Liz Judge's Blog Posts

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Liz Judge's blog


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S BLOG

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

Liz Judge is the Media Director. She is also creator of our Mountain Heroes campaign, which chronicles the stories of courageous and inspirational people who are standing up against the most extreme and destructive form of mining. Though she lives in California, Liz is a Cleveland native and will always feel a kinship to Midwesterners (and their indulgent casseroles). When not fighting for justice and a healthier, safer environment, she spends her down time running, biking, and swimming (and doing triathlons), listening to soul and motown, and catching live music wherever she can.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
10 September 2012, 9:40 AM
Larry Gibson, Keeper of the Mountains, Rests in Power
Larry Gibson, watching the sun set over decimated Kayford Mountain.

Last night we got devastating news. Larry Gibson, our close friend, partner, ally and comrade in the work to end mountaintop removal mining and secure justice for communities across Appalachia, had passed away of a heart attack. Larry was more than a friend and partner, he was our hero and our inspiration.

Like so many others, I was so inspired and humbled by Larry's tireless work to end mountaintop removal mining and protect all Appalachian people from this destructive mining practice. I wanted to share his story to inspire others and to show more people the hero so many of us saw in him.

He agreed to do this little video with Earthjustice. He asked me to make sure it got out to many people. I heard what he was saying. I felt the weight of his work and a responsibility to him. I knew he fought 30 years for his homeland and for his Appalachian brothers and sisters.

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24 August 2012, 1:30 PM
Warren Haynes, My Morning Jacket oppose mountaintop removal mining
Guitarist Warren Haynes has joined the Mountain Heroes campaign.

John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” is one song that immediately comes to mind when you think of how music and mountains just naturally go hand in hand. Musicians are been well known for their stances on environmental issues, and artists such as Pearl Jam, The Roots, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Guster, Sheryl Crow, and Moby are all outspoken advocates.

As part of Earthjustice’s Mountain Heroes campaign, two more prolific artists are joining us to stand up against mountaintop removal mining. The first is Rolling Stone’s 23rd greatest guitarist of all time: Warren Haynes. Warren has recorded with artists from every genre, and is best known for his work playing with The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Phil Lesh & Friends, and his own group, Gov’t Mule. Why has Warren joined us? “I want to save mountains because mountains are majestic!”

Mountain Heroes: Warren Hayes, My Morning Jacket.

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08 August 2012, 1:00 PM
Some love stories captured on video

She said, “Do you cheat on me?”
He said, “Sure I do.”

“Do I know her?"
“Sure you do.”

“Is she pretty?”
“Most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

“What’s her name?”
He said, “Kayford Mountain, prettiest lady I ever met.”

This is the story of a man who fell in love with a mountain and his struggle to keep it and all mountains from being destroyed by coal mining.

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24 July 2012, 11:01 AM
Star adds her face and message to stop mountaintop removal mining
Daryl Hannah speaks out against mountaintop removal mining. (Pake Salmon)

Daryl Hannah is best known as an actor in films such as Splash, Blade Runner, Roxanne, Wall Street, and Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2. But outside of the studio, she is a vocal environmental activist who dedicates herself to raising awareness of climate change, sustainable farming energy solutions, and of course, mountaintop removal.

For Earthjustice's Mountain Heroes photo petition, Daryl writes, “I believe if people in this country truly understood that we are allowing private companies to blow up our oldest mountain range and decimate our ecosystems, water and communities—it would not be legal.”

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20 July 2012, 8:38 AM
Stand with this literary giant and become a Mountain Hero, too

Fighting against mountaintop removal, this week we’re proud to announce the support of an incredibly strong woman: writer and activist Terry Tempest Williams. We know our supporters care deeply about the welfare of animals in the wild, and saw this vividly on our Facebook page when we highlighted the animals of Appalachia in a photo album on Facebook.

The Appalachian Mountains contain some of the richest assortment of wildlife in the country, from white-tailed deer to great horned owls. When these mountains are blown up by coal mining, not only are we losing the beautiful landscape, we are also destroying the habitat of the wildlife that make their home in Appalachia.

