"I am tired of human life being worth less than a piece of coal."
"We are human beings and we are demanding our human rights over corporate rights!"
"Mountaintop bombing is the cheapest way for them to get the coal and that's why they do it. Blow up an entire mountain for a coal seam."
"We need to stop allowing the rich to get richer and the poor to keep dying, because that's what this is. It's all about money."
2010 by the numbers-- Coal Industry Taking Its LumpsSo what's the best way to accomplish the phase-out of coal? That question, with its use of the singular "way," may be wrongly phrased. One mistake that activists tend to make is "marrying" a particular solution to a problem. Not only does this result in unnecessary infighting, as factions line up behind their favorite options, it also ignores the reality that changing the world is always a messy endeavor, and tactics often work better in combination than in isolation.In researching my book Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Coal, I investigated why investor Warren Buffett decided to cancel six new coal plants that his company PacifiCorp was planning to build as recently as 2007. The answer turned out to be surprisingly complicated, involving no less than 10 different causal factors working in combination, including direct action protests, petition drives, renewable portfolio standards, rising construction costs, competition from wind power, lawsuits, the prospect of climate legislation, and more.Across the country, the Buffett story has been repeated again and again, as underdog grassroots activists in state after state have taken on and defeated Big Coal and King Kilowatt. As of late February, activists had derailed 97 of the 151 new plants that were in the pipeline in May 2007. Since 2001, according to the Sierra Club, 126 coal plants have been stopped. In 2009, not a single new coal plant broke ground. All this was accomplished even though the U.S. still lacks any sort of comprehensive climate policy. Rather than one overarching tactic or policy, the rush to build new coal plants was stopped by a broad, feisty movement that inflicted a "death of a thousand cuts."
“It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”