The Parthenon

‘Gauley Mountain’ documents ecosexual love story through film

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Sprinkle, Stephens share their journey as couple and activists

This+still+from+the+film+shows+filmmakers+Annie+Sprinkle+%28left%29+and+Beth+Stephens+%28right%29+sharing+a+moment+in+the+footage.+Sprinkle+and+Stephens+made+%E2%80%9CGoodbye+Gauley+Mountain%E2%80%9D+to+demonstrate+a+unique+bond+with+nature+and+to+discourage+Mountain+Top+Removal.
This still from the film shows filmmakers Annie Sprinkle (left) and Beth Stephens (right) sharing a moment in the footage. Sprinkle and Stephens made “Goodbye Gauley Mountain” to demonstrate a unique bond with nature and to discourage Mountain Top Removal.

This still from the film shows filmmakers Annie Sprinkle (left) and Beth Stephens (right) sharing a moment in the footage. Sprinkle and Stephens made “Goodbye Gauley Mountain” to demonstrate a unique bond with nature and to discourage Mountain Top Removal.

Ryan Fischer

Ryan Fischer

This still from the film shows filmmakers Annie Sprinkle (left) and Beth Stephens (right) sharing a moment in the footage. Sprinkle and Stephens made “Goodbye Gauley Mountain” to demonstrate a unique bond with nature and to discourage Mountain Top Removal.

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A screening of “Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story” was shown Thursday to Marshall University students in Smith Hall.
Goodbye Gauley Mountain follows two ecosexual activists, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, as they take a stand against mountain top removal in Appalachia.
Stephens said mountain top removal is a newer form of coal mining. It has evolved with the machines.
“I saw the film at the Appalachia Studies Associational Conference here at Marshall last year,” Walter Squire, assistant professor of English, said. “I asked Beth if we would to be able to Skype since they currently live in California, but it was a happy accident that they were nearby and able to do a public screening.”
The documentary emphasized West Virginia citizens’ concerns for their home, safety and future.
Stephens said activism will not stop the mining. It can only slow down the process.
“What will ultimately work is to have a better solution,” Stephens said. “It will be a matter of crazy, desperate imagination.”
“People have iPhones, iPads and ‘iWhatevers,’” Stephens said. “There are people really suffering in other places to make that possible, and a lot of people don’t get that connection at all. That’s what I feel like our activism is about.”

People have iPhones, iPads and ‘iWhatevers.’ There are people really suffering in other places to make that possible, and a lot of people don’t get that connection at all. That’s what I feel like our activism is about.”

— Beth Stephens

The film ended with a celebration at Stephens’ and Sprinkle’s wedding.
“The Ecosexuality part of the film is a way of addressing some of the problems our culture has with developing new ways to imagine sexuality and opening it up to enjoying the sensuality of nature,” Sprinkle said.
Stephens and Sprinkle wrapped up their discussion with a duel reading of their piece, “25 Ways to Love the Earth.”
Hannah Harman can be contacted at [email protected]

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