West Virginia Call for Help

July 5, 2012

More from my Appalachia correspondent:


Communities in Fayette County, WV, have asked for help during the state of emergency declared during the extended power outage from last week’s storms. Fayette is still 90% without electricity, food, and water. The national guard has been dispatched, but has not reached many of these communities from what we are hearing.


United Campus Ministry in Athens, Ohio, has volunteered central space to drop off nonperishable food items, bottled water, or other supplies today. Donations can be put boxes or bags marked WV in the UCM lounge (to the right of the front door from now until 7:00pm tonight.) for pick up this evening (Thursday) and delivery via Southern Appalachia Labor School on Friday.

None of this necessary, of course, in a renewable smart grid economy.

8 Responses to “West Virginia Call for Help”

  1. witsendnj Says:

    It’s quite clear from the video linked to that the reason the power is so slow to be restored is that an incredible number of large trees came down. What’s really depressing is that so few people have looked at that video. Who cares if people in West Virginia are having problems? If anyone really cared, would we be blowing up their mountains for coal, and giving them cancer?

    Ironically enough, to a certain extent it’s that same coal that is behind the current problems.

    Naturally as we all know, the weather is violently worse from climate change – but even more important in terms of lost power is that the TREES are different. They are all dying from air pollution, everywhere around the world. It’s pretty obvious actually, if you just look at them. Their bark is falling off, they have cankers and holes like tumors, their leaves are small and burnt and shriveled.

    The first thing trees do when they absorb ozone (air pollution) is allocate more resources to repairing damage to the leaves or needles. This reduces energy sent to the roots. Shrunken root systems mean the trees are more likely to fall over and also are more vulnerable to drought, which is happening more because of climate change. To top it all off, they lose natural immunity to insects, disease and fungus. Go ask a tree. It will tell you if you listen.

    The underlying reason the power is out, and wildfires are uncontrollable, is air pollution. It’s as simple and clear a causal connection as smoking tobacco leads to cancer, a truth that has been even more ruthlessly suppressed by the corporate overlords who seek to perpetuate the industrial destruction of nature – until the very last second before she responds to them with her pitchfork. Just ask the authors of “An Appalachian Tragedy”.

    The USDA has also been trying to develop crops that are genetically resistant to tropospheric ozone, with no luck. Even if they could do it, what good would that do for the trees and other wild vegetation that are dying from absorbing air pollution? It’s especially bad because ozone shrinks roots well before damage is visible on leaves, making the plants even more vulnerable to the droughts that are worsening. People should realize the ecosystem is collapsing and we need to stop burning fuel! a book for free: http://www.deadtrees-dyingforests.com/pillage-plunder-pollute-llc/

    Injury resulting from ozone has been extensively, in fact exhaustively, demonstrated during decades of scientific research, which has found it is extremely detrimental to vegetation, including annual crops and especially longer-lived trees exposed to cumulative damage.

    A blog about the storms, power outages and wildfires here:


  2. @ witsendnj and/or Peter,
    Could you list some starting points or links for research into this ozone connection? I’ve seen articles were ozone has been blamed for reduced crop yields and now wonder if increasing temperature is speeding up the photochemical reactions that produce tropospheric ozone. Thanks in advance.

  3. witsendnj Says:

    John, absolutely, ozone is made worse by increasing temps from climate change. It was already causing crop yield and quality reduction, this has been known since the 1950’s and as the background level goes up, so does the damage.

    I put many, many links to published research in the book referenced in my first comment. It’s free online but for people who want a hard copy it’s $20 (the cost of printing) at Amazon.

    It’s a seldom-recognized issue – part and parcel with the Nitrogen Cascade, the “biggest environmental disaster you’ve never heard of” – that is critical for both our food supply, forests, and the a major CO2 sink.

    I keep asking Peter to do a climate crock video about it!

    • otter17 Says:

      So, solving the climate change issue will also solve this ozone issue, right?

      • witsendnj Says:

        Yes it certainly would! IF by solving it, you mean a drastic curtailment, if not cessation, of burning fuel. However, it all depends upon how the climate change issue is “solved”.

        The reasons I think the ozone issue is important are two:

        1. So far, the prospect of catastrophic climate change has failed to inspire people to demand their governments do anything about it. As a strategy to inspire change, it just isn’t working and so, I reason in my desperation, maybe the realization that trees in backyards are dying, and crops are lost, would be a more powerful motivator.

        2. Too many activists and scientists are enchanted with the notion that we can geoengineer our way out of a warming climate. Such “solutions” ignore the two aspects of acidification – the ocean, and the air:


        And of course, all of that ignores a root cause of our climate problem which is overpopulation.

        I think we need a more holistic ecological approach. A single-minded focus on CO2 emissions just won’t save us from extinction, sadly.

  4. witsendnj – It is good that you mention the ozone connection to AGW. I was unaware of the full AGW impact on the oceans and you have shown further impacts on land.
    You have it right. Overpoplulation and unsustainable exponential growth are not problems that can be solved by technology. They will be solved, but at what cost, what penalty, and what suffering? Supply will balance with demand, but perhaps in an unintended way. Meanwhile, government spending is oddly upside down. Subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear, CO2 sequestration, ethanol from food first, then finally, a tiny amount for wind and solar. All governments base the notion of economy on annual growth. None are cognizant of the fact that annual growth equals exponential growth. Exponential growth is fundamentally unsustainable. Until the economic system is changed to reflect the value of sustainability, we will continue to see a world of ever increasing demand for resources; – right up until the point where the resources are scarce. Its like using your house timbers for firewood. Given the economy we have based on exponential growth, it is hardly surprising that we are addicted to oil, gas, ..etc. or whatever corresponds to unrelenting consumption.
    Its a social and psychological problem beginning with notions of the self and ego. The fundamental underpinnings of the whole socioeconomic system are based on individual consumption, and the notion that economies can run without controls, governed only by individual demands. The individual is manipulated by the producer (advertisement) who wishes to maximize profit by increasing and manipulating demand. Every player has a vested interest in growth. The trouble is, no one is steering the ship.
    At some point we have to develop a collective consciousness of the trouble we are headed for, rather than being a bunch of isolated egos, driven by primitive needs and desires.

  5. someone aught to graph the time spent reacting/recovering to extreme events against CO2 emissions.

    Seems to me that we are spending much more time recovering from these events now. Communities are gong to be in perpetual recover mode. No time for much else.

    • witsendnj Says:

      Last night, another storm left 2 dead, a dozen injured most from falling tees and branches, this one in the Smokie Mountains of TN, tens of thousands without power.

      In a chart of incidents reported, one says trees 6 foot diameter and a 4 foot diameter fell. People forget that many species of trees should live for hundreds, even thousands of years.

      I’ve been predicting for several years that because trees are weakened from pollution the number of people being hit by is going to soar – and it has begun.


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