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"Big Coal's" goal is to keep us comfortable not curious!

  • Nov 27, 2008
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That line lifted from page 174 of Jeff Goodell's new book "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future" seems to sum up the situation in a nutshell.   And the preponderance of evidence suggests that the industry strategy is really quite effective. The average American does not want to hear it and the vast majority of our political leaders are loathe to support any policies that would require even a scintilla of sacrifice on the part of any of their constituents.   Author Jeff Goodell spent a full three years researching and writing "Big Coal".  This is a book that is long overdue. 

Very few Americans, even the most well read among us, could rattle off the names of the leading coal companies in this nation.   "Out of sight, out of mind" has served this industry very well indeed!!    By writing "Big Coal" Jeff Goodell hopes to shine the spotlight on this industry and help to provoke a long overdue discussion about America's energy future.  It is a conversation we can no longer afford to delay.   The American people remain blissfully unaware of just how much coal it takes to provide the energy each of us use so cavalierly on a daily basis.   Neither do we realize the hidden costs of burning so much coal Acid rain, increasingly violent weather, damage to wildlife and fauna and myriad health problems are the legacies of the ill-advised energy policies we have been pursuing in this nation for several decades.   Each of us needs to educate ourselves about these important issues and begin to make informed choices about the energy we consume.  When at long last people begin to stop and think about the way they use energy the situation could improve dramatically.  

 I think "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future" is an excellent way for individuals and families to get up to speed on these issues.  I must say that I learned a lot about a topic I knew embarassingly little about.  The book is very well written and extremely well researched.  A great book to provoke discussion in the classroom or at the dinner table.      Recommended reading. 
Coal Mine Mine Entrance Coal Car

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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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From The Washington Post
In January, the nation watched, transfixed, as 13 coal miners were trapped underground at West Virginia's Sago mine, only to learn that all but one had perished. That same month, four other men lost their lives in Appalachian mines. Five more miners were killed in May in an underground blast in southeastern Kentucky, bringing this year's fatalities to more than 30 and adding to a mining-related death toll that has risen to more than 100,000 since the start of the 20th century.

Even that grim total, however, pales in comparison to the number of Americans who die prematurely each year from the fine-particle pollution emanating from the coal-fired power plants these miners supply with fuel: 24,000 each year, according to the American Lung Association. That toll -- coupled with the impact that the burning of fossil fuels is having on the Earth's climate -- must be weighed against the cheap electricity that coal has given us for nearly 150 years.

Jeff Goodell's new Big Coal explores this tension in depth, comparing Americans' energy habits to the behavior of a Bowery junkie: "We keep telling ourselves it's time to come clean, without ever actually doing it." The book's strength lies in Goodell's ability to connect our mundane daily activities, such as flipping on the living room lights and powering up our laptops, with the grimy business that powers these things. "Most of us have no idea how central coal is to our everyday lives or what our relationship ...

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ISBN-10: 0618872248
ISBN-13: 978-0618872244
Author: Jeff Goodell
Genre: Natural Resources, Oil & Energy, Business & Finance, Earth Sciences, Conservation, Chemistry, Mining, Geology, Energy, Prospecting & Mining, General
Publisher: Mariner Books
Date Published: April 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
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