A few months ago I had the distinct pleasure of attending an event in Nashville, hosted by country music legend Emmylou Harris, to debut one of NRDC’s key initiatives to end mountaintop removal coal mining. MusicSavesMountains.org is a way for popular singers, songwriters and musicians can engage in the effort to help publicize the senseless destruction of the Appalachian Mountains, where country music was born.
It was a thrill to see so many stars show up to learn about this issue. There was Randy Travis discussing mountaintop removal with NRDC’s founder, John Adams; across the room Kid Rock was sipping a beer and chatting up NRDC’s senior counsel Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; over by the pool, several other stars were looking at stark photos of the mining destruction.
After the event, I was approached by a strikingly beautiful young woman who, with tears in her eyes, told me that she was so upset with what is going on in Appalachia and that she was ready to help. I was face-to-face with Michelle Branch.
Not just a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, Michelle is a young mom whose devotion to a better world for her daughter makes her committed to protecting the environment. Like so many Americans, Michelle had never even known the plight of Appalachia due to the scourge of the mountaintop removal. The prospect of coal companies blasting America’s oldest mountains to bits, dumping the mining waste into streams, and polluting local communities was a wake-up call for her. Now Michelle is eager to use her platform as a professional musician to help spread the word about this problem and enlist others to help put a stop to it.
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In fact, Michelle was so eager to get started that she recorded a message for me on my flip video right there on the spot. Check it out – and join NRDC in expressing our deep appreciation for Michelle and all the other artists who want to use their music to help save our mountains.