The Barnard-Columbia Mountain Stewards have been hard at work preparing for our trip to Appalachia, which is now just a couple of weeks away. Earlier tonight we met to go over some additional research concerning coal mining practices and policies. In this meeting, we looked at coal mining practices with a broader geographical focus, extending beyond Appalachia and into the Pacific Northwest, Australia, and China.
There are rising concerns about Australia’s dependency on coal-derived energy. In an op-ed article for The Guardian, Alex White argues “Tony Abbott is turning Australia into a reckless charco-state.” Meanwhile, in China, the pollution problem as become so pervasive that there is a generalized realization that environmentally protective steps must be taken.
Back in the United States, there has been debate about mining practices on the coal seams formed by the erosion of Missouri River tributaries such as the Yellowstone, Powder and Cheyenne rivers. Coal mining in this region is extremely damaging to the natural underwater aquifers, which are immensely important in the maintenance of the region’s ecosystem.
We are planning on using the information we learned from this session to make a children’s book-style ‘zine! This will be a cool and fun way to get both children and adults to engage with important environmental issues. This ‘zine will focus on the story of Nicole the Coal and her whirlwind trip around the world at the hands of the global coal industry.
Us Mountain Stewards have been continuing to fundraise for the trip with letter writing campaigns, dorm storming, and an upcoming bake sale. We are also in the process of finalizing our transportation and housing, so we are all very excited. Look out for us around campus, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated!