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Unlucky Kentucky

Eric Sales | Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kentucky: Home to KFC, the Kentucky Derby, and coal.

Instead of flying home for fall break to my beloved Golden State of California, which is currently up in flames, I ventured into the Kentucky landscape, which continues to be bombed by greedy coal mining companies.

I, along with 11 other environmentally conscious Notre Dame students, participated in the Appalachia Seminar there. We picked up litter, farmed, created a wetland and, most importantly, witnessed the devastating effects of mountaintop removal (MTR).

MTR is a cheaper, more efficient form of mining compared to underground mining.

The process involves blasting away the tops of mountains to obtain coal for energy consumption. Unfortunately, MTR results in the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains and the burial and contamination of thousands of streams, making life a living hell for the Appalachian community.

As one Kentuckian student claimed, “Kentucky is being scarred like acne does to the face of a teen.”

Furthermore, the federal government has recently proposed legalizing the continuance of the coal companies’ evil mining ways.

What it comes down to is money and greed over health and our environment.

Enough is enough. What could we possibly do on campus to help not just the people of Kentucky but all of Appalachia as well?

Plenty.

Turn off your lights when not in use.

Use daylight as a source of light.

Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Unplug your chargers when not in use.

Take quicker showers.

Set your computer to sleep and hibernation modes.

Reduce the brightness of your computer screen.

Less TV and video games. More studying, praying and sports. (I think we got this one down already.)

Recycle.

It makes me angry when I see endless beer bottles in the garbage bin every Saturday and Sunday morning from a night of partying.

Notre Dame has just moved to single stream recycling, making it possible for us to put all recyclables in one container.

Use it.

You may be wondering how this will benefit the people of Kentucky. It may not do it directly but it will decrease our energy consumption, resulting in a reduction of Notre Dame’s reliance on coal.

Yes, it’s true, Notre Dame uses coal.

If you really care, go to www.700mountains.org. Educate yourself on the coal mining issue and write to oppose destructive coal mining practices.

To my Appalachia group, V1, Deb, Father Jack, everyone at the Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest and to the rest of America: It is my hope that Notre Dame students will take the above necessary steps to ensure the future of our country.

To the students of Notre Dame: Please adhere to my suggestions to reduce our energy consumption. Hopefully then will the luck of the Irish rub off onto the unlucky Bluegrass state of Kentucky.