People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Enviro-Badasses In Training

This (from the Roanoke Times on Friday) is amusing:

Security is watchword at group's camp

Workshops included how to send coded messages and what to use when you surveil.

By Tim Thornton

PIPESTEM, W.Va. - They were sitting around a campfire singing Woody Guthrie songs when someone walked in from the dark.

Be mindful of what you say, he cautioned. There may be someone listening from just beyond the tree line. John Johnson, a member of Katuah Earth First!, raised an imaginary glass in his right hand and offered a profane toast to FBI agents and their listening devices.

For the second night in a row, the Mountain Justice Summer training camp's security detail had discovered someone in the West Virginia woods. At least, they'd heard someone. Members of one posse said they'd seen an intruder's eyes reflected by light the night before, but no one was caught.

Upon reflection during the camp's morning meeting, the consensus was that the watchers probably weren't FBI or any other kind of law enforcement. They travel in groups, the reasoning went, and each near intrusion had been by one person. Maybe it was a coal company hireling. (link)

I wonder what the "Mountain Justice Summer" snake-oil salesmen charged this bunch of nubile virgins and lice-infested enviro-warriors for bringing them out into the woods and scaring the crap out of them. Whatever it cost, it sounds like the performance was worth every dime of it. Listening devices and FBI indeed.

So what was the purpose of this gathering of mother earth's guardian angels? Well, we don't really know. The only hint provided by the reporter is this:
Workshops included how to send coded messages without software and what to use when you go surveilling.
Let's see. These young, impressionable idealists were brought into the wilds of southeastern West Virginia, given secret decoder rings, and were taught how to use CB radios and binoculars. That had to take up all of fifteen minutes. Are you telling me they spent the rest of the time singing Woody Guthrie songs?

Or were they allowed to wander the woods searching out spying FBI agents and evil coal executives as well?

And were they issued wooden swords and paper pirate hats to enhance the ambience?

And what happened when their mothers called and said it was time to come home for supper?

Good grief.

In Case You're Wondering ...

As for "Mountain Justice Summer," (see previous post) you may be interested in visiting their website. Yes, they caution those who pay dearly for lessons in environmental espionage how not to divulge their secret communications, and then they publish them for the world to see on their own (professionally designed) website. Click here to see what your college tuition dollars are paying for these days.

Their worldview is encapsulated with this:
There is a manmade ecological disaster of geologic proportions occurring in the rolling mountains of the southern Appalachians; its called mountain range -- or Mountain Top Removal (MTR) mining. It is the ultimate in theft of a people's heritage -- the destruction of watersheds -- and the annihilation of one of the most diverse places on earth.

Just so you know, these folks are referring to uninhabited, uninhabitable stretches of the most God-forsaken landscape this side of the Gobi Desert. It's a geologic area that has never produced anything for "a people's heritage" other than disease, starvation, third-world infant mortality rates, abject poverty, and the expectation of an early death. If there is a "heritage," passed down by the generations with regard to Appalachia it is spoken of warmly only amongst the emigrant population who abandoned the area in order to seek a better way of life up north.

Yeah, they love them mountains up in Manhattan, twice a year when they fly over them on their way to Cancun.

I invite everyone to drive over to Pipestem and absorb the "heritage." You'll not see many internet cafes or wine-tasting luncheons. I can't remember the last time they had a couturier launch a Spring line of fashionware from there. The only event that comes close is when they redesign the menu at the Bluestone Cafe over in Hinton.

What we in the area have going for us are the following;
  • Rocks
  • Trees
  • Coal

Oh, and we seem to get more than our share of college students who want to drive down here once a year to decry our attempts at harvesting any one of the three. Funny, I can't find on the "Mountain Justice Summer" website any mention of the environmental impact of colleges around the country slaughtering trees in order to produce books that these eco-warriors may or may not ever read. But that may be off-point.

Look, we intend to reserve several mountains for you environmentalists to worship - and then pee on.

But the many abandoned homes and businesses in the area cry out for entrepreneurs to step up and try to scratch a living out of retrieving all those trees and rocks and that coal, and in the course of things, maybe hire a few of the natives who aren't as fortunate as our beloved eco-soap opera-stars and starlets, and who haven't packed their bags and moved to Chicago - yet.

Let them howl. And sing their Woody Guthrie songs. And go back to Starbucks so they can log on and relate their experiences (the outrage, the shock, the sorrow) to their like-minded brethren back in Boston.

Most folks around here just pray for the day when the drinking water doesn't have human waste floating in it.

Something Else To Worry About

Here's a good reason to give up smoking:

Man Sues for $10 Million in West Virginia Toilet Explosion

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- A man who says he was severely burned when a portable toilet exploded after he sat down and lit a cigarette is suing a general contractor and a coal company, accusing them of negligence.

John Jenkins, 53, and his wife, Ramona Jenkins, 35, of Brave, Pa., filed the suite Tuesday in county circuit court seeking $10 million in damages from Chisler Inc. and Eastern Associated Coal Corp.

The lawsuit claims Jenkins' face, neck, arms, torso and legs were severely burned last July after the cigarette ignited methane gas leaking from a pipe underneath the toilet unit.

''When I struck the lighter, the whole thing just detonated - the whole top blew off,'' said Jenkins, a methane power plant operator with North West Fuels Development Inc. ''I can't tell you if it blew me out the door or if I jumped out.'' (link)

The visual that this conjures is enough to ruin my breakfast.


Today is shaping up as Focus on the Environment Day it seems. First there's the story about environmental badasses over in West Virginia learning how to be really sinister. Then the methane-gas-leak-in-the-pooper story. And now this:
Warning From Gore on Future
Global Warming Called an Emergency
Celia M. Vega, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

When former Vice President Al Gore gave a long list of doom-and- gloom statistics Saturday about global warming -- warning people that rising sea levels could drown out parts of Florida, Louisiana and Manhattan -- there were no loud gasps or headshakes of disbelief from a roomful of Bay Area environmentalists.

At the World Environment Day conference in San Francisco -- a five-day U. N. gathering dedicated to adopting sound environmental practices for urban centers -- he was preaching to the choir. (link)
As everyone knows by now, Al Gore is incapable of opening his mouth these days without saying something stupid. Like the court jester of olde, that's why he's invited to the gig. And he didn't disappoint.

In 15 years, Gore said, there will be no more glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro. As for Glacier National Park in Montana, he said, "Within 20 years, this is the park that will be formerly known as Glacier." And the Rhone Glacier in Switzerland "is almost completely gone," he said.

He showed photos of rapidly melting glaciers in Antarctica and said that if half of Greenland and half of west Antarctica melted away, it would have a devastating effect on rising sea levels. Parts of Florida would be covered in water, he said. New Orleans would be virtually nonexistent and the future World Trade Center memorial in New York would be under water.

The World Trade Center will be under water. That's cute. But stupid just the same.

Here's what Al Gore and his travelling freak show choose to ignore:

Glaciers have been receding from the North American continent since the last day their northerly surge swept down from the Arctic. In other words, for thousands of years. As for "rapidly melting glaciers in Antarctica," scientists (I hate to bring knowledgeable people into this but it's important) have shown that, while some ice in Antarctica is thinning (or "melting"; it scares better), the ice mass in other parts of the region is enlarging. Expanding. Growing.

And a significant body of research is beginning to prove "global warming theory" to be the fallacy that it is.

Al Gore hasn't gained the nickname "Crazy Al" for no good reason. With each passing day, he, along with the rest of the paranoid, whacked out, drugged up environmental movement, is getting ever more looney. And truly comical.

Keep up the good work, Crazy Al.