I am livid. Someone vandalized our friend Larry Gibson’s property in West Virginia.
Larry Gibson is an activist fighting coal mining in West Virginia. He lives on his family’s property on Kayford Mountain in Stanley Heirs Park, West Virginia. The mountain all around his property has been mined so that he is now the highest point on the mountain. He has had nooses hung from trees outside his window. They killed his dog. He has people shoot at his house regularly.
This is the email I got from his organization:
This is Larry Gibson with the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation writing you an urgent message,
Recently, between April 23rd and 26th we had a break in at my place and it wasn’t a random break in. They did extensive, extensive damage; stole a bullet proof vest, guns; destroyed at least four cameras on the cabin plus damaged the security system itself, the solar panel and stole $750 worth of batteries that ran the system.
The enormous amount of stuff broken and stolen is too high to be put in this email. But what I’m asking you to do now is to:
—> View & Share This Video of one the burglars captured on our security system and please let us know if you recognize him so we can bring him to justice
—> Make a Donation to help us buy the equipment necessary to make my family’s land on Kayford Mountain in Stanley Heirs Park a better protected, safer place for all of us
This attack is not directly on Larry Gibson, the attack is about the issue at hand. It’s trying to stop people like Larry Gibson and others to fight back. It’s not really directed toward me, if it was the wouldn’t have destroyed my cabin, they would have just come at me. The fact is, they’re fighting the issue their way. We’re fight the issue our way, and we can’t do it without your help.
For those of you that knew about the break-in, and have already donated, thank you for your donations. They are well received.
Those of you that didn’t, and are finding out through this message. Remember we’re fighting to save Appalachia. It’s not mine alone. It’s yours too. You’re not making a donation to Larry Gibson, you making a donation to the issue. So we can fight. When they attack me, they attack you- that’s what they’ve done here. You might not even know it, but you’ve been attacked because of what you believe in, because you’re following the issue of mountaintop removal and coal.
So, those that still believe in what we’re doing as a team, help as much as you can. Stay with us on this. We appreciate you.
Larry Gibson, Keeper of the Mountains
Please make a donation to Larry, now.
This is what the property looks like from his house:
We visited him last year after my arrest at PowerShift:
(Tim DeChristopher, Ashley Anderson, Henia Belalia, Steve Liptay, Flora Bernard, Jake Hanson)
Please make a donation to Larry, now.
Environmental Activist against Mountaintop Removal, 1946–
“You could walk through the forest. You could hear the animals. The woods like to talk to you. You could feel a part of Mother Nature. In other words, everywhere you looked there was life. Now you put me on the same ground where I walked, and the only thing you can feel is the vibration of dynamite or heavy machinery. No life, just dust. They’re doing the same thing to us they done to the Native Americans.”
Appalachia is not a beautiful place simply for visitors, ecologists and those who wish to hike the famous Appalachian Trail. It is home to people who have lived, worked and raised families there for generations. It’s an area rich with forests, birds, fish-filled streams, and coal. Once, mining underground for coal provided many livelihoods for residents of these communities. However, as that traditional form of mining has given way to mountaintop removal, where fewer workers are needed, the economy and the environment of these towns have been permanently damaged. Mountaintop removal uses explosives to slice off the mountaintops. The seams of coal are then extracted and processed, with the waste and toxins dumped into the valleys and streams as “fill.” People like Larry Gibson, who may have never seen himself becoming an activist, are called to bring attention to the tragedy and fight to end it.
Larry Gibson has lived on Kayford Mountain in West Virginia all of his life. The property he owns, a few acres with several small buildings and the family cemetery, is the only green spot amidst a desolate landscape. He refuses to sell to any coal company and leave his home, though his land has rich beds of coal beneath it. This refusal comes at a cost. Miners, told that Gibson’s decision not to sell is an attempt to put them out of work, have shot at his very modest home (where bullet holes are visible as evidence), and set fire to another building. Two of his dogs were killed, and he was run off the road in his truck. The stress of living in these conditions has taken its toll on his marriage; still, he won’t give in, saying, “If I stopped fighting for the land maybe we’d have a chance. But this is my heritage. How can I walk away from that?”
And so he stays, allowing, for more than two decades, thousands of journalists and environmental activists to visit and see first-hand the mining process and the devastation. Seeing his swath of green set against the vast gray wasteland is something coal companies don’t wish outsiders to witness. Gibson also records the growing list of the threats and vandalism against him, and travels the country talking to people about the crisis in the mountains and his own story, working to increase awareness and create change.