Lacy MacAuley


a home for my pen, projects, and passions

judy bonds: “fight harder”

Judy Bonds (center) was a fearless keeper of the mountains. I snapped this photo with fellow activists at Mountain Justice Spring Break 2010.

The fearless Judy Bonds, keeper of the mountains, passed yesterday.

I remember first meeting Judy way back in 2004, when I was a brand new activist accompanying a friend to the Heartwood forest conservation conference. With others from her team at Coal River Mountain Watch, Judy talked to me about coal mining in Appalachia, the harmful practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and what it was doing to the communities and the ecosystems of the region. As we stood under a pine tree on the conference grounds, she spoke about the destruction she saw in her own holler. I remember being astounded that industry could erase a whole mountain from the surface of the planet, mountains that had taken hundreds of millions of years to form. From that moment on I have been convinced of the urgent need to save the mountains from the coal companies.

In that conference of environmentalists six years ago, few had heard of mountaintop removal coal mining. But there was Judy, alerting people to the destructive coal mining in Appalachia. From the very beginning, Judy was there, igniting the movement to save the mountains.

She was a truly inspiring activist and organizer, a coal miner’s daughter who loved the mountains around her and did not want to see them sacrificed for greed. Her mountains were an inheritance for her grandchildren. Like all true crusaders, Judy would not want us to do anything but work harder to save the mountains.

Vernon Haltom, fellow mountain justice activist, said it best: “While we grieve, let’s remember what she said, ‘Fight harder.'”

Instead of mourning, I am taking this moment to renew my commitment to working to save the earth.


Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, lacy's life

2 Responses

  1. Mandy Skinner says:

    Lacy, I was at that Heartwood Forest Council in 2004… did we meet then, and we don’t remember?? That was also the first time I heard Judy speak. And Maria Gunnoe, and Larry Gibson. There was incredible energy there that weekend, I learned a ton from them. Thanks for the reminder.

    • lacymacauley says:

      Hello Mandy! I’m not sure if we met at that time! Again, I was a brand new activist and I had accompanied my friend Jeremy Paster, who at that time was working with Greenpeace… Indeed, learning about what others were doing about the destruction of the forests, mountains, watersheds, etc was an intense experience for me. It helped put my passion to action.

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