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News :: Environment & Food

Why Mountain Justice Summer?

Mountain Justice Summer is a call to action and a request for help from the people of the Appalachia mountains for help in saving our mountains, streams, and forest from greedy coal companies. But why are we asking for help? Frankly it's because we are losing. More than 1,000 miles of stream have been buried and destroyed and countless mountains and ridge tops have been blown up–gone for all eternity. Additionally, under the Bush administration laws have been altered to encourage and accelerate the destruction. The price of coal has doubled, and the destruction of our watersheds is accelerating and spreading out like cancer — not slowing down. Our state and federal agencies charged with protecting our environment are dealing out permits to these coal companies like crack dealers on the street corner — the coal is the crack — and the coal companies the addicts that will kill, destroy entire mountain ranges and bury streams in order to get their black fix.
We are losing. And our loss is not only for our own generation but for future generations as well. Where now there are barren, scraped, biologically dead toxic wastelands there used to be water-producing mountains. Water is going to matter more to the future generations more than coal; you cannot drink coal. The Pentagon has predicted than many of the future wars on our planet will not be fought over coal or oil but for water. The lack of clean drinking water is already a global problem for humanity. As our population increases it will only get worse. A mainstay of supermarket shelves across North America is water. The destruction of water-producing mountains is not only a crime of the present but is a very real attack on the future generations; you cannot drink coal.

We cannot afford to continue losing this struggle. A few already rich executives in coal companies are getting wealthier at the expense of us all. The acceleration of mountain top, side and ridge removal is a curse on the future and on present generations. We need your help. But what can you do?

We need help testing streams for their Ph (how acid they are). Many of our streams are as acidic as lemon juice and run bright green from the mine run off. We wish to test as many streams as possible this summer. We need help going door to door listening to folks who live in communities next to these mines. We need photographers and writers to come and document the damage being done and to spread the word. Silence and ignorance are the greatest weapon of these greedy corporate carpetbagging coal companies. We must show America and the world this crime of geologic proportions. We need artists to help us make signs and props for rallies and demonstrations which we will keep and use for years. We need cooks to prepare food, people to go through our towns before tours fliering and postering to increase turn out. We need musicians to learn and create and sing songs of our mountains and the annihilation of entire communities and watersheds. We need scouts with trucks to travel gravel back roads to ID mines and permit sites. We need help. Cooks, geologists, map makers, artist, musicians, drivers — we need you and your help for the summer.

But volunteer with open eyes. Mountain Justice Summer is modeled (loosely) on Mississippi and Redwood summers. In both campaigns the realities of the settings were made explicit to participants. The coal companies we are resisting have a long, bloody, violent history. Our mountains are being blown off with a terrifying amount of explosives. Coal trucks slam down our mountain roads at times forcing school buses off the road. A few months ago a 3 year old child in Appalachia was crushed in his home by a 600 pound boulder. Our forests are diverse and rugged with copperheads, rattlesnakes, yellow jackets and cliffs. electronic newsletter for updates. Fill out our and intake form, and we will contact you to answer your questions. Ask us a lot of questions. We want all the participants to be crystal clear about the on the ground situation. You will know everything we do — no secrets.

Additionally there will be training throughout the summer in safety, security culture, first aid, field survival skills–and at least two week long training camps. The organizers of Mountain Justice Summer are committed to your safety and preparation. There will be risk and the possibility of danger, but we will do everything we can to assure your safety, to provide training to add to your skills, and to communicate with you openly and clearly about the on the ground conditions.

Furthermore, autonomy (taking care of your own physical needs) is key to the summer. Organizers for MJS are securing housing and places to camp for you in the various states where the summer will be happening. We are hosting pizza benefits, spaghetti dinners, keg parties, music benefits, and are in general engaged in systematic grassroots fundraising. We are asking stores up and down our mountains for food donations. We have secured more 1,000 packets of seed and are growing food in over 35 locations now to feed our participants. That said, it is key that the campaign does not drain the resources of the local groups hosting us. Flat out we are poor people fighting multi-billion dollar corporations. Below is a food and gear list. Do fundraisers now, gather food now, get your supplies together now. We cannot support people who come completely unprepared, broke, and unequipped to our camps. We can and will help where we can, but you must prepare for yourself. Proper planning prevents poor performance. Low baggers will be asked to leave; autonomy is key.

Our effort is historical. Loss is unthinkable, for future generations will suffer. Redwood summer and Mississippi summer are in the history books. In the future history books will either report our success or mourn the eternal loss of 200 million year old mountains — the most biologically diverse mountains in the world turned into a toxic parking lot for the greed of an already obscenely wealthy few. Geologic history is already being carved and blown out of our mountains. We must turn the tide before it is to late. We cannot do this alone. We must have help. Not for our organizations, nor for ourselves, but for the mountains, watersheds, and forest which are a legacy for future generations.

If you commit you will get rained on this summer, chewed up by insects, be pretty poor, deal with frustration, and perhaps at times fear. But at the end of the summer your individual efforts combined with the community you will be working with will save mountains, streams, and forest. You will be working with a dedicated group doing meaningful work for the mountains. This we can promise.

Search your soul, ask questions, check out our website, and fill out an intake form. Then ask your guide questions when she contacts you. If after thoughtful reflection and questioning you commit to donating your summer to saving mountains, get ready. Together we are going to kick ass, blow the veil of lies and secrecy off this theft of geologic proportions. Together we are going to kick ass and make these greedy coal executives regret ever trying to steal our national legacy of clean water producing mountains — but only with your help.

