Looking to the Future in Appalachia and Beyond
By 2016 much had changed in the anti–mountaintop removal movement from the intense actions of the summer of 2009. Sadly, prominent activists and leaders, such as Judy Bonds, Larry Gibson, and Sid Moye, passed away, leaving others to carry on their legacies as advocates for Appalachian environments and people. Local coal supporters continued to decry the “war on coal” that they perceived to be costing their jobs and livelihoods, and opponents continued to find new avenues by which to resist the practice. While the direct impacts of resistance to the coal industry during this time period remained unclear, the movement nonetheless presented alternatives to the global economic forces that perpetuated mountaintop removal. For some like Larry Gibson, a solution to these extractive industries entailed seeing the values in life, place, and labor that transcend utilitarian economic perspectives. As he said in a 2009 interview, “Try to understand, even in your lifetime you’re going to have to find what’s important to you, and money should not be able to buy everything.” In their work ...
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