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Letters by Sarah Vekasi
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November 27, 2012


Dearest friends,
            I woke up this morning to the view of mist covering the New River at Hawk’s Nest State Park in Ansted, West Virginia. I arrived last night after driving all day from visiting family for Thanksgiving, and found it appropriate to be coming home to the place where I first moved when I learned about mountaintop removal coal mining. I love Ansted! And the New River Gorge! What a place. The steep plateaus and ancient river bed are hauntingly beautiful. This region is well worth fighting for, and as you know, what happens here impacts our whole country.
I love doing this work supporting communities and organizers fighting for a more sustainable region; creating the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative over these past three and a half years has been such a journey, and I am grateful to each and every one of you who have been a part of it. Please consider donating today to help the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative thrive going forward. You can make an instant donation through paypal at http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html or send a check or money order to PO Box 1114, Black Mountain, NC 28711. Every donation counts, and is really appreciated.
            Today begins a three day meeting with the Alliance for Appalachia where we will debate and continue to work on a national legislative strategy, among other tasks, for ending mountaintop removal coal mining and supporting a just and sustainable Appalachia.  So much of the work comes down to the discussions at meetings, the seemingly endless conference calls, google docs, lobbying, organizing, and actions – and you know what? It is all getting somewhere! Recently Patriot Coal announced that they are ceasing all mountaintop removal mining practices – not because it isn’t profitable, but because of the “unreasonably high cost to communities.” Larry Gibson would smile and say, okay – now for all the other companies too. We need serious support with economic transition and environmental health recovery throughout this region and ending mountaintop removal coal mining is a vital step in the right direction.
            As an eco-chaplain, I pay more attention to the hearts and minds of the people I work for, and what I continue to see is a courage of the most noble kind – the strength of character to stand up for something bigger than oneself, and put up with enormous pressure to give up. To all of you mountain-huggers: thank you so much!
            The Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative is all donation run, and your financial support helps me continue offering a listening ear, a confidential session, mediation and conflict transformation facilitation and teaching, mentoring, facilitation and more throughout the region. Thank-you so much! To make a donation today, please go to http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html or send a check to the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative, PO Box 1114, Black Mountain, NC 28711.
Love and Solidarity,

Pottery: www.sarahsunshinepottery.com