Do you have any idea what is happening in West Virginia these days? Check out this sobering slide show featuring the "mountaintop removal" method of coal extraction -- along with several residents turned activists desperately fighting to save their land and their own lives. Be sure to click "captions" on the bottom right to read the devastating details.
To extract large quantities of coal, companies clear-cut forests (sometimes without even harvesting the wood), blast away up to 1,000 vertical feet of rock, fill valleys with mountain rubble, turn headwater streams into chemical spillways, and poison the groundwater. The totals are staggering -- 470 mountaintops blown apart, 800 square miles of forest denuded and leveled, 675 ponds filled with toxic coal sludge. And the government predicts the destruction will triple by 2012, only five years from now.
Are we willing to sacrifice Appalachia -- the land and its people --to sate our appetite for fossil fuels?
John Denver would surely weep.*
* For more about "Take Me Home, Country Roads" -- including the original verse about "naked ladies" -- click here.