In the last fifty years, the Appalachian Mountains have suffered permanent and profound change due to the expansion of surface coal mining. The irrevocable devastation caused by this practice has forced local citizens to redefine their identities, their connections to global economic forces, their pasts, and their futures. Religion is a key factor in the fierce debate over mountaintop removal; some argue that it violates a divine mandate to protect the earth, while others contend that coal mining is a God-given gift to ensure human prosperity and comfort.
In Religion and Resistance in Appalachia: Faith and the Fight against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining, Joseph D. Witt examines how religious and environmental ethics foster resistance to mountaintop removal coal mining. Drawing on extensive interviews with activists, teachers, preachers, and community leaders, Witt's research offers a fresh analysis of an important and dynamic topic. His study reflects a diversity of denominational perspectives, exploring Catholic and mainline Protestant views of social and environmental justice, evangelical Christian readings of biblical ethics, and Native and nontraditional spiritual traditions. By placing Appalachian resistance to mountaintop removal in a comparative international context, Witt's work also provides new outlooks on the future of the region and its inhabitants. His timely study enhances, challenges, and advances conversations not only about the region, but also about the relationship between religion and environmental activism.
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Joseph D. Witt, assistant professor of religion at Mississippi State University, is a contributor to Grounding Religion: A Field Guide to the Study of Religion and Ecology.
Religion and Resistance in Appalachia: Faith and the Fight against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining captures and interprets the complexities of what is going on - religiously, as well as politically, economically, and socially - among protestors fighting for their homes in Appalachia. Witt's careful study sheds new light on the role of faith in protest, and anyone interested in religious environmentalism should read this book." - Kevin O'Brien, associate professor of Christian ethics at Pacific Lutheran University
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