For the Mountains
Mountain Justice Information Systems.

Mountain Justice Summer will be about autonomy. We are doing fundraising and gathering food but there is some critical and not so critical gear which will keep you more comfortable through the summer.

If you come, bring food, pack of some sort, sleeping bag, stove, water filter, rain gear (next section), tarps, rope, mess kit, personal medical supplies, money, compass, a phone card, boots, two handkerchiefs, Flashlights, a few candles, lighters, sewing kit etc. We will meet you half way but you need to come prepared.


Oh yes you will be living under the stars in a rainforest at times during this summer. A little preparation can go along way to feeling snug and dry as torrential rains pound the forest floor around you. Two pair of cheap ass waterproof pants, and a military Pancho rain coat, a rain hat, and a dry tent. A small umbrella can be convenient in both the rain and in the hot sun.

Hint on packing: those white bags they give you at grocery stores are your friend. If you chamber your stuff off in different bags as you pack your stuff it will stay drier. Tie them off at the top.


Ticks, chiggers, mosquitos — when we say our region is one of the most biologically diverse spots on earth we mean it! A $3 hat net is a good investment. Of all the bug juices pachouli actually is pretty effective at keeping ticks and mosquitos off.


Fork, spoon, Knife--a small portable stove for your personal uses, iodine tabs are cheap but a water filter taste better. Bring a cheap ass container or two to carry personal liquids in.


Get some boots ASAP if you don't have them now and start breaking them in. I prefer high top boots cause I like the extra support sometimes — plus they can turn a snakebite. Many military stores sell high top jump boots that folks who jump out of airplanes wear. You can get a good pair for round $25 often. They have speed laces and are well balanced for rock hopping. A pair of sandals will be useful as well.


If you get a tent buy some cheap ass seam sealant and seal all the seams both inside and out. An expensive tent isn’t worth a cheap one with sealed seems. Then be real hard corp and seal the seams on your backpack. Then seal the seams on your rain get the picture seam seal everything. You can set up an effective shelter with just tarps and we have tarpologist that will be willing to show you how. A zen kelty tent on the other hand will hold two people, keep the insects off of you, stays really dry — and cost about $100 in campmor. Either way think about your shelter.


Its important that we put as little stress on the host groups resources as possible throughout the summer. We are doing fund-raising in several cities for MJS but you should fund-raise for yourself. Plan on bringing enough cash to feed yourself for every day you are at the camp. Some gas cash would be wise as well.

General stuff we need:

Pick-up trucks, GPS units, PH testing kits, gas money, vans, tarps, medics, field kitchens (a communal kitchen will be set up, but be autonomous), bulk foods, cell phones (oh yes — many of them work on ridge tops — bring your cell phone (though they do cause tumors), digital cameras, walkie talkies, scanners, CB radios, and you of course.

One thing we need people to do is document the damage being done. We need photographers, writers (ESPECIALLY writers), and artist in general. The most important thing we hope to accomplish this summer is make more people aware of the damage that is happening to our mountains. If you have even a basic skill with photography or can write, or sing — we need you.

We need science geeks. This is a call out to all science geeks as well. We need to test as many streams as possible for ph. Plus pre blast and pre mining biological inventory work.

More food*********************

Bulk foods we need list.

N.B. 5-gallon pickle buckets make great storage
devices for bulk foods, the lids can be used as
cutting boards, and they can also hold other stuff.

//Tea//Coffee//Rice//salt/sugar/tvp/beans//peanuts//popcorn//cooking//oil//cocoa powder//chocolate chips//carob//chips//molasses//cereal//granola//sea weed//Ramon
noodles//bread//mustard and ketchup//soy sauce//hot//sauce//honey//brown sugar//oatmeal//jelly//peanut//butter//black eyed peas//nutritional yeast//cornmeal

curry//oregano//salt//ginger//red pepper//garlic//powder//basil//cinnamon

Tofu//Carrots//Onions//apples//cornmeal//ww flour//white death flour//cabbage//corn//tomatoes//juices//greens Turnip, Kale, whatever you can get.

What you can do right now to fight MTR!

Mountainside Coal Company is trying to blow the top off of Eagan Mountain and claim that doing so won't pollute the waters of the state in violation of the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act. Stop them! Request a hearing today!

Additionally, contact Governor Bredesen and tell him to stop the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) from giving permits to out-of-state coal companies like National Coal Company (from Florida) or to any coal company. Make him force TDEC to follow the law and its own regulations. The Tennessee Water Quality Control Act forbids issuing permits for activities that pollute the waters of the state. Mountain top removal blows up the mountains layer by layer, destroying everything that lives in them.

Email: phil.bredesen (at)
Sure, give him a call!
Phone: 615.741.2001
Fax: 615.532.9711
Contact Phil & ask him to do his job.
Governor's Office
Tennessee State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243-0001

TDEC Commissioner Betsy Child: Betsy.Child (at)

Dave Turner: Dave.Turner (at)
Don Owens: Don.Owens (at)
Bredesen: Phil.Bredesen (at)
Alan Leiserson: Alan.Leiserson (at) (TDEC's lawyer)

TDEC homepage
ask.tdec (at)"> (at)
(888) 891-TDEC (8332)
401 Church Street
L & C Annex
1st Floor
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0435
Governor’s office
Tennessee State Capital
Nashville, TN 37243-001

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