We’re starting a new film series and our first showing is Coal Country.
Every third Thursday at the Mockingbird in downtown Staunton we’ll show films on energy, food, and other hot topics to prepare for the economy of the 21st century.
Coal Country is the story of America’s leading energy source and the people and communities in Appalachia who pay the biggest price for our addiction to fossil fuels.
The film is as much a story of people as it is of bad business:
Passions are running high in the mountains of Appalachia. Families and communities are deeply split over what is being done to their land. At issue is the latest form of strip mining called “mountaintop removal,” or MTR. Coal companies blast the tops off mountains, and run the debris into valleys and streams. Then they mine the exposed seams of coal and transport it to processing plants. Coal is mined more cheaply than ever, and America needs coal. But the air and water are filled with chemicals, and an ancient mountain range is disappearing forever.
Coal moves today’s economy just as it powered the world of Charles Dickens and Ulysses S. Grant. Anyone who turns on a light or buys a product made with electricity at any point in its creation or distribution uses coal and the dirtiest of all fossil fuels provides America with about half of our electricity.
In the Appalachians, including parts of southwestern Virginia, a particularly nasty form of strip mining has developed in the last couple decades that has made coal cheaper than ever but with lots of collateral damage — 8 out of 10 coal miners have lost a job since 1950 and coalfield communities have had to endure poisoned water, air, and land, along with other dangers such as floods of toxic waste and even the occasional avalanche.
Coal is an issue for America and the world, but those of us who live in Appalachia have a special connection to coal. Coal Country will help you to see your connection to coal, get you riled up about what the coal companies have done to our mountains, and help inspire you to follow the example of the people in the film who are standing up for their communities and for the future of us all.
Screening of Coal Country
- Thursday, February 18 at 7pm
- Free and open to the public
Afterwards, stay for a short performance by musicians featured in the film’s score. And why not stop by Mockingbird beforehand — doors open at 5:30 — for dinner? The food is great, and it’ll be a chance to meet folks who share your interest in moving beyond fossil fuels and building a better world, starting right here in Staunton and Augusta County.