|Author Silas House at I Love Mountains Day|
Just a few minutes earlier, author Silas House had rallied a diverse crowd of Kentuckians outside their statehouse for a hopeful future without mountaintop removal mining. House served as keynote speaker for I Love Mountains Day. The Berea College professor and parent related personal stories and shared his frustration, “I get so tired of having to march to protect our water and our children. These are two things we should never have to march or hold rallies for.”
After the event, House was gracious to chat for a few more minutes. We asked him why he spent the time to come out and speak. He replied:
“I was raised in Eastern Kentucky and I know the complexities of coal mining. I know the good parts. I know the fraternity of coal miners and that heritage that binds you together as a culture and all that. But I also grew up above a strip mine and I know what it’s like to not be able to go outside and play without being afraid of blasts, and I know what it’s like for your water supply to be ruined, I know what it’s like for your roads to be destroyed and the taxpayers to have to pay for it. I just think that these corporations are out of control, and they need reigned in. People should have the ear of their politicians instead of corporations. That’s main reason I’m here.”
We asked if an ordinary person can do anything about a topic that looms this big over their lives.
“If we stand up for what we believe in, if we band together, we can do anything. We’re the government, so we just need to do it. The problem is, so many people are doing everything they can to make a living; they’re working two or three jobs, they’re taking care of their families, they don’t have the time to come and speak out or lobby their representatives. So those of us who have a voice of any kind and are able to do that, we should do it. We need to stand up and do that.”
House is author of New York Time's best seller Clay's Quilt and other novels. He co-authored the nonfiction book Something's Rising about the lives of Appalachians affected by mountaintop removal mining.