On April 5th 2010, the big news story of the day was about the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster
. We were riveted as we waited for news of survivors. None came
. Twenty-nine people were dead. That number is comprised of 13 fathers, 29 sons, 14 husbands, 3 grandfathers, uncles, coaches, brothers… not to mention the other roles these men had as providers, friends, and loved ones. 24 children lost their fathers and 6 grandchildren lost their grandfathers. These numbers were hard to come by and are most likely low because some miners didn’t have obituaries, but it’s the best I could figure from my research. Many of the miners were too young to be married and start families. One man was just 5 weeks from retirement and had booked a cruise for he and his wife to celebrate that May. And that is just the story of one. This was the worst coal disaster in US history since 1970.
Then 15 days later the story vanished from the headlines.
On Tuesday, April 20th 2010, an oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana. The Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 men
. Among them, 9 fathers, 10 husbands, 11 sons, uncles, co-workers… not to mention AGAIN the other roles these men had as providers, friends, and loved ones. 17 children are left fatherless as a result of this tragedy. One child, the second child of Gordon Jones and his wife, was born weeks after his father died and will never feel his father’s embrace.
I guess that I made these images to help us remember that it’s not just pelicans and otters that get covered in our excavated non-renewable resources. As a culture we are neck deep in it and we, each ONE of us, needs to find our own small ways
to help curb this addiction we have on non-renewable energy.