I listened as they spoke.
A group of passionate, idealistic, committed young adults working to stop mountain top removal. Mountain top removal is the process by which coal is being mined today across much of Appalachia. Instead of digging the coal, companies now blow off the top of a mountain to get to the coal. The debris from the blast is then pushed down into the surrounding valleys. Mountain top removal provides cheaper coal and therefore cheaper energy, but is an environmental disaster. This group of idealistic young adults is doing their best to stand toe to toe with the BIG banks whose money funds the companies who mine coal in this way. As I listened, they sounded a bit like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
Then I realized my reaction was just a sign of my getting old.
How many times in just my lifetime has it been the passionate, idealistic, committed young adults who have had the vision and the courage and the commitment to force the change which was needed?
Those young adults who forced integration by sitting at lunch counters.
Those young adults who gave up their summer to register voters.
Those young adults who marched and sat and went to jail in an effort to end the Vietnam War.
Those young adults who pushed environmental concerns onto the front burner.
I was one of them once.
Believing that I could change the world or, at least, some small part of it.
Maybe I need to find a way to be young again.