I've spent the past week searching for sources of grant money for our neighborhood association. Some of you will remember that MM and I have spearheaded an effort to organize our neighborhood around the concepts of "doing good" in our community. With that mandate, we've taken on a number of projects all of which will require funds and effort. That has led me to explore a whole array of possibilities.
I came across a familiar name: the Annenberg Foundation. I'm sure you've all heard of it. It's often mentioned on NPR. AF funds all manner of significant worthy projects. Curious as to what these would be I followed the search still further until I came to
http://explore.org/#!/videos/player/west-virginia-special (You'll have to cut and paste this one as it doesn't seem to what to link through Blogger. Cutting and pasting works, though.)
The video is compelling. Having driven those very roads (shown in the film), myself, giving kitchen shows "down in the coalfields" I found it to be especially resonant.
The Annenberg Foundation is funding a large chunk of the Marsh Fork Elementary School. Certainly you remember Massey Energy and the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster... Yes. That's the one. Killed 29 miners. April 4, 2012 marked the second anniversary of the explosion. And called into question the possibility of another, potentially lethal implosion of the coal slurry reservoir behind the Marsh Fork Elementary school. For years the Coal River community has been fighting the likes of Massey Energy to get the school moved before 700+ students are killed. With the help of Annenberg Foundation, the community is on its way to a new school in a new location.
Go here for more information:
As I said above, throughout the eight years during which I peddled Pampered Chef, I always made a few trips to the coalfields. There, I met wonderful people, incredibly bonded and supportive of one another--families who welcomed me into their neat-as-a-pin homes with love and caring. Modest neighborhoods populated with equally modest, kind people who love their families and their land. It is, as the film mentions, a "brotherhood" but also--though not mentioned-- a sisterhood, as well. The people all share the burden of the danger they face daily. It's a load carried without question, silently, continuously.
I recommend taking a few moments to watch this documentary--especially if you value human life, quality of living...and more. For me, the poignant message came with mention of the term "collateral damage." People shouldn't have to make abusive choices between life and livlihood for the sake of the profiteers. This is not right. It never has been. But today, there are lots of other ways to get the energy we need, provide respectable, good-paying jobs, and maintain health and happiness.
I encourage you to think about where your electricity comes from and start thinking about creating a more responsible approach. We need a just society in terms of who carries the real burdens and who benefits at no cost to themselves. What right have we to demand others suffer to produce what we take for granted and waste...? We need to be exploring solar, windpower, conservation....it's time to revamp the way we're doing things in this country and demand an end to collateral damage living.