In my latest post over on No Unsacred Place, I share the heart-wrenching story of one of the lesser known consequences of mountaintop removal coal mining in the Appalachian mountains: the destruction of centuries-old family cemeteries that have been part of the landscape and the small communities of Appalachia for generations: "Many of the small communities scattered throughout Appalachia, where mountaintop-removal mining has done so much damage already, face the destruction of cemeteries that have been part of the wooded wilderness for centuries, left to become overgrown and sometimes forgotten as younger generations leave the area. These grave sites might not be officially registered or marked on any map, leaving them vulnerable to destruction from mining companies that buy up property and indiscriminately strip the landscape bare in an effort to reach the valuable coal deposits underneath. What minimal laws there are protecting cemeteries only apply to registered sites marked off by a fence and regularly maintained by a caretaker, and the historical value of family cemeteries can be difficult to prove, especially in cases where graves are unmarked or headstones have fallen into disrepair. ..."
In my latest post over at No Unsacred Place, I talk about my mixed reactions to the news of the hydro-fracking spill up in northern Pennsylvania last week, and my struggle to stay grounded in my love for the local landscape as a living, holy presence while I confront the injustices and ignorances that cause such saddening destruction. I also highlight some of the inspiring news coming out of local communities in Pennsylvania, where citizens are standing up against pressure from oil and gas companies and working together to protect the lands they love from harmful development: "Local communities are fighting back, resisting the enormous pressure from gas and oil companies (and the politicians they've financed into office) to take advantage of the Marcellus Shale deposit that lies beneath nearly two-thirds of the state's mountains, forests and fields..."