“Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.” – Martin Luther King
We may never be able to see individual carbon dioxide molecules as they rises from the smokestacks into the atmosphere. We won’t be able to point to one atom and say “that’s the one the melted the polar ice caps”. But that doesn’t mean we can’t expose the other injustices that occur every day from dirty energy… and tracking them down just got a little easier.
Yesterday, ILoveMountains.org, a collaboration of groups across Appalachian fighting mountaintop removal coal mining, released a new tool called “My Connection” that allows you to trace the source of the coal burned at power plants across the US – so that none of us can avoid our personal connection to this destructive practice. Check out the Wallstreet Journal coverage.
Give it a whirl and you’ll be amazed what you find. Here’s what I learned. As I type this post from our office in Richmond, Virgina my computer is drawing electricity from Dominion-owned “Cogentrix of Richmond” power plant. Surprise surprise. This power plant burns coal from mountaintop removal coal mined just across our border in West Virginia. Our Takoma Park, MD office gets its power from the Potomac River power plant in Alexandria, VA, which burns coal from a mountaintop removal site in Wise County, Virginia. Where does your coal come from?
But that’s not all. Two other tools were also released last week which help us “expose the injustice” of coal. Sierra Club released a new tool to track all proposed coal-fired power plants in the US and CARMA (Carbon Monitoring for Action) released the first international database of pollution, power plant by power plant. You can track by plant, by region, or by company. Check it out.
So what now? We’ve got the knowledge. We’ve got the power. We can point to the source, measure the pollution, and trace it back to its source. Now we need to spread the knowledge. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper on the sources of coal of your local power plant. Bring the issue to your church or temple or mosque or friends circle. Use this tool to educate your community – and then ask them to take part in promoting a clean energy revolution. Because while global warming may still seem invisible to some, it’s pretty hard to look the other way when your computer is blowing up mountains.