Thursday, 17 December 2015

Rule #21: Coal mining

I had no idea we still mined coal. Not on a grand scale anyway. I thought coal went out with crappy western movies and chastity belts. Apparently I was misinformed. I kinda figured our power came from wind, water, rainbows and unicorns. So it looks like your Christmas stocking is not safe after all.
The United States produces about 35%, or 1 billion tons, of the world's coal supply—more than any other country. The world’s largest producers and consumers of coal are China (go figure), Poland, Russia, India and the United States.
There’s a shit-ton of coal (about 200 years worth in America) so we can feel confidant that we can continue to mine it and be long gone before our kids have to clean up the mess and find another source of energy. And it’s cheap. So there’s lots of money to be made which is why we don’t have to worry about coal going anywhere soon. Unfortunately, It’s also dirty. Basically, coal is black, cheap and dirty. Kinda reminds me of an old girlfriend; “Laquisha von Chardonnay”. But I digress.
40% of human-caused co2 emissions are the result of burning coal and it’s the #1 source of man-made greenhouse gases. It should also be a major concern as the largest contributor to global warming. Coal mining involves the process of mountain top removal, which removes the topsoil leaving nothing but shale while the top of the mountain is dumped in valleys and rivers. It’s not impervious to environmental disasters either. One spill of toxic coal sludge in Tennessee resulted in a disaster twenty times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill.
Although an economically viable way of creating energy, the answer is not just finding a better, cleaner energy source, but reducing our dependency. We need to use less, consume less and burn less.

Also interesting:

  • The average coal miner is 45 years old and has 20 years of experience. 
  • Each person in the United States uses 3.8 tons of coal each year. 
  • Coal is black in colour.
  • I have never put coal in my kids stockings. Yet.

 In the new world, we will break up with dirty energy like coal the way I did with dirty "Laquisha von Chardonnay."

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