Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Environmental talk, Thursday, Aug. 23

Antioch College to present scholar on mountaintop coal removal 

Shirley Stewart Burns, author of Bringing Down the Mountains: The Impact of Mountaintop Removal on Southern West Virginia Communities, will also screen the film Coal Country. This event is free and open to the public.

Appalachian scholar Shirley Stewart Burns will speak about the impact of mountaintop removal on Appalachian communities at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, August 23, at Antioch College in McGregor Hall, Room 113.  The event is co-sponsored by the Antioch College Diversity Committee.

Stewart Burns is a guest speaker in the College’s global seminar on energy, one of series of courses at the revived college that addresses critical issues of national and international concern. Her presentation will include a public screening of the feature-length documentary Coal Country, a riveting exploration of the environmental, political, and societal impacts of coal mining in Appalachia.

An open discussion with Stewart Burns will follow the presentation and film screening. The program is free and open to the public. Contact Maya Nye at mnye@antiochcollege.org for information.

She is the author of Bringing Down the Mountains: The Impact of Mountaintop Removal on Southern West Virginia Communities, the first academic book on mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia and is widely considered the most complete look at the topic to date. Stewart Burns’ presentation will cover the complex social, cultural, political, and environmental relationships resulting from the process of mountaintop removal coal mining. 

Stewart Burns is a native of the southern coalfields of Appalachia, where her family has made their living as underground coal miners for generations.  She holds a bachelor’s in news editorial journalism, a master’s degree in social work, and a doctorate in history with an Appalachian focus, all from West Virginia University.  She is also co-editor of essays and books, including Coal Country: Rising Up Against Mountaintop Removal Mining, the companion book to the documentary that tells of the dramatic struggle around the use of coal, which provides over half the electricity in America. Her ballad, Leave Those Mountains Down (Ode to the Mountains), is featured on the Coal Country companion CD along with artists such as Willie Nelson, Ralph Stanley, John Prine, Gillian Welch, Justin Townes Earle, and Natalie Merchant.

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