Mountaintop removal provides Appalachian coal to Europe

coal train in the snow

Mika Minio-Paluello, Anna Galkina and James Marriott are travelling in North America as part of a tour over September and October to promote The Oil Road – Journeys from the Caspian to the City of London. You can find more info about their confirmed speaking dates in Virginia, the Bay Area, Toronto, Baltimore and Washington DC, New Orleans and New York here. James Marriott writes the article … [Read more...]

Energy and presidential politics

Mitt Romney & Va Gov Bob McDonnell as "Friends of Coal"

We found out the hard way when my husband Erik ran for the Virginia state legislature* that too often issues within states and localities are drowned out by the political noise blared out across the nation by the Washington news  media. (Transition Voice readers will know Erik as our publisher). It was 2009, and on the local campaign trail, almost all Erik ever heard, besides concerns about … [Read more...]

How the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street differ

Free market

When the Tea Party came along, clamoring to "take back our government," all dressed in the resonant and nostalgic regalia of our founding revolution, it was an intriguing moment in national politics. Sadly, the more the Tea Party called for such aims, the more it exclusively targeted Democrats, Liberals, Progressives and an alleged "big nanny government," while caring nothing for the issue of … [Read more...]

The overburden: Review of “The Last Mountain”


"Coal River Mountain is our last mountain in the Coal River Valley that hasn't been blasted to ashes." -- Bo Webb, a military veteran, coalminer’s son, and former tool-and-die shop owner in Cleveland who moved back to his family home in the Coal River Valley of West Virginia For the past twenty months or so I've curated The Local Motion Film Series for our area's Transition group, Transition … [Read more...]

The U.S. fatso after a miracle diet of renewables

monster truck

Almost every day on the way to campus I watch all kinds of monster trucks overtaking my small diesel engine-powered car.  The drivers look down at me with amusement and proudly roar from all of their eight monster cylinders, spewing their monster exhaust fumes.  All these dinosaurs on wheels usually carry one person, who is not getting anywhere any faster than I do.  They do burn, however, … [Read more...]

Nukes are scary, but don’t forget coal

death rate per watts chart

With all the focus on the situation in Japan, it's easy to forget that global society's biggest source of electric power, good old fashioned coal, is pretty dangerous stuff. And with the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon spill coming up next month, we should remember that oil's pretty dangerous too. Marketing guru Seth Godin turns data on deaths-per-terawatt of energy produced into an … [Read more...]

The end of nuclear and its timing

nuclear Obama

Three days before the Fukushima nuclear power explosion, I made a comment on a peace activist's Facebook page: "I believe a successful, final anti-nuke campaign will only take place in one of two ways: 1) collapse puts the entire infrastructure of industry and consumption out of business, forcing the survivors to minimally babysit the nukes forever, or, 2) there's an accident or deliberate … [Read more...]

Polluters vs. the people

Vintage shot of underground coal miners

Guest column by climatologist Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. We hold this truth to be self evident – all people are created equal. That truth is the basis for equal protection of the laws – a right guaranteed by our Constitution. "All people" includes young people, mountain people, poor people. Our government was instituted to protect the … [Read more...]