on 07 June 2009

Coal mining is a huge part of the Appalachian economy. Coal is a "fossil fuel" which is the accumulation of ancient plants that died 540-240 millions of years ago in "coal swamps". It's so abundant down here that a geologic period was named the "Pennsylvanian" to reflect this. This point in Earth's history was dominated by ferns and gymnosperms with many winged insects and amphibians as the dominate land creatures. This was much earlier than the age of dinosaurs.

In the early 1900's, the burning of these "fossil fuels" became routine in our lives as we heated our homes and filled up our cars with this "stored sunlight". The sun is the ultimate source of energy on the planet and fossil fuels represent a very concentrated form of sunlight that gives off enormous amounts of energy when lit. Think about how easy it is to light your stove, ignite a lighter, turn on your car, and start your furnace.

Sadly we import a large amount of fossil fuels from the middle east in the form of oil to do the above activities. Many suggest we should be relying more on our country's abundance of coal. Coal, however, pollutes the air more than other fossil fuels. In addition, it it common practice down here to extract it from the Earth through "Mountain-Top Removal". This is where companies go into the mountains and dig through a whole mountain to clear out the coal like in the picture above. This is an ugly process that puts pollution into streams an is an eyesore from above. There is a movement to ban this practice but we need more public support. These companies are careful not to do it where people can see it (next to highways or close to where people live). If you'd like to voice your concern about this please visit this website to help and learn more. Click here for a Google Earth tour of mountaintop removal.

Instead of fossil fuels, let's Go Green! I'm interested to hear about what you all know about "alternative" forms of energy. How can we create electricity without causing pollution? Please leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

just want say hi.Doesnt the mountains kind of look like water slides

hope you are having fun

Anonymous said...

Solar Hot Water!

Ms. B. said...

So, in a 100 years or so, we have depleted what took the earth millions of years to make. The math seems a bit scary, doesn't it? Much like a lot of thinking, I just can't see it working for long. I hope lots think of alternatives, going green.

Anonymous said...

I have already gone green

Anonymous said...

That is verry amazing i have never seen anthing like that.


Anonymous said...

Very cool Mr.DeVeo

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