Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Coal in your Christmas stocking

I’m guessing that most greenmomsters understand the effects of climate change and one of our biggest producers of CO2 – coal.  Here’s some background info, in case you need a review.  But what about our friends and acquaintances who still don’t “believe in” the man-made causes of climate change?  Is there any other reason to quit coal?  Here are three good reasons to cut our coal consumption and support EPA’s attempts at regulation.  I understand it won’t be easy; I get my electricity from a coal-fired power plant.  But just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be our goal.

  1. Coal ash – This bi-product of energy production has been the cause of several devastating spills around the country.  It’s a complicated issue, since there’s a lot of it, and we use it in building materials.  Here’s a quick rundown of the issue and why some think it should be handled as a hazardous waste. 

Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird2.  Loss of biodiversity and contamination of watersheds – Have you heard of mountaintop removal coal mining?  It’s exactly what it sounds like.  We remove the tops of mountains to access the coal.  It’s efficient, but the impacts on water and biodiversity are devastating.  Check out Cerulean Blues by Katie Fallon for a look at the effects on one small migratory bird – the cerulean warbler.  (photo:  latimesblogs.latimes.com)

3.  The personal cost – From Clean Technica, “ Though solar power is still far from surpassing coal as America’s primary energy source, the number of people employed by the solar industry has surpassed the number of coal miners. The non-profit Solar Foundation estimates that The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruptionthere are about 142,000 people in the U.S. workforce who spend “at least 50% of their time supporting solar-related activities,” according to Business Insider.” 

Coal mining is dangerous and dirty. Although it has been a way of life for many families for many generations, maybe it’s time to consider alternative jobs and job training. If you haven’t yet read it, you might want to check out this fascinating book on one player in the WV coal industry, The Price of Justice by Laurence Leamer.  For an in-depth look at some of the effects of coal mining on folks in West Virginia, consider watching Burning The Future:  Coal in America: 

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