The Last Mountain: Film Screening & Community Issues Forum

On November 17th, the Center for Civic Engagement and REACT to FILM paired up for their final film screening and community issues forum of the semester. The Last Mountain sparked the interest of over 35 Binghamton students and faculty members who came out to see the film and  participate in a follow-up discussion.

The film portrayed the struggle of residents in Coal River Valley in West Virginia, where mountaintop removal mining for coal has destroyed all but one mountain and has polluted the air and water of the surrounding area. While coal mining provides jobs and electricity for many people in the area, it also has health, economic, environmental, and political costs that seem to outweigh the benefits for those fighting the coal companies in the Valley. Instead, they proposed wind energy as a solution to create jobs, clean energy, and to save their last mountain.

"I thought the stories of the people living in Appalachia were so compelling. [The film] really pulled on my heart strings and tapped into my emotions. It almost brought me to tears several times," said junior Emily Ferrara.

Professors Richard Andrus and Joseph Graney contributed their knowledge of the issues presented in the film by leading the discussion that followed. Students drew parallels between coal mining in Appalachia and the current debates over hydrofracking in Broome County, considered the costs and benefits of coal and wind energy, and, most importantly, considered the question: what can we do?

The Last Mountain was the fourth community issues forum sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement for the Fall 2011 semester. Along
with REACT to FILM, the CCE held a screening of Danfung Dennis's Hell and Back Again in mid-September, Miss Representation in October, and Food, Inc. as part of the 2011 national Food Day. The purpose of these open forums is to inform students, faculty, and staff about the issues that affect us all, to promote open discussion of multiple perspectives, and ultimately to move participants to action. Look out for our upcoming forums centered around screenings of Living for 32, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, and Sing Your Song in the Spring 2012 semester!

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