There's an old folk song about some long ago mining disaster where men died. "Dark as a dungeon way donw in the mine..."
Perhaps we should each think of that next time we flick a light switch and power instantly lights our way.
In all the economics and science and engineering of energy--fossil fuels or renewable, wind or oil, nuclear or biofuel, we rarely hear any calculus, any caluclation that says, "humans."
Here's a touching piece about the men, so far no women, who have continued to dig coal so that we may see. And a portion of coal miners will continue to die, it seems.
As in all things relating to economy and energy these days, China trumps the U.S. While a few men died and were injured in the recent Utah mining disaster, China's just lost dozens, perhaps more than 180 miners. The attempt to find Chinese miners inundated in two mines continues.
So as nations and corporations and energy experts grope toward our future, one birght idea would be to find sources less dangerous to our fellow men. Sure, we need to think profit, dependable source, abundance of resource, but the calculus of energy could use a factor representing human risk. Is coal energy really so cheap when you start thinking of the value of the men who have died and will die to bering it out of the earth?