Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.
Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.
These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.
Take a look at the area around Colcord, WV on maps.google.com. As
you pan around north, south, east, and west - you will see barren areas -
treeless tracks. These are actually the scars left by what used to be
Today coal is being harvested in huge amounts by a process called "mountaintop removal". A small group of employees working for a large corporation come in and using HUGE equipment start taking the mountain down and as they do, remove the coal from the ground.
Why? We need coal. A HUGE portion of our
energy (48.7% according to wikipedia -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_generation) comes from Coal and
until that changes, there will be demand.
Why is mountain top removal bad? It rips apart the landscape in a way that can not be restored. It pollutes the land with by-products and interestingly - it reduces - not increases - jobs in an area that needs jobs! West Virginia has a high unemployment rate and coal mining used to provide a large portion of their jobs. Now that number is drastically decreased because of the "efficiency" of mountaintop removal.
So as a society, every time we turn on a light, we are choosing to allow this destruction to happen - either with, or without our knowledge.
The idea of "clean coal" is an interesting one when it comes to the
burning our output side of the energy equation. But does NOTHING to
address the unclean-ness, the ugliness, the brokeness of this assault on
the land. (Yes, I'm using strong words but what else can you use when
you see these pictures?)
What do to about it? Fortunately, there are many taking a stand but standing up against big business (who rakes in a HUGE profit because of the low number of employees needed!) is a huge challenge.
More in the next post about what we can do to address this "scar upon the land" and at least begin to raise awareness of this complex and politically charged reality.
What are we as a faith community doing to actively support positive interactions with God's creation? How is our use of electricity and detachment from the source a response to God's call to care for the earth? What can we do? Who can we tell? What resources are there? Where is our faith-filled voice?