If you haven’t checked out the Full Cost of Accounting for the Life Cycle of for Coal, you should check it out. The very short take-home point is that coal costs the US approximately $500 billion a year. Coal is a drain on the pocketbooks of hundreds of millions of Americans. Never to be one on the sidelines of energy and activism, Sierra Club has been working hard to push for the closure of coal plants across the US in order to cut those costs.
As such, the Sierra Club was recently happy to report the retirement of the 150th coal plant. This is another significant event in its continuing campaign to cease coal production around our country. The Sierra Club’s alliances are of course made of local, regional, and national partners. Among its supporters are many celebrities. (In my opinion, one of the best reasons to become a celebrity is because you can then become such an influence, a force of nature, for change and education.) In the video below, the Sierra Club uses a little bit of celebrity power to highlight the closing of the 150th coal power plant in the US:
Here’s more from the Sierra Club:
With today’s announcement that the Brayton Point Power Station in Massachusetts would retire by 2017, the campaign officially marked 150 coal plants that have announced plans to retire since 2010, spurring record increases in clean energy.
Pollution from burning coal contributes to four out of five of the leading causes of death, in addition to being a major cause of asthma attacks. According to the Clean Air Task Force, retiring these 150 dirty and outdated coal plants will help to save 4,000 lives every year, prevent 6,200 heart attacks every year and prevent 66,300 asthma attacks every year. Retiring these plants will also avoid $1.9 billion in health costs.
Folks from the entertainment community have been speaking out. Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Villaraigosa have endorsed the transition. The end of coal is coming for communities across the country.
Beauty oftentimes has brains, as with model Elle Macpherson. Here’s a quote from the beautiful and thoughtful Sierra Club Ambassador:
I’m so inspired to know that the U.S. is now leading the world in reducing carbon pollution – showing that we can stop climate disruption. As a mom and as an advocate, I’m happy to share the good news that we’re cutting our pollution and leading a global movement to protect our kids and our planet. Climate change isn’t just an environmental issues, it’s a humanitarian issue that leads to suffering around the world. It’s important for us to act now.
And the following are more quotes from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Michael Brune, Edward James Olmos, and Ian Somerhalder:
“The closure of the Brayton Point Power Station is a powerful example of how local action can have a global impact,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “Over the last three years, action by individual communities – in partnership with the Sierra Club and Bloomberg Philanthropies – has led to the closure of 150 coal plants, one at a time. We will continue to support those who are on the ground working to close the nation’s dirty coal plants, which kill 13,000 Americans every year and threaten the future of our planet.”
“Plant by plant and community by community we are not only curbing our country’s carbon pollution, but we are also saving lives,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “By moving our country off of dirty, dangerous coal, we are creating new opportunities for clean energy and thousands of new American jobs to protect workers and public health. The transition from coal to clean energy can and will transform our economy by establishing a huge new sector of good jobs that power our communities without poisoning our children.”
Quote from activist Edward James Olmos:
“This is the most significant advancement in our history thus far to help usher in a clean energy future for all. I commend the Beyond Coal campaign for their work protecting families in low-income communities
who suffer the most from toxic, cancer-causing coal pollution. We must also continue to fight for good union jobs and a guaranteed livelihood for coal workers, who go to work every day to support their families and deserve safe and secure jobs. We can power our country without poisoning our children.”
Quote from actor and environmental activist Ian Somerhalder:
“It’s amazing to see how many people from different backgrounds have come together to build this movement. It fills me with immense hope to witness our youth standing up for their future — young people recognize most that keeping the old, outdated energy is much like staying in diapers. Our diverse, creative, collective youth present the single greatest resource out there – we must continue to enable and support them to innovate and champion smarter, more sustainable energy solutions.”
As utilities and energy companies realize that coal is an increasingly bad investment, they are transitioning their resources to cleaner, renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. Today, the United States has more than 60,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity, enough to power the equivalent of 15 million American homes. States including Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota already get more than 20% of their energy from wind power.
While we’re on the subject of the Sierra Club, don’t miss seeing the inspired origin of the Sierra Club in the film A Fierce Green Fire by Mark Kitchell, who also produced Berkeley in the Sixties. The first narrative is a visually stunning sharing of the conservation movement of the ‘60s, the Sierra Club, David Brower, and the battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon. The other 4 of the 5 stories shared in this film are likewise captivating.
Read more about this article and the community supporting clean energy transitions at Beyond Coal.
Read more about Full Cost of Accounting for the Life Cycle of for Coal.
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