It was only 5 years ago, that a group of Appalachian residents, southeastern Earth First!ers, students, crusty punks, environmentalists and many others came together for the first Mountain Justice Summer (MJS). In the summer of 2005, they traveled around to a number of communities being destroyed by mountaintop removal to offer solidarity and support.
The group seeks to encourage conservation, efficiency, solar and wind energy as alternatives to all forms of surface mining. Mountain Justice also works together to create diverse and sustainable economies in Appalachian regions traditionally dominated by the coal industry by supporting businesses, jobs and ways of living that are not environmentally or culturally destructive and are nourishing to the social and biological fabric of healthy communities.
Mountain Justice also brought non-violent direct action into the anti-mountaintop removal struggle. Since 2005, groups within Mountain Justice have done actions throughout Appalachia. Over 125 have been arrested in actions organized and co-organized by Mountain Justice.
I attended my first Mountain Justice Summer camp in 2006. I’ve been to every summer camp since then and many of the spring break camps as well. A total grassroots organic manifestation, MJS has helped bring about national awareness on the issue of mountaintop removal and created a broad diverse movement to abolish it. In September, Mountain Justice, along with dozens of other groups and thousands of individuals, will converge in Washington D.C. at Appalachia Rising.