New York Loves Mountains, founded in 2008, is an independent, volunteer-run organization devoted to raising awareness about mountaintop removal coal mining and to helping New Yorkers break our connection to one of America’s dirtiest forms of energy. Only a small percentage of NY’s electricity comes from mountaintop removal coal – an amount easily replaced by renewable energies. We believe a commitment to ban the purchase of mountaintop removal coal in New York state would be both a realistic and powerfully symbolic action. We are fiscally sponsored by North Carolina-based Appalachian Voices.
New York Loves Mountains has hosted several events including two New York Loves Mountain Festivals which have brought Appalachian activists and artists together with New York citizens, activists and artists to raise awareness and funds for non-profits throughout Appalachia working to end mountaintop removal. In the summer of 2010, we began a divestment campaign asking the New York State Retirement Fund to divest from Massey Energy, one of the primary perpetrators of mountaintop removal. Massey was purchased by Alpha Natural Resources in June 2011 and we’re currently revamping the campaign to address this new ownership.
New initiatives, actions and events can be proposed and led by any one of our eight members with all other members being invited to assist. We aim to be a conscientious, consistent voice in the movement for eco-justice.
Regional Coordinator, August 2013-Present
Statewide Outreach Coordinator and Executive Director, Nov 2011 - July 2013
Paul Ciavarri is co-founder of Save America's Mountains, a volunteer nonprofit in Monroe County that conducts educational presentations about mountaintop removal and has opened a space for public dialogue around in the issue in Western New York.
He first became aware of mountaintop removal in 2005 from a magazine article about Judy Bonds and he deeply felt the anguish in Judy's voice related to the wholesale destruction of the land. In 2006, he visited Kayford Mountain for the first time, where he observed the vast mountaintop removal site and met the irrespresible Larry Gibson. In 2007, spurred on by Larry, he coordinated a visit by Judy Bonds to Rochester, NY. Her visit led to the founding of Save America's Mountains, a committee to raise awareness about mountaintop removal, formed with friends moved by Judy's presentation.
Since then, he has participated in Appalachia Rising in DC (2010), and the March for Blair Mountain (2011). He is a veteran of union organizing campaigns with the United Farm Workers of America and the American Federation of Teachers.
President, Board of Directors
Laura Sheinkopf became involved with NYLM after discovering the organization in a serendipitous moment, in 2008. Her passions for environmental justice, community empowerment, creative activism, and sustainability education have since drawn her deeply into the movements to protect our mountains, land and water from MTR and fracking. She was engaged in research, activism, teaching, and community work in Brooklyn, NY for several years, before recently relocating. Laura is currently working as an elementary-school teacher at a progressive school in New Haven, Connecticut. She has a background in Geography, and an interest in cultivating personal and collective responsibility for environmental welfare through creative engagement with our surroundings.
Member, Board of Directors
Sarah Moon is the Co-founder of New York Loves Mountains. She is an educator, writer and environmental activist currently pursuing a PhD in English Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Connecticut. Her play with music on environmental themes, Tauris, won Best New Musical or Play with Music at the 2013 Planet Connections Festivity in New York City. A former Brooklynite and CUNY employee, she stays connected to NY through frequent trips to the city.
Member, Board of Directors
David Novack created the documentary Burning the Future: Coal in America which has aired on Sundance Channel and earned top awards at numerous festivals around the world. In 2008, Burning the Future earned the prestigious IDA Pare Lorentz Award for Social Documentary Filmmaking and the Society of Environmental Journalism’s first place for in-depth reporting. It was recently selected by the State Department for the internationally touring American Documentary Showcase. David is currently directing Climate Chess, a film about the youth movement against climate change. He is also blogging on environmental issues for the Huffington Post and at www.burningthefuture.org.
Amber Gayle Myers is a native West Virginian now living in Brooklyn, New York. She is an activist with a background in non-profit fundraising and in 2010 helped to coordinate Wild & Wonderful: A celebration of West Virginia in Brooklyn, a West Virginia Day event to benefit the families and communities affected by the Upper Big Branch mining disaster. She is interested in social equity and economic viability and in trying to find a sustainable balance between the economy of industrial communities (both urban and rural) and the health and well-being of the surrounding people and environment. She is currently working on a master’s degree in Environmental Systems Management from Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture: Programs for Sustainable Planning & Development, and hopes to establish meaningful ways to interpret and apply concepts of urban sustainability to more rural communities throughout Appalachia.
Sue Rosenberg lives in the Hudson Valley in NY at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains (the "Northern Appalachians") and in the last few years has spent time in southern WV where her son works to end Mountaintop Removal Mining. She is a retired social worker who has worked in community mental health her whole career and has always been active in issues of peace and social justice. At this time, she feels that the fight for environmental justice and to stop climate change is crucial if we are to survive.
Stephanie Pistello is Co-founder of New York Loves Mountains. She is an actress/director/producer originally from the coalfields of Virginia and raised in Kentucky. She has a passion for bringing together urban and rural communities over common issues of social and environmental justice, and is dedicated to creatively spreading her love of the Appalachian landscape and culture to everyone she meets. In addition to creating live arts events with NYLM and The Coal Free Future Project, Stephanie has spent countless hours in Washington D.C. lobbying Congress and the Obama Administration on behalf of The Alliance for Appalachia and Appalachian Voices, pushing for the abolishment of mountaintop removal coal mining and the creation of a more diversified, sustainable economy in Appalachia. Currently residing near a section of the Appalachian Trail just outside of Charlottesville, VA, Stephanie makes regular trips to New York City for work and play.
Annalyse McCoy is a singer/songwriter/actress from Inez, Kentucky, and currently resides in New York City. A product of the mountains, she is descended from the line of McCoys who feuded with the Hatfields. Over twenty-five percent of her home county in Eastern Kentucky has been leveled by strip mining and mountaintop removal. Annalyse has decided to fight in a different way from her ancestors; to her, the microphone is mightier than the sword. She has a long history of performing, spanning the range from musical theatre and plays to singing and playing country, folk, & rock music. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre at Northern Kentucky University. Annalyse is an original member of NYC-based metrobilly band 2/3 Goat, with whom she developed the anti-mountaintop removal song, “Stream of Conscience.” Annalyse and 2/3 Goat are on the scene whenever and wherever they can be to speak out against the devastation of the land and the people that she still calls home. http://twothirdsgoat.com
Frank Morris runs a NYS Registered Investment Advisory, specializing in green investing, www.ecologicadvisors.us . He has trademarked the Earth Index of public companies that provide solutions to environmental pollution. Frank is a member of the executive committee of NYS Sierra Club, and is politically active on Long Island.