Coal Tattoo

81-year-old fasting to try to stop mountaintop removal


I’m just back from a quick trip to the Capitol, to check in with 81-year-old Roland Micklem, who this morning began a fast aimed at trying to abolish mountaintop removal coal mining.

There’s more about this at the Climate Ground Zero Web site,  including an open letter in which Micklem writes:

I’m inspired and energized by the young people here at Climate Ground Zero, who at great personal risk are carrying on a campaign to stop mountaintop removal by nonviolent direct action. Despite the awesome challenge of climate change and other threats to the global ecology, there’s a new awakening among people and a renewed commitment to save Mother Earth from the excesses of our own species.

If you’re wondering, Micklem doesn’t plan to get arrested and hauled off by Capitol Police. He’s going to come to the public reception area outside West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s office each morning and leave when that part of the building is closed. He told me:

I’m not out to break any laws. This isn’t a direct action.

But Micklem hopes his fast — and his daily presence at the Capitol for as long as it lasts — will get the attention of government officials. He told me that in 1995 he fasted for 16 days to protest lack of coverage by his local media in the Syracuse, N.Y., area of global warming.

You may recall that Micklem was among those leading the senior citizens march against mountaintop removal, which we covered here and here.