Coal: It’s So Yesterday

I confess that when I was asked to write a story about Indiana’s Beyond Coal movement for Indiana Living Green, part of me was a bit ho-hum at the prospect.

Sure, the two ladies leading the fight (Megan Anderson and Jodi Perras, my two profilees) are amazing specimens of fierce feminine energy, each hailing from a different generation, an interesting duo. And of course, I am totally down with clean energy.

It’s just: I’d rather write about yummy stuff, like food, or farming, or foraging. I am drawn to tales of those remaking the world in intriguing, innovative ways. That new emerging story is what energizes me. And sometimes the hard work of calling a halt to the old story seems so…tired.

By Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

By Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

I mean, we all know that coal is bad for the environment and our health. What more is there to say?

So I thought. Then I talked to Megan and Jodi, and got a first-hand glimpse of what’s at stake. I saw that not only are they pushing to retire these decrepit coal plants, they are holding a vision of an Indiana where residents are choosing from an array of clean energy options, even generating their own energy. An Indiana where people have secure jobs that they feel good about, contributing to a cleaner state. An Indiana on the cutting edge.

By Mhassan abdollahi, via Wikimedia Commons

By Mhassan abdollahi, via Wikimedia Commons

Now that’s exciting.

I was moved to hear Jodi talk about the group meditation where she visualized her descendants asking what she did to fix the climate crisis. Isn’t this something we all think about, what kind of world might be next?

I got fired up hearing their passion for righting the injustices wrought by Big Coal. I learned that children who have the misfortune to be born poor are disproportionately impacted by the health effects of coal—resulting in learning disabilities, asthma, autism, and lowered IQs.

How fair is it that poor kids are effectively trapped into a cycle of poverty because of lifelong difficulties linked to our state’s over-reliance on coal?

Then I learned that coal is ever more costly. And it just seems like a no-brainer from there.

Read the piece for the full scoop. You can join the Beyond Coal Indiana movement at the Sierra Club’s website or contact Megan Anderson at

One thought on “Coal: It’s So Yesterday

  1. Pingback: We Can’t Afford Coal | Shawndra Miller

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