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Scrapbook: Learning the Lessons of Big Coal on a Missouri Nature Hike

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

November 30, 2012

Learning the Lessons of Big Coal on a Missouri Nature Hike

Missouri Beyond Coal

One way to start a movement is to show people what's at stake.

That's what Beyond Coal organizers in Missouri had in mind earlier this month when it helped organize a hike through some of the last old growth forests in the state along the Missouri River floodplain, where the Labadie Coal plant hogs the horizon.

"We've come to realize that many in Missouri don't know where we get our energy from and the problems associated with coal-fired power," said Sara Edgar, a Beyond Coal organizer. "This hike was meant to begin to change that. We are working hard to build a grassroots base here."

Missouri Beyond Coal 1

The educational hike at St. Albans and Labadie, organized by Beyond Coal and Labadie Environmental Organization, drew 55 people despite the poor weather, and concluded with pumpkin pie at a local farmhouse.

The coal company Ameren, which owns and operates the Labadie plant, has proposed three new coal ash landfills -- one in the floodplains next to the existing plant, and two dry landfills on top of existing coal ash ponds in the St. Louis region. One can only imagine the impacts on air and drinking water if these proposals see the light of day.

Missouri Beyond Coal 2

"Along the hike we discussed the history and the natural significance of the area, and how that is threatened by coal," Sara said. "We hiked through some of the last remaining old growth forest in the area, all while catching glimpses of the plant looming in the distance."

Missouri Beyond Coal 3

The hike included a dialogue about the river’s floodplain and its role in the greater ecosystem. "We were then able to tie the issues at this plant back to two of the other area plants, which many of the participants had not realized they lived near," Sara said.

Missouri Beyond Coal 4

The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign is relatively new to Missouri. The event brought in seven people new to the Sierra Club. Educational hikes, like this one led by our fantastic Missouri organizers and volunteers, effectively boost awareness and begin to feed the embers of true grassroots movements.

Visit the Missouri Beyond Coal Facebook page for more info!


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