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Excerpt from poem on ecological devastation : Some Things are Hard, These Things are Wrong     Mikaela Curry

“30 times the sludge of the Exxon Valdez spilled 18 years ago into Martin County’s ground, and the Kentucky folks who live there still can’t drink the water that runs brown – because it’s poisoned and it’s dirty, from that mercury and arsenic-laced slurry, left behind by a business that pocketed the gains, while the people left behind have dealt with all the pain.

And in 2008, in Kingston, TN, a busted dam spilled coal ash – another environmental catastrophe. But, under threat of fire, workers were discouraged from their masks, discouraged from protection every time they asked – as their employer said the coal ash was safe enough to eat, and those people needed paychecks, stretching ends to meet.

Those workers now lay dying, those workers now lay dead; but the coal ash that they shoveled has kept on in their stead.

Several million tons were shipped and dumped in Uniontown, Alabama, where the people there now suffer increased disease, distress and asthma. In the poorest, blackest county in that “heart of dixie” state – when “clean-up” mostly means to spread and relocate.

And we all know all the problems that they’ve had up there in Flint, their water full of lead with that yellow-reddish tint – these are just some stories, we all know that there are more.

And the ash is for the power, BUT WHO’S THE POWER FOR? If we’re fleeing from our homes, or we’re poisoned by our wells, or we’re battling the cancers that form within our cells. This system holds us hostage, shows us nothing we can do, keeps us powerless and complicit, even though it isn’t true.

… We are standing at the crossroads of a critical juncture, looking at our system and its failing infrastructure – they try to hold us hostage with a system broken down, but we can change at any point, and there are so many solutions to be found: renewable energy, a green economy transition -elected representatives with ethical positions that understand and value environmental systems/ understanding they’re a value to people everywhere, and our basic human right to clean water, earth and air.

Some things are hard, so many things are wrong-  but together we are capable, unstoppable and strong

 

OP-ED IN LOUISVILLE COURIER JOURNAL (FEBRUARY 2019)

“The RECLAIM Act alone would have brought $1 billion back to coal mining regions in Central Appalachia. But, despite strong outcry from his constituents – including 16 local governments which passed local resolutions urging his support – McConnell did not push for a vote for these programs that would directly benefit his constituents. Despite his enormous influence in Congress, he did nothing. Much like the miners suffering from black lung, he allowed these measures to die without a voice…When McConnell speaks up for coal, it always seems to align with the people profiting in the fossil fuel industry and not the hard- working people he is supposed to represent…With each passing day, Kentuckians are wondering if change can bring us better than what we have, including elected representatives that have a voice for the people. Certainly, we deserve better than a politician who fails to help us in the short term and
loudly undermines long-term solutions. McConnell may be a friend of coal, but he’s no friend to its people.”