Wendell Berry interviewed on "Living on Earth: The Costs of Coal"

GELLERMAN: So why did you occupy the office of the Governor of Kentucky?

BERRY: Because the issue is very large and very urgent: that is, the destruction of the coalfields of eastern Kentucky, by surface mining at its most violent, which is to say - mountaintop removal.

GELLERMAN: Well, what did you want the Governor to do about it?

BERRY: You have to understand - our complaint is in the context of a virtual dead-silence for many years on the part of state government. We have done everything we could think of to get a hearing - without any effect whatsoever. So this was simply the next thing if we were going to continue our opposition to those mining practices.

via www.loe.org

An interview: "Sitting In with Wendell Berry to End Mountaintop Removal"

Midway through the historic sit-in, author Jeff Biggers—the grandson of a coal miner and a vocal critic of mountaintop removal—spoke to Wendell Berry about his goals for the sit-in and the importance of civil disobedience.

Jeff Biggers: Can you summarize what you’ve been doing here for the last several days?

Wendell Berry: What we’ve done is follow up on a visit we made to the governor’s office last May. On that visit, we talked to the governor and, in effect, it was to no effect. We didn’t cause any thought to happen. It was an unsatisfactory conversation. We didn’t really speak to each other; we didn’t really hear each other. We didn’t talk back and forth on the same question—as you have to do in a real conversation.

via www.yesmagazine.org

"Wendell Berry statement February 14, 2011"

Delivered at I LOVE MOUNTAINS DAY on behalf of those who spent the weekend in the capitol.

Several of us gathered at our governor’s office on Friday, determined to secure for the land and the people of the coal fields, and for the water drinkers downstream, the full attention, long delayed, of the Governor, of state government, and of our fellow citizens.  We came because the land, its forests, and its streams are being destroyed by the surface mining of coal, because the people are suffering intolerable harms to their homes, their health, and their communities, and because all the people downstream are threatened by the degradation and contamination of the rivers.

We have remained here until today because of desires that we know are shared by many thousands of the good people of our state and nation — desires that ought in reason and in justice to be shared by our elected representatives here in Frankfort: namely, that all of our home places should be healthy, that all of our headwater slopes should be safeguarded for us and our children forever by sustainably used and ever-cherished native forests, that every stream should run clear, that every child should breathe clean air, that the economy of every community should grow from the local soil and local resources, within the affection and care, by the skills, thrift, and intelligence of the local people.

The events of the past weekend have been widely noticed, have become “news,” carried evidently all over the nation.  Now we want to say to all of you, who are here in love for the mountains and in protest against their destruction, that we do not look upon these events as finished.  We do not think of what we have done as in any sense a symbolic gesture.  We are humbled, instead, by the realization that our effort cannot be carried to success by us, or by any other few of us.  If the adventure of the last few days, by this small company of friends, is to be more than a symbolic gesture, that can be only because all of you who are here, and many of our friends who are not here, will take it up, make it your adventure and your cause, until this great house will become the true home of justice to all the people of this state, and of faithful care for the divine gifts of land and water, and of life itself. 

via www.kftc.org

Please Support Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

"Wendell Berry Won’t Quit Trying to Save the Mountains"

Fourteen mountain-top removal protesters — including author Wendell Berry — are in their third day of a sit-in/sleep-in at the Kentucky Governor’s Office in Frankfort. The group, known as Kentucky Rising, is demanding that Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who is up for reelection in November, end his support of mountaintop removal, a destructive form of surface mining that has buried over 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams. They also insist that he withdraw from a lawsuit he filed, in an alliance with the Kentucky Coal Association, against the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wendell Berry, a native Kentuckian and author most recently of Bringing It To the Table: On Farming and Food, was interviewed by Jeff Biggers this week on mountain-top removal coal mining and why he is protesting at the Capitol.

via blog.sojo.net


"Wendell Berry Joins Anti-Mountaintop Removal Sit-In" by Lisa Bennett (Center for Ecoliteracy)

"Kentuckians show love for the mountains with historic sit-in and march" (Institute for Southern Studies)

"Protestors Emerge From Governor's Office"

Fourteen protesters emerged from a four-day occupation of the Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s office in protest of mountaintop removal mining before a crowd of over 1,000 people on the steps of the state Capitol Monday.

In a statement delivered before a cheering throng of supporters, writer Wendell Berry said, “We came because the land, its forests, and its streams are being destroyed by the surface mining of coal, because the people are suffering intolerable harms to their homes, their health, and their communities."

via www.wlky.com

"Wendell Berry reflects on removal of papers"

Wendell Berry reflects on removal of papers

February 13, 2011 by Taylor Moak · View Comments 

Editor’s note: Kernel managing editor Taylor Moak has been working on a profile of Wendell Berry since October. The Kernel, which had planned to publish this story later in the semester, moved up publication because of the weekend’s events.

