"My family, the McCoys, come from eastern Kentucky. I was born and raised in the mountains - they're still in my blood. My father, Mickey McCoy, was mayor of ___ town, once called "Eden" that's how beautiful people thought the land was. In 2000, a coal sludge pond, built for a mountaintop removal site, broke. The flood contaminated 100 miles of streams. Our town's still contaminated
"Over one-third of my home county's mountains are gone because of mountaintiop removal. That should never have happened. And should never happen anywhere else. Together, let's raise New York's voice for justice for all people!" - A M
With love, anything is possible. We learned
that from two of the boldest movements
for social justice in the 20th century: the
Satyagraha struggle against British
colonialism in India, and the civil rights
movement in the United States.
The circle of life in Appalachia is
contrasted daily with a line of death from
mountaintop removal. MTR is slowly
suffocating the region. Already, one writer
has noted that if the Appalachian mountain
chain itself is a living organism, than this
diverse biological organism is severely
wounded. And mountaintop removal is
But the organism can heal, if we act now.
Judy Bonds. Maria Gunnoe. Larry Gibson. These names are synonymous with the voice of Truth, ringing through time taht demands respect for the dignity of all people. Even the poorest. Even those who live in the beautiful, rural mountains of Central Appalachia.
Even those living in the mountains of Southern and Central New York State now threatened by hydrofracking.
Today, you have an opportunity to join your voice with others. New York Loves Mountains is dedicated to leveraging your special gifts and talents to make a difference in how we govern our planet's finite resources, protect personal dignity, and build a better world for generations to come - TODAY.
Have a look around.
We look forward to your partnership with us.
Thank you for your interest, and the difference you make to our lives everyday!
You may have heard about the "decline" of mountaintop removal because of the rise of natural gas. Natural gas is replacing coal, to a limited level, as the fossil fueling our electric generators. But does that mean mountaintop removal is actually in decline?
Unfortunately, no. Unfortunately, the coal industry is likely to be harder pressed economically to dig coal out cheaply to make a profit. And that is likely to mean more large surface mining, like mountaintop removal.
So, we need to create a national ethic, a national consensus that mountaintop removal must end. And to give that movement a shot in the arm, we can begin at home - by declaring New York State a safe zone from unjust energy extraction!
Dear Friend of the Mountains,
We know that nonviolence works. But nonviolence is built upon
a foundation of personal relationships. That means face-to-face
conversations. With you, with other New Yorkers.
How do we get there from here?
Here's our Bold Proposal:
Statewide Steering Committees
Solidarity: Sister City-Sister Mountain Holler Relationships
Dear Friend of the Mountains,
Thank you for your support of New York Loves Mountains! Like many of us, you may hear frequently: “we have to keep the lights on.” We understand the idea, and generally agree. But here is where we differ: we are dedicated to the notion that no individual's or community's life should be sacrificed to generate electricty.
How do you envision New York’s way to a sustainable energy future? The vision we have at New York Loves Mountains is for a New York that is a global, ethical leader in energy policy. No New York ties to, nor subsidies for, mountaintop removal. No sacrifice zones in New York for conducting slick-water horizontal hydrofracking.
We see a day when New York's political and popular clout is used worldwide to influence a globally progressive ethic of sustainable energy production, extraction, and development.
The time to think big and act positively is now. If not us, who?
Anyone who knows me knows that working on a big canvass and acting in a humane way were at the heart of my co-founding New York Loves Mountains with Stephanie Pistello.
Let me share with you just a little of that story.
The Roots of New York Loves Mountains...
It started in 2006. I was drawn from New York City for a road trip through Appalachia with ten friends to perform Tennessee Williams’ play Candles to the Sun. Candles tells the story of a coal mining family in Appalachia whose children struggle to realize their dreams as the prospects of their coal-dependent town dwindle.
We were headed to Louisville, Kentucky, where we lived in a beautiful old house and performed at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. Amazingly, a man who had seen the first production of Candles to the Sun in the 1930’s attended our production. It was a wonderful experience. After returning to New York, we agreed to continue working together.
