The makers of a new documentary are fundraising for coal communities as they seek a just transition.
Some time ago, I wrote a post asking whether environmentalists had failed West Virginia—taking on the mighty coal industry, but failing to support the communities whose livelihoods were once so dependent on the black stuff.
A new National Geographic documentary called From the Ashes delves into just this question, charting not only the ongoing decline of the coal industry and the activists and market forces that are helping make that happen, but also the impact on communities that have so far been left behind.
It's important to note, however, that coal companies have long since ceased being the lifeblood of regional economies that so many politicians pretend they are. Between mechanization and mountaintop removal, the number of coal mining jobs was plummeting even when we all expected coal to keep growing for decades.
Still, it would behoove the environmental movement to work with coal communities to find alternatives, and that's exactly what the makers of From the Ashes are doing. In fact, they've launched a fundraising campaign to support the transition from coal, with funds going to Coalfield Development Corporation, the Just Transition Fund, and the Western Organization of Resource Councils. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which helped fund From the Ashes, will even match a portion of your donation and cover all administrative costs. From solar power and sustainable agriculture to property renovation and landscape renewal, there are so many ways that the resourceful communities which once mined coal are getting to work healing the scars left in its wake.
It's good to see the movement stepping up to demonstrate that anti-coal does not mean anti-coal miner. With coal communities around the world getting on board with a just transition, and with coal miners working to get solar on their museum, we can all play a part in supporting the communities which once helped power our homes.