I just opened a touching email from Mike Harman in West Virginia, thanking us — but really all of you — for taking action to stop mountain top removal. 

Last week, an email went out to 350.org supporters and organizers in the United States to call public officials and demand an end to mountaintop removal mining to protect Coal River Mountain in West Virginia and hundreds of other sites throughout Appalachia. Thousands of you took action and together with our allies we sent over 50,000 messages to the Environmental Protection Agency and other key officials in Washington. And there were actions across Appalachia for October 24, including the one from West Virginia pictured in this post.

Mike wrote: 

Thanks for the latest from the "350.org" crew…re coal issues in West Virginia. My drinking water is from the Coal River (supplying the municipal water system for St. Albans) so I am very concerned about what happens in that watershed, where most coal is mined by mountaintop removal and local well water is being ruined.

And here’s an excerpt from an oped Mike published in the Charlestown Gazette last week: 

Over the past 38 years, I have personally seen what coal mining can do to individuals, in terms of the health impacts, and I have seen what coal mining does for a major portion of southern West Virginia communities. It’s hard for me to understand where coal mining leads to prosperity. Where is that taking place today? Jobs in the coal industry have been steadily on the decline ever since strip mining began to eat into employment in underground mines, and ever since state and federal laws and regulations have been either weakened by politics or ignored by crumbling, understaffed and underfunded enforcement agencies.

Getting to 350 will mean defining a new type of prosperity for communities around the world. We’re proud to be working with people from Appalachia to Albania who are doing just that.