The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

More Than A Mountain

Living in the mountains of New Hampshire, I have an affinity for all that this environment has to offer. Knowing that, a friend recently sent me a link to a documentary on YouTube – The Last Mountain. The story is one that I’m sure (or hope) you’re familiar with –

In the valleys of Appalachia, a battle is being fought over a mountain. It is a battle with severe consequences that affect every American, regardless of their social status, economic background or where they live. It is a battle that has taken many lives and continues to do so the longer it is waged. It is a battle over protecting our health and environment from the destructive power of Big Coal.

He asked me to post this on my site, to help garner awareness. But I’m not sure just which awareness he was looking to share. You see, to me, this film touches on what’s wrong with America, how we the people choose profit first – over people, from slavery to off-shoring – over nature, from whaling to over hunting/fishing, and over the land, from strip-mining to fracking. We can’t blame the Government for this – we put those people there, and we don’t do anything to change it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting up on my soapbox here to preach for converts (I’ll do that in separate articles). What I want to do is honor my friend’s request to share this with everyone willing to watch. I know it’s a biased film, and all I ask is that you look past that to see what’s really going on. And who it’s happening to. Because, my friend, like a plague sweeping over the land, sooner or later it’ll make it to you.

When I was in my 20’s, I took a trip with my Ex and her brother down to North Carolina to visit my Mother-in-law. We decided to take the “long, toll-free” route that took us through the mountains of Pennsylvania. Awesome country, just absolutely breathtaking, with the little villages nestled in the valleys – just like you see and read about. And as I’m admiring this beautiful country from the highway, we round a wide curve and there it is – literally half the mountain was gone – the front half so pristine and beautiful, and the back half just a pile of leftover rubble – too large (or useless) to break up. Dumped where beauty once lived.

That’s when I understood the phrase “strip mining” and the devastation it causes. That mountain and the land around it can never be rebuilt or reshaped by man. It would take the crushing of the tectonic plates to restore the damage done. And it will always be ugly, because no one will pay the huge costs it would take to make it beautiful again. Especially not those who abused it for personal gain.

I’m lucky – no one wants to “shred” the White Mountains yet. But we too face an enemy – the power companies. Currently there are attempts to deface this beautiful land by cutting a wide swath through them, so that high-tension wires can be run from Canada to Southern New Hampshire – to provide power for Massachusetts. It’s called “The Northern Pass” – and it can kiss my, well you know. And while the inconvenience isn’t like that suffered by the Appalachia folks, the result is the same – the poor will suffer, while the environment gets screwed over, so that the rich can get richer. After all, isnt THAT the American Way?