The Big Picture on coal : how it is simply killing us

My friend and fellow French blogger Olivier Jacquemet twitted me earlier this month about a series of photographies showing the truly horrible side of coal, the most polluting and emitting fossil fuels.’s big picture series show how it is literally destroying lives and engulfing cities. After watching these pictures you will never wonder why The Economist dubbed it the environmental enemy number one.

Meanwhile in China, a coal-mining accident claimed three more lives. This is business as usual as six people die in coal mines in China every single day…

Here is the introduction of the 48-picture series :

Coal occupies a central position in modern human endeavors. Last year over 7000 megatons were mined worldwide. Powerful, yet dirty and dangerous, use of coal is expanding every year, with 2010 witnessing a production increase of 6.8%. Around 70 countries have recoverable reserves, which some estimates claim will last for over a hundred years at current production levels.

Mining for coal is one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. While deadliest in China, where thousands of miners die annually, the profession is still hazardous in the West and other regions as well. Our mining and use of coal accounts for a variety of environmental hazards, including the production of more CO2 than any other source.

Other concerns include acid rain, groundwater contamination, respiratory issues, and the waste products which contain heavy metals. But our lives as lived today rely heavily on the combustible sedimentary rock. Over 40% of the world’s electricity is generated by burning coal, more than from any other source.

Chances are that a significant percentage of the electricity you’re using to read this blog was generated by burning coal. Gathered here are images of coal extraction, transportation, and the impact on environment and society. The first eight photographs are by Getty photographer Daniel Berehulak, who documented the lives of miners in Jaintia Hills, India.

Please make sure to watch the whole series as this is an absolute must see. Thanks Olivier for giving me the link ! 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Big Picture on coal : how it is simply killing us”

  1. I haven’t had the time to check if they haven’t done so already. I am sure they did as nobody can ignore renewables anymore.

    Will have a look soon. Anyway, thanks for the idea 🙂

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