Tag Archives: EPA

Air

I’m not quite sure when it first began, but somewhere around the time when my daughter Claire was in pre-K we began a ritual of saying good morning to the sky as we drove to school. There’s this overpass we come to that presents a wonderful, wide-open view of the sky. From this viewpoint we can see big white billowy clouds, dark rolling storm clouds, or pure blue. It always speaks to me, this feeling of expanse before the busy day begins. And it seems to speak to Claire, too.

Four years later, though not every morning, we still greet the sky out loud in unison when we arrive at the overpass. This morning’s sky was sunny and blue with no clouds. Yet there seemed to be a brownish haze near the horizon that I found unsettling. Was I imagining that it was brown? Was my environmental-contamination-oriented mind making this up? It seemed too present to be a figment of my imagination. Of course, I kept this observation to myself, allowing Claire to solely indulge in the wonder she so deserves.

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No Top on Old Smokey

“Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River…”

When I was in high school in the garden state of New Jersey, it wasn’t exactly cool to be into John Denver. What you listened to behind closed doors was one thing, but out in public you didn’t make a point of letting anyone know about it. Kind of like mountaintop removal.

Mountaintop removal is a jaw-dropping mining technique that few people know much about in this country, and the coal mining industry likes it that way. They don’t want you to know that they have blown up and leveled close to 500 mountains (an area the size of Delaware) in Appalachia, mountains older than the Himalayas – three hundred million years old, in fact. Well, they were, but now they’re dead and gone.    Continue reading