216 pages, illustrations
Research in environmental justice reveals that low-income and minority neighbourhoods in our nation's cities are often the preferred sites for landfills, power plants, and polluting factories. Those who live in these sacrifice zones are forced to shoulder the burden of harmful environmental effects so that others can prosper. Mountains of Injustice broadens the discussion from the city to the country by focusing on the legacy of disproportionate environmental health impacts on communities in the Appalachian region, where the costs of cheap energy and cheap goods are actually quite high.
Through compelling stories and interviews with people who are fighting for environmental justice, Mountains of Injustice contributes to the ongoing debate over how to equitably distribute the long-term environmental costs and consequences of economic development.
"There is no equality among American landscapes: some are sacred, some protected against harm, and some sacrificed. As a result, there is no equality among Americans to the degree that they care about their landscapes, identify with them, and wish to imagine that their children and grandchildren might live there as they have. [...] But if you love the hills of southern West Virginia or eastern Kentucky, if they form your idea of beauty and rest, your native or chosen image of home, then your love has prepared your heart for breaking."
- Jedediah Purdy – author of The Meaning of Property: Freedom, Community, and the Legal Imagination
"The cover of Mountains of Injustice evokes the coalfields of Central Appalachia but, while mining features prominently, editors Michele Morrone and Geoffrey Buckley have gathered studies that reflect the wider urban and rural Appalachian region [...] . What is most compelling about this volume are the lessons it offers on the experience of uneven development in US capitalism and its associated spaces of 'sacrifice'."
- Journal of Historical Geography
"Mountains of Injustice has much to recommend it. It is deep in historical background, rich in case studies and stocked with helpful data. It also takes a broad purview of environmental justice issues in Appalachia, giving as much attention to hazardous waste and facility siting as to coal extraction and clearcutting."
- Environmental Values
"As Mountains of Injustice makes clear, people suffer because they lack the power and influence to prevent unfair practices. That is the theme hammered home in the essays by a dozen university scholars, environmental researchers and local activists [...] . Mountains of Injustice keeps environmentalism focused on people and community [...] ."
- National Catholic Reporter
"What is the true cost of coal? Contributors to this well-documented environmental justice volume pose this question [...] . (C)oal extraction and industrial activities in low-income rural areas also impact the health of residents in a pattern of injustice overlooked in previous studies [...] ."
"The material sandwiched between these weighty essays (by Donald Edward Davis and Jedediah S. Purdy) is notable in that it, too, takes a long, broad, serious view of the context within which the degradation of the Appalachian landscape has occurred."
- Appalachian Heritage
Donald Edward Davis
Introduction: Environmental Justice and Appalachia
Michele Morrone and Geoffrey L. Buckley
Part One. Perspectives
1: The Theoretical Roots and Sociology of Environmental Justice in Appalachia
Stephen J. Scanlan
2: A Legacy of Extraction: Ethics in the Energy Landscape of Appalachia
3: Pollution or Poverty: The Dilemma of Industry in Appalachia
Nancy Irwin Maxwell
Part Two. Citizen Action
4: “We Mean to Stop Them, One Way or Another”: Coal, Power, and the Fight against Strip Mining in Appalachia
5: Commons Environmentalism Mobilized: The Western North Carolina Alliance and the Cut the Clearcutting! Campaign
6: Injustice in the Handling of Nuclear Weapons Waste: The Case of David Witherspoon, Inc.
Part Three. In their Own Words
7: Housewives from Hell: Perspectives on Environmental Justice and Facility Siting
Michele Morrone and Wren Kruse
8: Stories about Mountaintop Removal in the Appalachian Coalfields
Geoffrey L. Buckley and Laura Allen
Afterword: An American Sacrifice Zone
Jedediah S. Purdy
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Michele Morrone is an associate professor of environmental health sciences and director of Environmental Studies at Ohio University, USA. Her publications include Sound Science, Junk Policy: Environmental Health and the Decision-making Process and Poisons on Our Plates: The Real Food Safety Problem in the United States.
Geoffrey L. Buckley is an associate professor in the department of geography and the Program in Environmental Studies at Ohio University, USA. He is the author of Extracting Appalachia: Images of the Consolidation Coal Company, 1910-1945 and America's Conservation Impulse: Saving Trees in the Old Line State.