The woman looked
frightened, and asked me if I thought it could be stopped. I said,
“Yes, if we come together.” She had finally understood that the
notifications she had received in the mail were not about car
transmissions but were from the company putting up high voltage lines
in the state of Wisconsin. They wanted her to come to an open house and
hear about why they were going through her family farm and how
important it is. They wanted her to know about “progress.”
For us at Echo Valley it was the final straw. In case you aren’t aware,
this little piece of paradise called the Driftless Region lies between
La Crosse and Madison and may be the recipient of 170 foot high voltage
lines ( in a 150 foot wide corridor) linking the two cities and
carrying “progress” to Chicago and out East. We will not benefit in any
way from the lines, unless you count loss of tourism as a benefit. By
the way, we have until later this year to “Decline
This, coupled with an up-close and personal tour of mountain top
removal, gave us the kick we were waiting for. Echo
Valley is going solar. We are reducing consumption,
working on solar hot water (on the cheap) and will be feeding our
leftover energy to our local power company in a few short months. We
are doing this because we can no longer bear the implications of the
unconscious waste of energy and the destruction of the earth. And we
are asking you to consider the same. Wherever we live, if we reduced
consumption it would be an amazing start. If we were to demand local
clean energy, we would create local green jobs and stop the
insanity that we are all now a party to. And if we could find a way to
have everyone move toward solar…let’s see, if we reduced the war money,
we could instead buy...hmmm...everyone solar panels.
Just a dream? Well, we are stepping out of the dream and making
reality. As Jimmy Boggs was fond of saying,
“Make a way out of no way.”
There is a need for celebration, for finding one another and for the
task and the art of letting kindness win. I hope you will find
like-mindedness here, and I hope you will take the time to share this
your friends and families – and even those with whom you disagree. We
have incredible technologies giving us the power to communicate and
much more. Now it is up to us to decide our course and how we will
live. I believe it is the time of the heart. I believe it is the time
of good will. I believe it is the time to take back and restore our
Earth. Echo Valley is humming with the vitality of Life and, as always,
you are welcome.
TO COAL RIVER MOUNTAIN, WEST VIRGINIA
by Melody Morrell
In April, a few of
us had the opportunity to stay at Coal River Mountain Watch
volunteer house to learn about coal mining and its effects.
Driving through the
scenic Appalachian country was beautiful. Leaving the highway, our
education began as we saw piles of coal. Nearing the excavating
community, the conveyors stretched across valleys and up mountainsides
and prep plants dotted the roadsides. Local activist Junior Walk
explained that in mountain top removal (MTR) coal mining, the mountain
top is blasted into rubble and then a 20 story machine called a
dragline dumps the "overburden,” the once-thriving mountain top, down
the mountain side, filling the valley below. This exposes the inside of
the mountain which contains coal and heavy metals like cadmium,
selenium, and arsenic. Mountain streams running through the valleys are
polluted by these heavy metals and little or nothing is done to clean
The extracted coal is carried to the prep plant below where it is
cleaned using a mixture of water and toxic chemicals (kept as trade
secret) to wash away heavy metals. The “clean” coal is then trucked
out. The toxic liquid remaining is known as slurry and is four times
heavier than water. The slurry is pumped back up the mountain where it
is deposited into impoundments which function like an earthen dam. The
dams hold billions of gallons of toxic sludge without a liner of any
kind. One slurry impoundment sits above a local school where 200
children plus faculty have an estimated 30 seconds to evacuate if it
We were welcomed to the mountain top home of Larry Gibson, Board
President of Keeper of the Mountains. Larry
refuses to sell his land to the coal company and lives surrounded by
removed mountains. We looked out over what Larry calls Hell's Gate into
a neighboring MTR site that is being “reclaimed” by hydroseed (a mix of
water, fertilizer and invasive green grasses capable of growing in
rock). Animals die when they try to eat it. The scale of the
destruction cannot be explained in words or pictures.
Throughout coal communities, tap water is visibly polluted, fish aren't
safe to eat, trees are dying and humans are suffering cancer,
gastro-intestinal problems and respiratory issues. Adam Hall, Iraq War
veteran and member of Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, told us that
the two jobs for people in his community are coal and the military. At
the rate the mountains are being destroyed, in 10 years there will be
no coal to mine and no sustainable land.
It is my hope that when you read this, you will think about where you
live and what's dear to you, what a gift it is to drink tap water and
to sleep peacefully when it rains. For the Appalachian people, and for
the part we play in the destruction of their lives, isn’t it time we
move toward sustainable, just sources of energy?
We were very honored
to be invited to tell the story of Echo Valley Farm and Echo Valley
Hope by The Prem Rawat Foundation.
You can read Dena’s blog here
and enjoy one of our favorite websites and humanitarian efforts to
bring dignity, peace and prosperity to each individual.
FREE SCREENING OF abUSed: The Postville Raid
June 20, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
On May 12, 2008,
fear rocked the small Iowa town of Postville as US ICE agents made the
raid that shocked the world. In this documentary, Director Luis Argueta
creates a new narrative about immigration by bringing the people of
Postville to us. abUSed allows us to see the people of Postville as our
neighbors and ourselves.
Watch the trailer
for this documentary here:
Echo Valley Hope, McIntosh Memorial Library, St. Mary's Parish Pax
Christi and the Religious Society of Friends sponsor this important
movie at Vernon Memorial Hospital, 507 Main Street in Viroqua,
Community Room 1.
MIDWEST RENEWABLE ENERGY FAIR
June 15 - 17
Valley Hope will once again be at the MREA Fair in Custer, Wisconsin. Come and
see us at our booth and hear Dena Eakles speak in the White Tent at
11:00 a.m. on Saturday. Her topic this year is "There Is Enough." We
look forward to seeing you there!
IS ENOUGH BENEFIT CONCERT
July 7, 11:00 a.m.
Bring your family and friends for a fabulous day of bluegrass music in
Echo Valley's beautiful outdoor amphitheater.
Food will be available for purchase.
Please, no dogs, drugs or alcohol.
chairs or blankets.
Words of Peace Global North
American Tour Prem Rawat will be
doing events in North America in July. His announced schedule is as follows:
July 8 - Toronto, Canada
July 11 - Montreal, Canada
July 15 - Washington, D.C.
July 19 - Chicago, Illinois
He will also speak in Los Angeles, Cal. and Denver, Col., dates to be announced. Watch the Words of Peace website for details.
2012: ReImagine the World, Fight for the Future
July 2 - 14 An
intentional gathering committed to the growth of souls, creating new
vision, opportunity and healthful living within our beloved
Visit the website for more
Echo Valley will attend this exciting gathering.
VALLEY HOPE Let
Echo Valley Hope
needs you. We don’t need a
government grant or corporate sponsorship. We need you to become a
member and to invite your friends. Why? It is time to raise the voice
of peace and it is time for self sufficiency in food and energy
production. It is time for healthy communities and for helping one
Echo Valley Hope is part of a revolution of
understanding and good will that is emerging. We are networking with
creative organizations and individuals holding out for the best for
everyone. Your support is needed to help fund our educational programs,
peace gatherings and to support our financial aid to like-minded
organizations and causes.
Your support is also a signal to those who say peace is not possible
that it is time to think again.
We are the little engine that could and we are fueled by you. We
have set a goal for 680 new members in 2012. We hope you will be one –
and thank you to all who have already become members this year.
Membership is a free-will, tax-deductible donation of $25.00 or
whatever you choose to give.
To make a tax-deductible donation
check or money order to
Echo Valley Hope, Inc., E 14604 County Rd.
F, Ontario WI 54651,