, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
This post originally appreared at Waging Nonviolence. To read the original post, click here.
Anti-mountaintop removal activist Larry Gibson, who passed away last year, saw most of his family’s land on Kayford Mountain in West Virginia razed by the coal industry. (Flickr / Blaine O’Neill)
Two and a half years ago, I arrived home from the last of several trips to West Virginia, where I had gone with a group of 10 fellow Swarthmore College students to witness the impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining. Knowing that our school was invested in this practice that is decimating rural communities — and wanting to support their organizing against it — we decided to ask Swarthmore to divest its stock holdings from fossil fuels. Although we knew that our school wouldn’t have a huge impact on the situation, we hoped our actions would encourage other schools to start similar campaigns — thereby drawing more attention to the daily struggles of people on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction, and possibly even posing a threat to the industry itself.
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