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A Healthier Society

The impacts that the extracting and burning of fossil fuels have on the Earth are well documented, but just how much are humans and societies affected? There are dangers present in both mining and transporting coal, in addition to the impacts of burning it. This all leads to several areas of concern for maintaining healthy societies in close proximity to mines.

Residents of counties that live near coal mines have increased health risks and heightened chances of suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), disabling pneumoconiosis, forced vital lung capacity (FVC), cardiac disease and a variety of birth defects. Connections to these increased risks can be found several miles from the mining sites. These statistics are in addition to the mountains of evidence that show adverse health risks to the miners themselves, who according to the CDC are among the most exposed employees to negative long term health risks in any United States profession.

In comparing coal mines to solar and wind farms, the more sustainable option is clear, both environmentally and for societal health. Renewable systems need no fuel, they depend on trade only to acquire raw materials and components during construction. Once renewable systems begin operating, no trade is required to sustain them. Thus, renewable energy production is not exposed to the political risks that plague fossil fuel production and shipments. While some coal lobbyists have claimed that solar farms release harmful electromagnetic fields into neighboring communities, the World Health Organization has studied this extensively and found no evidence that it is harmful to human health. This is another faulty attempt to discount renewables and is no better than the coal industry’s claim that transitions are unwarranted because of a “lack of familiarity and concerns about fairness”. To create urgency in doing this, they need investors' help. Investments in coal help promote false claims against renewables and slow down transitions to the healthier and safer alternative.


Can Having Solar Panels or Living Near a Solar Farm Increase Your Cancer Risk? 2022,,World%20Health%20Organization%20(WHO

2. Coal Mine Dust Exposures and Associated Health Outcomes, 2011,

3. On the reduced supply chain risks and mining involved in the transition from coal to wind, 2022,

4. Proximity to coal mines and mortality rates in the Appalachian Region of the United States: a spatial econometric analysis, 2021,

5. Turning a coal state to a green state: Identifying themes of support and opposition to decarbonize the energy system in the United States, 2021,


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