Wendell Berry studied at UK. He taught here.

Over the years, he gained acclaim for literature that advocated a return to the land. His work and the state’s flagship universty were intertwined.

So in December of 2009, after Berry quietly removed the body of work he had loaned to UK’s archives, he knew that what he was doing would reverberate beyond his seemingly simple action.

“To me it’s a matter of principle,  of what I consider the proper role for the University of Kentucky in fulfilling its obligation to its state and its people,” Berry said.

via kykernel.com

"Jeff Biggers: Live at the KY Capitol on Day 3: Exclusive Video"

As the sun rose on the Frankfort capitol in Kentucky on this beautiful winter morning, 14 anti-mountaintop removal activists were already in meetings on the third day of their historic protest. After marking the second night on the floors and chairs in their Kentucky Rising occupation of Gov. Steve Beshear's office, four of the sit-in participants, including the celebrated author Wendell Berry, appeared at the east capitol entrance for an exclusive interview with Huffington Post blogger Jeff Biggers and Kentucky filmmaker Ben Evans.

via www.huffingtonpost.com

"Kentucky Rising: A Statement from Wendell Berry, February 12, 2011, 10:58 a.m."

A Statement from Wendell Berry, February 12, 2011, 10:58 a.m.

It is now Feb. 12.  By now we expected to be either in jail or bailed out.  Instead, by Gov. Beshear’s invitation, we are staying in his reception room in the Capitol.  We have had a good night’s sleep and are feeling fine.  The governor and his staff, the custodians and security staff of this building, all have treated us with hospitality and perfect kindness.  We have spoken much of this and of our gratitude.

A little to our surprise, the Governor spoke with us at some length yesterday, and listened evidently with care as our people bore witness to the abuses they live with every day.  He conceded graciously to two of our requests: that he would visit the home places of some of our people to see for himself what they are telling him about.  The conversation otherwise was a standoff.  We are far from agreement on most of our agenda of grievances.  But we feel that the conversation was useful because it made our differences utterly clear.  The Governor conceded our right to our opinions, but he believes that our accusations against the coal industry and its allies in state government are matters merely of opinion and personal feeling, without standing in fact, in law, or in principle.  He believes, moreover, that surface mining can be, and apparently that it is, carried on without damage to the land, the people, and the water supply.

We, of course, respectfully disagree.  We are relieved this morning by an accumulation of evidence that the first goal of our protest has been achieved.  State government’s official silence on the grave issues of surface mining has been broken.  Those issues have now entered the public conversation as they never have before.  Obviously, we are determined to stop the abuses of the coal industry, and to that end we are determined also to keep this conversation going.  We look forward to continuing our discussion with the Governor, and with anybody else who may want to talk with us. 

We wish to say further—and this is extremely important to us—that our protest is against methods of mining that are abusive.  We do not oppose mining per se.  Our purpose is to protect our land and water.  And we most certainly bear no ill will against those who work in mines.

via kentuckyrising.blogspot.com


Citizen action at the Kentucky governor's office (KFTC Blog)

"Governor's Sit-In Day Two"

As the nation's beloved author/farmer philosopher Wendell Berry settled his 76-year-old lanky frame onto the floor of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's office last night, he picked up a copy of The Tempest. But in joining other protesters in this extraordinary sit-in to halt reckless mountaintop removal mining, including a coal miner and inspector who dedicated 40 years of his life to the industry, a Harlan County activist whose brother was killed in a mine, a nurse who has served black lung-affected coal miners for decades, and some of the country's top Appalachian labor and history scholars, Berry was not taking part in any Shakespeare spectacle.

via www.huffingtonpost.com


Update from inside the Capitol: Wendell Berry (Kentucky Rising)

Kentucky Rep. Tom Riner visits protesters in Capitol (Kentucky Kernel)

Protesters spend comfortable night in governor's office, plan rallies Sunday and Monday (Kentucky.com)

Protestors hold weekend sleepover in governor's office (State-Journal.com)

Activists Occupy Kentucky Governor's Office Demanding End to Mountaintop Removal Mining (Treehugger)

Kentucky authors, activists enter the second day of their weekend-long sit-in in the governor’s office (Kentucky Kernel)

Beshear Invites Anti-Coal Protesters To Stay In His Office Over Weekend (Lex18.com)