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Episode 32: Coal Miners Speak Out

Michael Ray Whitten

Michael Ray Whitten

Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCL volunteer Peterson Toscano. Browse all our past episode recaps here, or listen to past episodes here, and check out the latest episode in the post below.

In this month’s podcast, two coal miners from Appalachia open up about the risks and challenges of mining. Michael Ray Whitten from West Virginia and Nick Mullins from Kentucky come from families that have been mining for generations. They talk to podcast host, Peterson Toscano, about the physical toll mining had on their fathers. After seeing the damage to miners and to the land, they are now speaking out about the need to transition away from coal mining jobs.

Dr. Natasha DeJarnett from the National Environmental Health Association also joins the conversation to talk about Black Lung Disease and the health risks miners in rural communities face. Listen in to this informative and moving discussion.



Art House

In the Art House section of the podcast, you will meet Michelle Irizarry. She a visual artist and civil engineer living in Orlando, Florida. As a result of climate change, she has seen a big transformation in her work as an artist. Hear about her powerful new paintings and the role of art in her life as she deepens her understanding of climate change.

Michelle IrizarryPuzzler

We also have answers to last month’s puzzler: “What do you say your co-worker, Janet, wants nothing to do with your bipartisan climate group because it includes conservatives?” Two listeners share how they would address Janet’s fears and doubts.

Here’s a new puzzler question for this month. At a family gathering, you are chatting with your cousin, Dan. You mention climate change, and he has a meltdown. He says, “I feel so discouraged. All over the world you have leaders in Brazil, the U.S., and parts of Canada opposing any action on climate change. I hate to give up, but maybe we just have to wait a couple of years before we can do anything about it.” What do you say to Dan to help address this discouragement he has? If national leaders are not acting on climate change, what can we do?

Send Peterson your answers by Feb. 15, 2019, along with your name, contact info, and where you are from. You can email your answers to radio @ or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414 (+1 if calling from outside the USA).

Dig Deeper

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Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCL volunteer Peterson Toscano.