Learning the Lessons of Big Coal on a Missouri Nature Hike
One way to start a movement is to show people what's at stake.
That's what Beyond Coal organizers in Missouri had in mind earlier this month when it helped organize a hike through some of the last old growth forests in the state along the Missouri River floodplain, where the Labadie Coal plant hogs the horizon.
"We've come to realize that many in Missouri don't know where we get our energy from and the problems associated with coal-fired power," said Sara Edgar, a Beyond Coal organizer. "This hike was meant to begin to change that. We are working hard to build a grassroots base here."
The educational hike at St. Albans and Labadie, organized by Beyond Coal and Labadie Environmental Organization, drew 55 people despite the poor weather, and concluded with pumpkin pie at a local farmhouse.
"Along the hike we discussed the history and the natural significance of the area, and how that is threatened by coal," Sara said. "We hiked through some of the last remaining old growth forest in the area, all while catching glimpses of the plant looming in the distance."
The hike included a dialogue about the river’s floodplain and its role in the greater ecosystem. "We were then able to tie the issues at this plant back to two of the other area plants, which many of the participants had not realized they lived near," Sara said.
The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign is relatively new to Missouri. The event brought in seven people new to the Sierra Club. Educational hikes, like this one led by our fantastic Missouri organizers and volunteers, effectively boost awareness and begin to feed the embers of true grassroots movements.