Environmentalist Matt Wasson on Cheap Energy’s Dirty Secret

Matt Wasson, director of the Appalachian Voices program, discusses the dangers of mountaintop removal coal mining and how mindfulness can help.

This video is part of our sustainability Speakeasy series. Find more here

“If we want to make a difference through compassionate action, it needs to be because I recognize that my happiness is not separate from yours.” – Matt Wasson

It’s common to express gratitude for our food before we eat, but how many of us even think about where our energy comes from before we turn on a light switch, much less give thanks before we do? In this emotional Speakeasy talk from Wanderlust Snowshoe, Matt Wasson, founder and director of the Appalachian Voices program discusses the dangers of mountaintop coal removal mining and its disastrous impact on the surrounding environment. A topic that hits close to home for many in the area, dangerous mining practices harm not only the earth but also the people living nearby.

As much as 2.8 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry are stored in secured holding ponds that nevertheless leach into groundwater and surrounding waterways. These ponds contain chemicals such as iron, arsenic, lead, and chromium in combinations that have been thought to be the cause of cancer clusters in the area.

As an environmental activist, Wasson has used his talent for storytelling to spread the word on this harmful practice and effect change in the communities. A firm believer in the interconnectedness of us all, he explores the ties between action and outcome. Wasson uses yoga, mindfulness, and meditation as physical example of how our minds and bodies are tied to one another and the surrounding environment. In this lecture, we also learn about how engaging our mindfulness and compassion can bring about positive change in a region devastated by “cheap energy.”

“Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation are about more than physical changes. It’s about the roots of these traditions making the world a better place. We are strengthening our communities by purifying our minds, by cultivating our wisdom, and by opening our hearts, and that is what we are here to do.” – Matt Wasson

Filmed by: Circus Picnic

Edited by: Start Motion Media