Welcome to QuitCoal.org
Twenty years ago I started my environmental career as a kid on the West Side off Chicago. Plans had been announced to build a waste incinerator just miles from my home, threatening my community with toxic fly ash and toxic metal emissions. I was too young to understand the science behind it or the dangerous health affects, but I knew a corporation wanted to pollute in my community, putting my family's health in danger, and I knew it was wrong.
At the same time I found out my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I didn't know the cause of her cancer, but I knew no other kid deserved to have their family members get sick from preventable causes like toxic ash and coal pollution. Others in my community, young and old, felt the same way, and what happened next changed my life forever.
My friend's mom took me to community gatherings and we started to get organized. We joined our neighbors and friends at local rallies and turned out everyone we knew to city-run hearings. We talked to the media, brought in health experts, and testified in front of local officials. One group filed a lawsuit to stop the incinerators. At the time I didn't understand everything that was going on, but I felt this was important, and as kids do, I felt like we were invincible.
What I didn't realize then is that feeling of invincibility was what I'd call people power. I've had that feeling again many times over the last twenty years - speaking to tens of thousands of people in DC on Earth Day, working with thousands of people to influence the largest polluting companies in the world, and going back home to Chicago to rally with hundreds of people to shut down my hometown's two coal plants. Whether there's millions of us or just two, it's when people work together that we are powerful and can change the world.
Today we're facing the largest environmental problem we've ever seen - global warming - and fossil fuels are to blame. Fossil fuels account for more than 80% of US global warming pollution and as we know if it goes unchecked global warming threatens to fundamentally change the planet that has sustained our civilization. In the US, we’re already seeing some of the effects—wildfires tearing through western states, devastating floods in the midwest, and historic droughts in the southeast. Around the country, communities face devastating levels of water and air pollution as a result of coal burning power plants, which produce millions of tons of toxic sludge and smoke each year.
And the only thing standing between a green and sustainable world, and one where global warming forever changes our planet, is ourselves. It's not easy but it's simple - people power - and many are already paving the way. It's only when we work together that we can stop corporations from destroying our planet and polluting our communities in exchange for a profit. It's only when we work together that we can demand governments invest in clean and green energy like wind and solar and stop using taxpayer money to subsidize the multi-billion nuclear, coal and oil industries.
As was proven in the revolution that spread from Egypt to much of the Middle East, online social networks are a priceless tool to bring people together for massive change, and sites like this one allow for ideas to be shared, people to get connected, and for action to be coordinated. I welcome you all to QuitCoal.org. I encourage you to get involved here and in your communities, to be that integral piece of the movement, and help make us all invincible.