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About the book:
The Peace Warrior by Dena Eakles
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Echo Valley Hope, Inc.

June 2012: Time to Change Our Course on Energy

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 the Line."

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 with 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.

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 them.

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 collapses.

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?

Visit and donate to these sites: Coal River Mountain Watch     Keeper of the Mountains    I Love Mountains 
Write to your senators, representatives and the EPA asking them to take care of Appalachian people, land and water, and stop MTR.


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.  

June 15 - 17

Echo 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!

July 7, 11:00 a.m.

The Tillers Bring your family and friends for a fabulous day of bluegrass music in Echo Valley's beautiful outdoor amphitheater.

The Tillers and Mark Utley of Magnolia Mountain return to our stage and we enjoy the Roe Family Singers' Echo Valley debut. 100% of the benefit concert proceeds will go to local food pantries and senior food programs.

Food will be available for purchase.
Please, no dogs, drugs or alcohol.
Bring chairs or blankets.

JULY 2012

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.

Detroit 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 communities.
Visit the website for more information.
Echo Valley will attend this exciting gathering.  

Let Kindness Win

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 another.

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

  • Send a check or money order to
    Echo Valley Hope, Inc., E 14604 County Rd. F, Ontario WI 54651,
  • Donate online securely through PayPal here or
  • Donate on Facebook here.

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