Friday, September 21, 2012

coal: what is it good for? part one

I struggle to write this series of posts. The last thing I want is to cause people to become overwhelmed, immobilized or checked out as a result of what I share. How can I as an individual possibly counter global warming and protect habitats? I can barely keep my house clean let alone clean air or water. 

But as a writer, I strive to unravel that status quo seam stitched around life as we know it to glimpse what’s underneath. It’s my hope then readers will seek their own solutions and alternatives.

I've included many hyperlinks so you can further your own knowledge. The hyperlinks also testify to how much incriminating information there is about coal.

I attended a screening of the independent film Dirty Business about the coal industry. What is there to say about Old King Coal that you might not already know?

* The mono-economy of coal mining has created a generational cycle of poverty and forced dependence much like sharecropping where miners live in houses owned by mining companies and have to shop at stores owned by mining companies.

*Miners and their families fear jeopardizing their jobs by reporting about high levels of contamination in drinking water supplies.

*As far as jobs go, coal mining has become heavily mechanized. Coal industry employment in the US has fallen by half in the last 20 years, despite a one-third increase in coal production.

*Coal producing states consistently rank lowest in indices for health and income.

*Coal fired power plants are the largest source of mercury pollution. Why does that matter to the average Joe? Because Joe can't be blissfully average since mercury in the food chain and breast milk interferes with the development of babies' brains and neurological systems and is linked to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, problems with coordination, lowered IQ and mental retardation.

*Coal regions have the highest mortality rates. Yearly, 24,000 people die prematurely because of coal-fired power plant pollution. I’m not even mentioning the higher rates of:
-asthma  
-cardiopulmonary disease 
-birth defects
-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
-hypertension
-diabetes 
-lung and 
-kidney disease prevalent in the people living in coal country.

*People tend to glaze over when the connection between coal and global warming is brought up. That’s why I’m detailing how coal mining impacts humans living in areas where coal is produced. You don’t have to be treehugger to be anti-coal. 

It’s destroying our own species.