The coal industry is coming to the end of its life. This is good for people whose health is harmed by the pollution it creates, but bad for the workers and communities whose jobs are connected to it.
Coal communities deserve better than to decline with it, which means the transition must be as just as it is fast. Coal is the world’s dirtiest energy source. It is a major contributor to climate change, has devastating effects on public health, and communities that live near mines suffer not only from air and water pollution, but also from being displaced from their homes, as their lands are eaten up by mine expansion. Coal plants across Europe are closing fast, but we need to close them faster to protect human health and our climate. To do this, we need to ensure that coal workers and communities have plenty of support to build new lives beyond coal. Taking care of those communities at risk from the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy must be a priority. While each community’s needs are different, the goal is the same everywhere: a just transition for all as we work towards a future with clean air, clean water, and a safe climate. These are the stories of people and their families who have suffered from the devastating effects of coal mining.