Remember Gasland, the 2010 movie by Josh Fox that first alerted America to the horrors of fracking? From The Ashes does the same for coal. The documentary chronicles the rise of coal, its vital role in powering the Industrial Revolution, and the damage it has left in its wake.
The movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April to rave reviews. It was produced by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and his charitable foundation. Bloomberg is passionate about the subject of climate change and has recently pledged $15 million to assist states in meeting the costs of complying with the carbon reduction targets specified by the Paris accords.
After Donald Trump announced his plans to dismantle the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, National Geographic bought the television rights to the movie and will broadcast it for the first time on TV on June 25.
A description of the movie on the Tribeca Film Festival website describes it this way:
“A clear-eyed and intimate approach to a hot-button topic, From the Ashes captures Americans in communities across the country as they wrestle with the legacy of the coal industry, and what its future should be under the Trump Administration. In stories spanning from Appalachia to the West’s Powder River Basin, the film goes beyond the rhetoric of the “war on coal” to present compelling and often heartbreaking stories of individuals affected that speak to what’s at stake for our economy, health, and climate. From the Ashes invites audiences to learn more about an industry on the edge through the lived experiences of those most closely affected, to begin to chart a path forward for and our energy policy and our country itself.”
From The Ashes pays homage to the role coal has played in building the American economy, but also shows why it is time to move away from coal and rely on 21st century technology to power that economy in the future. After viewing the movie, John Kerry praised the film.
“I was riveted watching From the Ashes, not just a warning or a wake-up call, but a call to reason and common sense and a reminder that the same working people who have borne the greatest burden of dirty coal’s impact on their health are also the ones being cynically sold soundbites and scapegoats instead of real economic opportunity and jobs for their families.
“A must-watch for everyone because we should all be in this together. [Director] Michael Bonfiglo masterfully reveals the struggle of towns ravaged by the decline of an industry and the poison of pollution, while sharing the sad history that brought us to this point. Heartbreaking and enlightening at the same time. From the Ashes reminds us how much Americans yearn for the dignity of work, and just how much truth must be restored to our political dialogue before that can happen.”
Coal has become a hot button issue ever since Donald Trump ascended to the Oval Office thanks to a campaign that pandered heavily to unemployed coal miners. Trump repeatedly promised to put the miners back to work so that America could be covered in coal dust again, a promise he knew he had no chance of keeping (editor’s note: or he’s just that uninformed).
From The Ashes shows the full extent of Trump’s lies. It’s appointment TV. Mark your calendars and make it a point to watch this important film yourself on June 25.
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