Kentucky author and poet Wendell Berry and a group of environmentalists will be spending the weekend inside the state Capitol after staging an impromptu meeting with Gov. Steve Beshear.
Berry and more than a dozen activists demanded an end to coal mining practices that destroy eastern Kentucky mountains.
After 45 minutes of give-and-take with the governor in the early afternoon, Berry and activist Teri Blanton, a former chair of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, told Beshear they did not intend to leave.
Please follow this link: http://www.kftc.org/blog/archive/2011/02/11/live
Here is the direct link to the live stream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/kepentz
Wendell Berry Joins Retired Coal Miners and Residents in Kentucky Rising Capitol Sit-in
Over six years after Kentucky became the first state in the nation to introduce a bill that would halt the dumping of toxic coal mining wastes into headwater streams and effectively reign in the devastating fall-out of mountaintop removal operations, a group of affected coalfield residents, retired coal miners and bestselling authors have launched a sit-in in the office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear this morning.
Joined by legendary author, farmer and philosopher Wendell Berry, retired coal miner Stanley Sturgill, and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth activists Teri Blanton and Mickey McCoy, among others, the Kentucky activists declared their intent “to remain in his office until the governor agrees to stop the poisoning of Kentucky’s land, water, and people by mountaintop removal; or until he chooses to have the citizens physically removed.”
Only days since the anniversary of the historic Greensboro sit-ins in North Carolina, which triggered the Civil Rights Movement in 1960, organizers are hailing this breakthrough event as the advent of the “Kentucky Rising.” Twitter updates will be posted @jasonkylehoward and @kftc
“This is not something we’re doing for pleasure,” said Wendell Berry, who has been active in the movement to abolish mountaintop removal mining for years. “We’re doing it because it’s the next thing to do after all our attempts to attract serious attention to these problems have failed. We’re doing this as a last resort. Our intention is to appeal first to our elected representatives and the governor, and failing that, to appeal over their heads to our fellow citizens.”
"Wendell Berry Risks Arrest in Sit-In" (Front Porch Republic)
"Twenty Occupy Gov's Office in Kentucky Coal-Mining Fight" (It's Getting Hot in Here)
Jeff Biggers (Huffington Post)
"Kentuckians Confront Governor Beshear" (Appalaichian Voices)
Thanks to a powerful and growing New Power grassroots movement, a broad alliance of Kentucky activists sent an electrifying message across the nation today: A just transition to a clean energy future, even in the heartland of coal country Kentucky, is possible.
Recognizing the spiraling costs of coal-fired plant construction and more practical energy efficiency and renewable energy options, the East Kentucky Power Cooperative has agreed to halt its once fervent plans to construct two coal-burning power plants in Clark County.
Also posted HERE.
Mr. Berry speaks at Lexington panel discussion on coal and Kentucky's energy future.
New for 2010 is a Saturday, 10:30 AM Panel Discussion on coal and Kentucky's energy future featuring Wendell Berry, followed by multi award-winning singer-songwriter Mitch Barrett
On a recent trip to the town that I grew up in, I looked over the latest political ads and listened to comments people made about the upcoming election. Aside from the expected vitriol, there is also the undercurrent that I heard a few times that those who are “anti-coal” cannot win in that town. Coal is not even an issue in this election—this is simply a presupposition held that prevents it from being an issue going into the political realm there.
I grew up in Western Kentucky; my grandfather and other relatives spent time in the mines and they hardly glamorized or praised it—it was simply what you did to put food on the table, it was a job waiting for folks in that part of the country when they came home from the war. Sometime less than 10 years ago, mining came back in a big way to that part of the state. I don’t recall too many of the guys from my older siblings generation (about 10 years older than me) being in the coal business, but I would estimate that more than half of the males I graduated high school with who remained in the county went into the mines.
Panel on KY's Energy Future - Wendell Berry to participate
“How do we move forward responsibly with coal in our energy portfolio?”
10:30 am Saturday
Heritage Hall at Lexington Convention Center
Free and Open to the Public!
Wendell Berry (WB): University administrators appear to assume that any research that is adequately funded is good. This is questionable. The standards of research now are conventionally specialized. If the research is chemical or technological, then the standards are likely to be merely chemical or technological. Sponsors of research conventionally ask for workable and marketable results; they conventionally have not asked about the ecological, economic, social and cultural effects. The result is a division, also conventional, between the interests of industry and business and the health of ecosystems and human communities. University research in science and technology has tended strongly to benefit industry and business. Colleges of agriculture in land grant universities, for example, have conventionally served agri-industrial corporations, with results that have been ecologically, socially and culturally devastating — and, incidentally, have reduced the farm population almost to disappearance. We should not forget that one of the aims of industrialization, from the first, has been to replace human workers with machines.