Today is National Coal Ash Action Day, as reminds us — see the information there on what you can do about it. Meanwhile, Climate Ground Zero reports on a fascinating case unfolding in West Virginia’s coal country, where tree sitters have halted blasting of a mountaintop by Massey Coal company.

Climate justice folks have taken the old growth forest protection movement’s most direct form of direct action to a place where it’s clearly about justice, not just trees (as so many have documented, and as Google Earth provides plenty of photographic evidence of). A petition to halt the blasting can be found here. (And reading the comments can be a blast as well.)

One of the things I like about that video, incidentally (and ironically), is that it sounds like a piece of ambient drone music by someone like Nurse With Wound or Zoviet France being performed as if it were one of R. Murray Schafer’s outdoor concerts, on location where it counts. Except that here the horns are being played by real live mining company truckers. And what becomes clear here is that music can be dangerous — a force of violence, not merely to oneself (when subjecting one’s eardrums willingly) but to others. Like a lot of art that comments on atrocity, however, the sonic blasting is only a prelude to the physical blasting that awaits the landscape, or a kind of homeopathic substitute for it if the tree sitters succeed in stopping it from getting to the more destructively physical stage.

Meanwhile, President Obama, despite all the good things in his speech last night (which I generally liked a lot, and which helped renew the feelings of admiration I’ve had for him all along), worryingly continues to dither on the energy issue, speaking not only of “clean coal” as if it actually existed but of off-shore drilling and a whole “new generation” of nuclear plants, and not even mentioning sustainable energy once in a speech that should have been a programmatic reframing of reality. I understand (as I think one of the MSNBC commentators mentioned last night) that he was aiming, in part, to take the wind out of any possible response by Virginia’s governor, who gave the Republication response afterward. But please, we need more pressure on the folks in Washington…

Here’s an interesting piece on the use of GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps to disclose the reality of the 450+ mountaintops removed to access coal deposits in the United States:

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