Home | About | Donate

King Coal Is Dead!


King Coal Is Dead!

Laura Gottesdiener

In Appalachia, explosions have leveled the mountain tops into perfect race tracks for Ryan Hensley’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV). At least, that’s how the 14-year-old sees the barren expanses of dirt that stretch for miles atop the hills surrounding his home in the former coal town of Whitesville, West Virginia.

“They’re going to blast that one next,” he says, pointing to a peak in the distance. He’s referring to a process known as “mountain-top removal,” in which coal companies use explosives to blast away hundreds of feet of rock in order to unearth underground seams of coal.


The conditions cited here are a microcosm of our planet. Everything is sacrificed for profit. Beauty and clean air and water, forests, valleys and streams, wildlife and even the mountains themselves as well as of course … humanity. The people - the miners …all were expendable. Such is our world where the same things and us are expendable and considered legitimate sacrifices to the goal of profit. Everything around us appears to be endangered. Our oceans are dying, our forests are burning, our aquifers are being drained and on and on.

As went West Virginia so goes planet Earth… it just may take a little while longer to see it.


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley


And along with coal, we so dearly need to get rid of those rednecks on the ATV’s - called “quads” a little further north in Pennsylvania.


I understand your reasoning in including this famous poem but I am hoping that we will all escape that fate. Too futuristic dytopian after the apocalypse for me. Although it may end up that way… I hope it doesn’t.

Up until the very end I will be the guy rooting for interstellar travel via wormholes etc. I am all for hearing >>> "Oh no, here come those Earthlings… there goes the neighborhood!

There is too much pathos in thinking that we remained stuck on this one planet and we disappeared leaving only crumbling ruins amid the dust.