Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Third Station of the Cross: Jesus Falls the First Time

< The Second Station of the Cross                                                                           The Fourth Station of the Cross > 

Weakened by torments and by loss of blood, Jesus falls beneath his cross

“It is hard to make a desert in a place that receives sixty inches of rain each year. But after decades of copper mining, all that remained of the old hardwood forests in the Ducktown Mining District of the Southern Appalachian Mountains was a fifty-square mile barren expanse of heavily gullied red hills–a landscape created by sulfur dioxide smoke from copper smelting and destructive logging practices. In Ducktown Smoke, Duncan Maysilles examines this environmental disaster, one of the worst the South has experienced, and its impact on environmental law and Appalachian conservation.”

Relatively early in our nation's entering into the Industrial Age, we saw the sheer havoc and destruction that industry can have on the landscape. The copper industry did much to build the country and move it into the modern age, but Empire often moves with callous disregard for the environment that should nurture all of its inhabitants.

Copper smelting—the process of separating copper from rock—is credited with doing most of the environmental damage in the Ducktown Basin in the 19th century. The process required wood to fuel the smelters, and there was no wood left in the area by 1876. Logs were floated down the Ocoee River from Fannin County, Ga., and about 50 square miles within the Ducktown Basin had been stripped of vegetation by 1878.

Ducktown was an early example of the Empire's crucifixion of the environment. Unfortunately there is still resistance from corporations to make any changes in their practices which continue to pollute, continue to contribute to climate change, and continue to bring damage to the sacred body of the earth, our only habitation.


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