“The cover of Mountains of Injustice evokes the coalfields of Central Appalachia but, while mining features prominently, editors Michele Morrone and Geoffrey Buckley have gathered studies that reflect the wider urban and rural Appalachian region…. What is most compelling about this volume are the lessons it offers on the experience of uneven development in US capitalism and its associated spaces of ‘sacrifice’.”
Journal of Historical Geography
“There is no equality among American landscapes: some are sacred, some protected against harm, and some sacrificed. As a result, there is no equality among Americans to the degree that they care about their landscapes, identify with them, and wish to imagine that their children and grandchildren might live there as they have.… But if you love the hills of southern West Virginia or eastern Kentucky, if they form your idea of beauty and rest, your native or chosen image of home, then your love has prepared your heart for breaking.”
Jedediah Purdy, author of The Meaning of Property: Freedom, Community, and the Legal Imagination
“Mountains of Injustice has much to recommend it. It is deep in historical background, rich in case studies and stocked with helpful data. It also takes a broad purview of environmental justice issues in Appalachia, giving as much attention to hazardous waste and facility siting as to coal extraction and clearcutting.”
“As Mountains of Injustice makes clear, people suffer because they lack the power and influence to prevent unfair practices. That is the theme hammered home in the essays by a dozen university scholars, environmental researchers and local activists…. Mountains of Injustice keeps environmentalism focused on people and community….”
National Catholic Reporter
Research in environmental justice reveals that low-income and minority neighborhoods in our nation’s cities are often the preferred sites for landfills, power plants, and polluting factories. Those who live in these sacrifice zones are forced to shoulder the burden of harmful environmental effects so that others can prosper. Mountains of Injustice broadens the discussion from the city to the country by focusing on the legacy of disproportionate environmental health impacts on communities in the Appalachian region, where the costs of cheap energy and cheap goods are actually quite high.
Through compelling stories and interviews with people who are fighting for environmental justice, Mountains of Injustice contributes to the ongoing debate over how to equitably distribute the long-term environmental costs and consequences of economic development.
Laura Allen, Brian Black, Geoffrey L. Buckley, Donald Edward Davis, Wren Kruse, Nancy Irwin Maxwell, Chad Montrie, Michele Morrone, Kathryn Newfont, John Nolt, Jedediah S. Purdy, and Stephen J. Scanlan.
Michele Morrone is an associate professor of environmental health sciences and director of Environmental Studies at Ohio University. Her publications include Sound Science, Junk Policy: Environmental Health and the Decisionmaking Process and Poisons on Our Plates: The Real Food Safety Problem in the United States. More info →
Geoffrey L. Buckley is a professor in the department of geography and the Program in Environmental Studies at Ohio University. He is the author of Extracting Appalachia: Images of the Consolidation Coal Company, 1910–1945 and America’s Conservation Impulse: Saving Trees in the Old Line State. More info →
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Contemporaries were shocked when author Mary Noailles Murfree revealed she was a woman, but modern readers may be more surprised by her cogent discussion of community responses to unwanted development. Effie Waller Smith, an African American woman writing of her love for the Appalachian mountains, wove discussions of women's rights, racial tension, and cultural difference into her Appalachian poetry.
First popular history of Appalachian migration to one community — Ashtabula County, an industrial center in the fabled “best location in the nation.”
Standing Our Ground: Women, Environmental Justice, and the Fight to End Mountaintop Removal examines women’s efforts to end mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia. Mountaintop removal coal mining, which involves demolishing the tops of hills and mountains to provide access to coal seams, is one of the most significant environmental threats in Appalachia, where it is most commonly practiced.
Residents of the Appalachian coalfields share a history and heritage, deep connections to the land, and pride in their own resilience. These same residents are also profoundly divided over the practice of mountaintop mining. Looking beyond the slogans and seemingly irreconcilable differences, however, can reveal deeper causes of conflict.