Following her own passion for wildlife, Williams has written on the lives of a clan of endangered prairie dogs, showing how they are the creators of “the most sophisticated animal language decoded so far.” Respect for life in all its myriad forms is a topic she argues for with sensitivity and detail.

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27 June 2012, 2:03 PM
Mountain Hero continues the work of her celebrated mother, Judy Bonds

Could there be a love more unconditional and more powerful than the love of a mother for her child? Most mothers I know would say, "No, not even possible." But if you've ever observed the adoring eyes of a child looking up to his or her mother, you might think twice.

Lisa Henderson's story is a remarkable tribute to this love and bond between mother and child.

Through our Mountain Heroes campaign, Lisa tells the story of watching her mother, renowned anti-mountaintop removal mining activist and Goldman Prize winner Judy Bonds, grow into a leader of the movement to save mountains, communities and people.

Lisa Henderson. (Chris Jordan-Bloch)

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25 June 2012, 12:55 PM
Please join them and add your photo petition

Junior Walk is not a celebrity. He grew up in Whitesville, West Virginia, born into a family of coal miners and workers. When he was just a kid, the water in his family's home became contaminated with coal slurry. Though it was blood-red and smelled like sulfur, Junior, who was just a child at the time, thought that was normal. Surrounded by neighbors who all eventually dealt with the same contamination.

"I thought that's what water did," said Junior, "It just went bad."

When he grew up, the day finally came when Junior had to make a choice. Stay silent and see his family and his community continue to be poisoned, or speak out and get kicked out by his father and threatened by neighbors who were afraid to go against the coal companies.

Junior Walk did what every hero has done. He did the right thing.

Junior Walk. (Chris Jordan-Bloch)

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19 June 2012, 11:13 AM
Congress finally addresses community health emergency in Appalachia
Mountaintop removal mining devastates the landscape, turning areas that should be lush with forests and wildlife into barren moonscapes. (OVEC)

Big news today in our fight to end destructive mountaintop removal mining: 13 congressional leaders joined to introduce legislation to protect communities and families from the dangerous health effects of our nation's most extreme form of coal mining—mountaintop removal mining.

The Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act is the first federal legislation to address the human health effects of mountaintop removal mining. More than 20 peer-reviewed scientific studies show significantly elevated birth defect rates, early mortality rates, cancer rates, and major disease rates in areas of mountaintop removal mining. There is truly a public health emergency, and these studies point the blame to mountaintop removal mining.

This bill aims to protect communities and address this health emergency: It would require the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct thorough health studies on the human impacts of mountaintop removal, and until it is proven that this form of mining is not killing, harming, or sickening families, children, and people across Appalachia, it would place a hold on all new mining permits.

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07 June 2012, 4:53 PM
Courage - not capes and superpowers - defines them
Maria Gunnoe in action. Photo by Mark Schmerling.

As we were working on our new campaign ("Mountain Heroes") to stop mountaintop removal coal mining, many of the folks who shared their stories told us they felt bashful about being called "heroes."

In our society today, when we talk about a hero many of us imagine a caped figure flying through the sky, lifting up buses, halting runaway trains, and saving the masses from crushing catastrophes or evil villains.

Rarely does someone swoop in and "save the day," although every once in a while, we hear that incredible story of someone exhibiting sudden and epic heroism. More commonly, our heroes are quietly and doggedly battling for good through the struggles of daily life. Heroes in real life—those who, day after day, give everything of themselves, often thanklessly, to make the world a better place—are so much more inspiring, actually, than the hereos of pop culture.

These are the kind of people we highlight on our new Mountain Heroes campaign website.

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04 June 2012, 11:28 AM
Stories and inspiration from the fight to end mountaintop removal mining

Over our years of working to stop mountaintop removal mining, we at Earthjustice have met so many brave and dedicated people fighting for their communities, mountains and waters. In 2010, Earthjustice launched our “Mountain Heroes” campaign to share their inspiring stories and show that this is not just a fight for the environment—it’s a fight for justice and a fight to save communities, families and Appalachian culture.

Through this campaign, we shared the stories of a few true heroes and created a public photo petition, asking the public to share their own stories—and tell us why they want to save mountains, protect clean water, and fight for justice in Appalachia.

What we got back was astounding and inspiring.

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