Providing new outlets
Appalachian Mountain Top Removal
Mountaintop removal mines are controversial because coal industries are exploding the tops off mountains to reach the coal within it. The major debate is how much of our environment are we willing to sacrifice for inexpensive and domestic sources of fossil fuel (iLoveMountains, 2010). The layer within Google Earth, Appalachian Mountaintop Removal, is designed to raise awareness about this environmental hazard and ultimately stop mountaintop removal by implementing policy against these actions.
Google Earth’s decision to create a global outreach program was one of their best moves both corporately and socially. For the issues that are not as popular and less publicized, Google Earth has allowed them to publicize their message and raise awareness about their underrepresented cause. These humanitarian layers allow both government and non-governmental organizations to make their efforts transparent and more open to the public, hence attracting more attention. And most importantly, each layer includes contact information and provides viewers with options to help them get involved with the cause (Google Earth Blog, 2006).
It is also important to go in depth as to why certain conflicts are more known globally than others. There are two possible solutions behind this. First of all, it may be due to how recently the issue occurred or was released. There may have just been a time gap between when the destruction in the Appalachian Mountains occurred, and when the media and interest groups learned details about it. The second possible reason is that it may not affect a wide enough range of people, hence not garnering much of a diverse interest. Residents of foreign countries may not particularly care as much because the destruction occurring in North America are not directly affecting them. Consequently, because they are not as affected by this, media stations may not even broadcast what is occurring and filter what they present according to their allotted time slot.
The Appalachian Mountaintop Removal layer was recently added to Google Earth’s Global Awareness layers in 2010. How is it that Americans are generally more aware of international dilemmas, such as the crisis in Darfur, when our mountains on the home front are being exploded and ultimately hurting the residents of these regions? Thanks to modern technology, there are several outlets that allow organizations and non-profits to get their message out in the public. The foundation iLoveMountains, which is responsible for all the mountaintop removal’s charities, even created videos and posted them on YouTube for everyone to see, such as this one (YouTube, 2010). Their partnership with Google Earth, however, may have been the most influential step yet. It allows everyone the opportunity to learn about the issue and stresses why it is extremely important for people to take action.
End Mountain Top Removal Campaign with Google Earth. (2006). Google Earth Blog. Retrieved from http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2006/10/end_mountain_top_rem.html.
iLoveMountains (www.iLoveMountains.org). (2010). Appalachian Mountain Top Removal [layer in Google Earth 5.2 software]. Available from earth.google.com/
Mountaintop Removal Movie [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPixjCneseE