Today more than 1,200 people are gathering in Frankfort, Ky., to celebrate I Love Mountains Day and call for an end to mountaintop removal coal mining, a destructive practice that has shortened lifespans and caused illnesses in Central Appalachia for decades.
The iLoveMountains.org team has just launched an innovative new web tool to illustrate the overwhelming amount of data that shows the high human cost of coal mining, and we invite you to check it out!
"The Human Cost of Coal" page maps national data including poverty rates from the 2010 U.S. Census, birth defect rates from the Center for Disease Control, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and life expectancy and population numbers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The site also includes summaries for twenty one peer-reviewed studies that show human health problems such as heart, respiratory and kidney diseases, cancer, low birth weight and serious birth defects are significantly higher in communities near mountaintop removal mine sites.
Ada Smith, a resident of Letcher County Kentucky explains the significance of "The Human Cost of Coal":
"Though many of the (health) studies state the obvious for those of us living in these communities, the scientific facts give us much-needed evidence to make sure our laws are truly enforced for the health of our land and people. If we choose to not pay attention to these recent studies we are deciding to make Appalachia a sacrifice zone. What we do to the land, we do to the people."