Thursday, August 23, 2007

considering the high cost & demand of coal

After all the coal mine fatalities in the U.S. and China in the past several weeks, it gives me pause. Last year there were twice as many miner deaths (47) in the U.S. than in the year prior, bringing the death toll of U.S. miners to a ten year high. In China the death rate for miners is staggering. Last year nearly 5,000 coal miners died in work related accidents. I guess we shouldn’t be terribly surprised at these tragedies considering the high demand for electric power. It’s likely and probable that safety measures take a backseat to production.

Since my rural electric is powered by coal I cannot help but think about these tragedies and consider the high cost involved when I turn on a light or a fan or any electrical item. Someone is out there, working, perhaps miles underground, risking their safety to do a job I certainly wouldn’t want to do just so I can keep cool, listen to music, watch tv, cook dinner, enjoy a hot shower…All in all this makes me realize just how much I have taken these things and the people whose work provides these services, for granted.

So, even though I already practice ways to decrease my need for and my cost of electric power, I now consider the other costs involved and find it easier to turn those unnecessary lights out or unplug those appliances not in use. Perhaps my awareness doesn’t make a difference or an impact in the long run, but I can feel a little more peaceful by lessening my demand while hoping to one day go solar.

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