Photos used in animation via NASA Earth Observatory, remixed by @jaiden0
A couple weeks ago, I shared some NASA satellite photos that captured the destruction wrought by a West Virginia mountaintop removal mining operation over the course of 25 years. The images were taken above the Hobet coal mine, beginning in 1984, and every couple years until the present -- needless to say, they paint a grim picture of the devastating practice known as MTR mining. One of our readers, who goes by the Twitter handle @jaiden0, created this GIF animation using the photos -- allowing you to witness 25 years of mountaintop removal mining in around 10 seconds. The result is stunning.I wrote in the initial post about these photos that "the reckless, greed-driven hubris that allows us to justify blowing up age-old mountains to get cheaper coal isn't surprising, however -- it's pretty much right in tune with plenty of our exploits over the last few centuries. Yet we also possess the innate ability to subsequently feel really bad about what we've done -- so maybe looking at these NASA satellite photos, which document, year by year, the destruction of a mountain for coal-mining, will cause coal barons the nation over to change their ways."
I was half-kidding at the end, but serious about the general point: We humanfolk do awful stuff -- like that gaping hole in the side of this chunk of once-forested, once-mountainous West Virgina -- but we do have the capacity to recognize that wrongdoing, too. It's why the vast majority of Americans oppose mountaintop removal mining when they hear about it.
And it's why creative remixes and animations -- modern incarnations of folk art that can go viral -- are integral in the fight to end this destructive, unthinkably stupid practice. Spread the word -- share this animation.
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More on Mountaintop Removal Mining
Scientists Say Mountaintop Removal Mining Should Be Banned
Biggest Financers of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Exposed
EPA Halts Largest Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine in West Virginia