Friday, 6 June 2008

Expert Sources

Dawson, Tyler. Senior Political Science Student, Ohio University.

Tyler Dawson is a senior political science, environmental, and women's studies major at Ohio University. He has been an active crusader for the environment all throughout his college career, becoming involved in the Sierra Coalition and Green Network. He also lived for two years in Ohio University's Eco-House where he made drastic changes to his lifestyle to promote environmental sustainability and justice. More specifically, Tyler mainly worked with the mountaintop removal in his involvement in the Sierra Coalition, when he made his rounds to all of the major Appalachian locations where mountaintop removal was taking place. After his first-hand exposure to the death of these mountains and talking to the people who were being directly affected, Tyler knew he could never take a passive role with the issue of mountaintop removal ever again. With the Sierra Coalition, Tyler was able to work at the grassroots level in stopping mountaintop removal through protests, working with the Appalachian residents, and hosting informational panels/discussions for students on campus and Athens residents. Tyler would be a great resource for researchers because not only is he a very knowledgeable, friendly, and personable guy, but he has a true passion in what he has experienced and studied in college- mountaintop removal having a big part of his college life. Tyler has worked with very active and credible organizations dealing with mountaintop removal, and through his research and first-hand work, has gained a knowledge that surpasses the everyday activist in the topic.

Reece, Erik. Professor of Environmental Studies and Literature, University of Kentucky, Author of Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness Radical Strip Mining  and the Devastation of Appalachia.

Erik Reece is one of America's leading environmental journalists today covering the mountaintop removal issue. A professor at the University of Kentucky for environmental journalism classes, his career in reporting the destruction of mountaintop removal began after it moved to the mountains of Kentucky and started affecting his homeland. He decided to investigate one particular mountain in Kentucky, Lost Mountain, and chronicled the year he spent witnessing and researching the decimation and eventual death of this mountain. His testimony was published as "Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia." Erik has also spent time traveling to universities within the Appalachian area, speaking about his experience in the strip mines and the devastation of mountaintop removal. Erik would be a first choice source for a researcher because he has had personal, professional, and academic training and experience in mountaintop removal. Because the practice devastated his homeland, he has experienced the emotional part of it, his career in journalism has allowed him to investigate the issue from both sides, and his school background in environmental studies has provided the knowledge needed to research in the field.

Lewis, Ronald. House of Representatives, Member, Author of Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia. 

Ronald Lewis has been a House of Representatives member for the state of Kentucky since 1994. He also wrote the book "Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia." The book examined the transformation of Appalachia from a rural agricultural society to a twentieth century society that lacks the forest's natural resources and is fully enmeshed in capitalism and the markets. Lewis details the development of the coal and lumber industries from small, local businesses to powerful industries that are now controlled from afar. The book features a chapter dedicated to the legal system in West Virginia and how industries, like the coal companies, have taken advantage of laws in place regarding the land. This book would be useful to a researcher because it's a very well-researched and very factual account of Appalachia's growth from it's original abundance in natural resources to it's exploitation by the coal industry today. The book looks at the mountaintop removal issue from more of a theoretical and analytical perspective of West Virginia's history as a whole.

Goodell, Jeff. Contributing Editor, Rolling Stones and New York Times, Author of "Big Coal."

Jeff Goodell is a contributing editor at the Rolling Stones and frequent contributor for the New York Times. His major accomplishment is writing his book "Big Coal." This book is Goodell's outraged account of the catastrophic 2002 flooding of a mine in Quecreek, Pennsylvania, run by PBS Coals. The story follows two of the nine mine workers that survived. The book also touches on all aspects of the coal industry's hunt for more coal. It includes discussion on mountaintop removal and covers mainly how the aftereffects of the practice devastates the people who live in the area through contaminated water and layers of dirt and dust. This book would be useful to a researcher because it relates mountaintop removal to even more drastic and fatal consequences. Not only does the practice lead to the death of mountains, but to the death of people as well. Mining for coal has lead to the death of mine workers, and the aftermath of mountaintop removal has lead to a diminished quality of life for residents. A researcher can see how the practice affects many different people and on different levels, and how realizing those effects can invite a whole other spectrum of issues with mountaintop removal. 

Montrie, Chad. Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell History Dept, Author of To Save the Land and the People.

Chad Montrie teaches environmental history classes at the University of Massachusetts and published his first book, To Save the Land and the People after becoming heavily involved with research in mountaintop removal. The book reminds readers of the war waged by citizens of Appalachia in protecting their farms and communities from the coal industry. The book begins with an examination of the coal industry's force and influence in the region and then relays all of the technological developments that have taken place over the years to allow the coal industry's entrance into the land. The bulk of the book's information lies in the fight of local activists in banning strip mine operations at the state-wide level. The book divides its coverage of local opposition by location and how each state involved has participated in the battle. This book would be useful to a researcher because it shows how each level of campaigning/protesting works; from a grassroots level to the statewide level. A researcher might be interested to know how environmental issues have been addressed at each level and where progress most frequently happens. Knowing how response is delegated at every level of initiating change can reveal a lot about whether the issue is worth fighting for/deserves as much attention/is a problem the whole world should be concerned about/when or how change will be affected.

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