Occupy Mountains: #SayNo2MountaintopRemoval

by Adam

Mickey Z.


“What are men to rocks and mountains?”

Jane Austen


While on a flight to Portland, Oregon a few years back, I looked out the window and my jaw dropped at the sight of Mount Hood. Moments like that make it easy to love mountains but—except for climbers and greedy coal executives—mountains often go overlooked by most Homo sapiens.

Born in the glorious violence of two tectonic plates pressing against each other until the land lifts and folds over itself, mountains link the sky to the ocean floor and have fired human (and animal?) imaginations since, well…forever.

Evidently, there are more than a few ways to perceive a mountain…

Thirst-Quenching. Did you know that half of the world’s population depends on mountain water?

Diverse. In just the Colorado Rockies alone, you’ll find quails, turkeys, coyotes, deer, moose, mountain lions, black bears, badgers, squirrels, bison, rattlesnakes, geese, eagles, elks, and wolves.

Geological Awe. There’s absolutely nothing like the Himalayan Range in the entire solar system.

Blown Up (in search of profits). As the crew at Appalachian Voices explains: “Mountaintop removal involves clear cutting native hardwood forests, using dynamite to blast away as much as 600 feet of mountaintop, and then dumping the waste into nearby valleys, often burying streams. While the environmental devastation caused by this practice is obvious, families and communities near these mining sites are forced to contend with continual blasting from mining operations that can take place up to 300 feet from their homes and operate 24 hours a day. Families and communities near mining sites may also suffer from airborne dust and debris, contamination of their drinking water supplies, and flooding from broken slurry impoundments such as the Buffalo Creek disaster which left more than 100 dead and thousands homeless.”

“If we can’t stop mountain top removal in the US, there is little hope that we can stop tar sands development in Alberta or coal mining anywhere,” Mike Roselle told me during an interview. “Coal is literally killing our planet and we must switch now or face an even bleaker future than the one we’ve been handed.”

As I’ve urged before, it’d be great if corporations paid more taxes or if single-payer health care were enacted but such changes would ultimately fall into the proverbial Titanic/deck chair category if our eco-system is not restored and respected. This is why we must continue to #Occupy and never surrender the goal of fashioning an alternative form of human society—as soon as possible.

We are the 99%. Expect us. Join us…

#De-OccupyMountaintopMining. #DeOccupyCoal. #OccupyEcosystemBefore Economics.


Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.