In the Spring of 2007, we joined an Appalachian coalfield delegation to the United Nations for an event at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem. We performed street theater, and Robert Kennedy, Jr. spoke movingly about America’s covenant with the land. After his talk, I turned to Stephanie Pistello, my theatre company partner, and said: “Mountaintop removal needs to be the subject of our next play.”
In 2008, I began writing a script for that play. We also attended a documentary screening of Mountaintop Removal. It was then that Stephanie stood up in the New York crowd and called for people to form New York Loves Mountains. Twenty five people signed up. We wanted to build a bridge from art to real life, committing our efforts to ending mountaintop removal for the long haul.
That is the story of how I got involved.
Even more important are the reasons I stay, which begin with everyone of you who has attended a concert, followed our work, heard an Appalachian speak of the beautiful, the true, and the good, and more.
I am also grateful that our work is supported by a dedicated team of volunteer leaders, including including filmmaker David Novack, environmentalist Amber Myers, former Congressional aide Rob Jereski, green investment adviser Frank Morris, Appalachian-born singer/songwriter Annalyse McCoy, social worker Sue Rosenberg, and artist-educator Laura Sheinkopf.
However, in today’s climate, an all-volunteer organization faces great constraints.
In the fall of 2011, we decided to expand the capacity of New York Loves Mountains to organize statewide by transitioning from a strictly all-volunteer group to a staffed nonprofit that could boost the contribution of volunteers.
I am pleased to report that today New York Loves Mountains has been granted the fiscal sponsorship of Appalachian Voices, which allows us to raise funds for new programs.
And there’s more.
To sever New York’s connection to mountaintop removal , we are preparing to organize a breakthrough level of solidarity statewide. So let me invite you to learn about the latest, bold developments at New York Loves Mountains.
I also want to invite you to a greater level of involvement.
You Can Make a Breakthrough Difference
First, we are undertaking a pilot program in New York State called "Sister City-Sister Mountain Holler” which will link New York cities and neighborhoods with Appalachian Hollow (pronounced like “Holler”) communities - those communities under direct threat from mountaintop removal.
Second, we are developing steering committees throughout New York State as the backbone
of implementing our solidarity with Appalachia. We will call New York State to global
ethical leadership in energy policy. Volunteers will donate 12 hours a month to training, learning, and public action - all in an atmosphere of adventure and challenge.
Third we are expanding our base statewide of supporters, of volunteers, and of financial donors. We are taking the message of solidarity and justice to a new level by reaching out both to those who know about injustice in the coalfields, and to those who don't - but care deeply enough to make a difference.
Here’s where you can help.
Sister City/Sister Mountain Holler
You can nominate a group where you live to learn about this program. An such group will get to know the people and the culture of Appalachia in a unique way, and lend direct solidarity aid in a great cause of justice.
You can request more information about becoming a member of your city’s or neighborhood’s New York Loves Mountains Steering Committee. This group helps plan strategy, mobilizes others, recruits volunteers, and participates in nonviolent demonstrations.
Connect Us with Your Organization
Do you belong to a church, nonprofit group, or other membership-driven organization that wants to learn about the new struggle for justice in Appalachia? Let us know, and we will arrange a presentation.
Become a Donor
If you want to make a difference in the lives of people of Appalachia; if you want to raise a strong voice for protecting New York communities and our water from unethical energy extraction; if you want to build a breakthrough level of solidarity between New York and Appalachia, I invite you to support us financially.
Your generous gift of $15, $25, $50, or more will go towards a grassroots, on the ground, person-to-person campaign by our Outreach Coordinator, Paul Ciavarri (who co-founded Save America’s Mountains in Rochester) to build the steering committees, connect New Yorkers and Appalachians and sever new York’s connection to mountaintop removal!
Thank you for your support!
For the Love of the Mountains,
P.S. No state outside New York has created this kind of solidarity with Appalachia. Our goal is to inspire other states nationwide to amp up their efforts to confront the coal industry with their flagrant destruction of one of the most beautiful place - and most beautiful cultures - on our blue-green Earth!