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People Power Episode 6: God's Mountains: Faith and mountaintop removal PDF E-mail
Deep Down

This is a perspective on contemporary coal mining from Dalvin Ratliff, who previously worked in the coal industry and who is now a preacher at a small Baptist church in Martin, Kentucky, just down the road from where the documentary "Deep Down" was filmed.  The church and much of the town had to be relocated due to flooding in Martin; the cause of the flooding has been linked to nearby mines which removed soil that would normally have absorbed rain water.

About the People Power series: From the makers of DEEP DOWN, a feature documentary in production in 2007, People Power is a short documentary portrait series highlighting just a few Americans who are making a difference for the air, water, and mountains that we all share.  Learn more, and find your own people power at http://peoplepower.blip.tv.

DeepDown_FaithBasedScreeningFaith in Action
It's often overlooked that the fight against mountaintop removal is not just a secular movement. Over the past few years, an increasing number of activists have become involved as a means of expressing their faith and belief in environmental stewardship and Creation care.

We recently screened Deep Down at two such faith communities: Church of the Savior in Knoxville, Tennessee, on October 1st, and two days later at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Lexington, Kentucky. The response was overwhelming.

The Knoxville showing was sponsored by the Lindquist Environmental Appalachian Fellowship (LEAF), the region's most visible faith-based organization dedicated to stopping MTR. Through the efforts of co-directors Pat Hudson and Dawn Coppock, LEAF has partnered with Tennessee churches of all theological stripes to educate their congregations about MTR. "It's just as simple as Psalm 24," says Hudson. "The earth is the Lord's."

The audience of 35 was comprised of current activists and several who were unfamiliar with the issue. A vigorous question and answer session followed the screening and featured Hudson, Sally Rubin (co-director of Deep Down), and Jason Howard (the film's Faith-Based Outreach Coordinator).

The screening at Good Shepherd featured a diverse group of forty people. Most audience members had heard of the issue only in passing news accounts. Howard and assistant rector Elise Johnstone took questions for over half an hour following the showing, with assistance from anti-MTR activist and bestselling novelist Silas House.

"I had no idea," one person confessed. "What can I do to help?"

In addition to becoming involved in local advocacy organizations and raising awareness of the issue with other members of Good Shepherd, many attendees also committed to hosting screenings of Deep Down in their homes. "I'll throw on a pot of chili," said one woman, "and invite all my neighbors."

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