Here follows a letter released by mountain top removal activist and West Virginia resident Roland Micklem, who was arrested outside the WV courthouse for openly fasting:
For a former naturalist whose interest in and concern for the natural world has spanned over half a century, the loss of so many once common and beloved species has been traumatic and depressing, depressing to an extent that has resulted in a loss of enthusiasm for a field of study that had stoked my fires in bygone years.
My boyhood haunts, where I came to know the grosbeaks, warblers, and other once abundant members of the creature kingdom have been converted to shopping malls and housing tracts. A fisheries researcher would be hard put to collect more than two or three minnow species from the same waters that yielded twenty or more in my student years. The proliferation of motorized traffic in eastern Virginia--only one of many examples of how so-called progress has impoverished our lives-has all but decimated the populations of box turtles, snakes, and other creatures that have not learned to look both ways before crossing the highways. Air, soil, and water pollution, along with other forms of environmental degradation, have robbed us of our natural heritage and birthright, namely the infinite variety of life forms that once flew through our skies, swam in our waters, and enriched our space with their beauty, their voices, and their strange and fascinating ways.
In the year 2009, I am, and have been for several years, an environmental activist.
I have exchanged my academic interest in the world of nature for a commitment to see that some of it is left for succeeding generations to study and enjoy. My sorrow over the changes that self aggrandizing humanity has wrought have resulted in my decision to fast, and I will do so, as indicated in my statement, in a very public place before those with the power to bring about needed reform.
But I'm not without hope. I'm inspired and energized by the young people here at Climate Ground Zero, who at great personal risk are carrying on a campaign to stop mountaintop removal by nonviolent direct action. Despite the awesome challenge of climate change and other threats to the global ecology, there's a new awakening among people and a renewed commitment to save Mother Earth from the excesses of our own species.
I'd like to be a part of this commitment.