It was West Virginia earlier in the month and Kentucky today. Recent coal mine deaths have brought the danger of coal mining back into the spotlight. I just ache every time I hear about a mining disaster. The loss of so many community members at once, and often times multiple members from the same family, is so tragic. In addition to the human loss, unless you live nearby, it is often easy to be unaware of the environmental damage caused by mining. Whether the scars are resulting from the clearly visible mountaintop removal or the often invisible waste left behind as tailings seep into groundwater, mining severely degrades the environment.
In chorus with the recent mining tragedies, the oil industry is also in distress. Yet, I am surprised that even with eleven people missing from the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, the potential for environmental devastation from the leaking oil seems to be eclipsing the heartbreak of missing workers. Loss of human life and loss of ecosystem viability are both tragedies.
Some involved in resource extraction are enjoying excessive earnings, but the workers, their families and the environment are not among them. The Greenpeace website is packed with information and photos about the Deepwater Horizon debacle. They also have multiple resources about renewable energy and the new Cape Cod wind farm.
Why isn’t renewable energy given more funding for research, development and installation in homes and businesses? What can you do to decrease your need for oil, coal and other nonrenewable resources? We have renewable options available through Portland General Electric. Do you have renewable energy available in your area?