers is not true on a broad scale. The only green thing the coal companies are concerned with is Benjamin Franklin… printed on as much green as they can stuff into a bank.

You can argue and complain about us “tree huggers”, but it won’t change the fact that we are a new generation of people who are fed up just accepting things “the way they are”. You don’t seem to be really concerned with the future, just with your own job, or you’d be more friendly with the rest of the human race who aren’t on the coal bandwagon. If we survive another fifty years, your kids will be forced into “green” jobs, because there won’t be any “black” ones left, and we’ll be trying to catch up, and clean up if possible.

I’ve been watching the Jeff Corwin series called “100 Heartbeats” which chronicles global extermination of species. Scientists are now starting to believe that the loss of species is moving so fast that it may rival the extermination of species in the dinosaur age. All due to our “safe” practices as human beings. It’s time to educate ourselves, and do all we can to stop these polluting practices.
You don’t talk much about conservation, and I never hear the pro coal people talk about turning the lights off, just turning the lights on, and keeping them on. If, through movies like this, we all realize that we could do a lot ourselves by reducing drastically the amount of energy we consume, it would at least help slow down the need to mine so much so fast. You’re right, it isn’t your fault that you do the job you do. It’s part of the culture. Unfortunately, it’s part of a culture that is destroying itself.

I do appreciate my computer, and my electricity, and realize that much of it has come from coal power. Much of the educational advances in the past few decades have been enhanced by those computers, fired by electricity. And so the general public that cares to educate themselves with them, have now begun to awaken to the lies we’ve been told by big multi-national companies, and politicians that are paid off routinely. I hail your efforts at trying your best to reclaim. If you spent part of the boundless energy you have calling the rest of us “un-American”, and help be a part of the solution, you would really be of benefit to the US future economy.

But if you became an outspoken proponent of green energy, you’d probably be in jeopardy of losing your job. Or would the coal company you work for, that cares so much for the future of peoples lives be in support of that? No, it would fire your ass in a minute, because it cares only about profits, and keeping the coal trains moving. It’s the same with gasoline. War is what comes from this kind of thinking. It’s not anti-American, of course, we’ve always just taken what we need with no thought of anyone else. We’ve killed the Native Americans, and rounded them up into reservations. Was that just “progress?”… Some of us won’t deal with that sort of thinking anymore. I’m not calling the US bad. The Constitution is sound in theory. But freedom comes with responsibility.

I’m glad to be a part of society that endeavors to be kind to each other, the planet, tries to educate myself, my kids, and and have a social conscience. I keep my thermostat down, turn lights off unless I’m using them, and at least try to move forward in a thoughtful manner. Let’s stop all this name calling, and try to work towards a world where we appreciate the good things about each other, and be open minded.

Lastly, I don’t have any way of finding out whether the Sierra Club has indeed met their goal of house parties. And if they’re guilty of the same thing big coal companies have been guilty of… manipulating data for their own purposes, they should be ashamed of themselves. I’m against that sort of thing, as well, as we all should be. You’re right in pointing out that maybe other big conglomerates with agendas might do this sort of thing. But two wrongs don’t make a right, and I would be the first to stand up and condemn Sierra Club if they were found to be doing that. Right now I don’t have enough information make a judgment. But there is a thing called “inferential cognizing”, which means that if you see smoke rising from a chimney in a cabin in the valley, you don’t have to actually see the fire in the fireplace to infer that there is probably a fire there. I can see smoke rising all over the Appalachians through the black water, dying poor people, and the economically ravaged economies in “Coal Country”.
-Citizen Harry

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