Northwestern’s Peace Project hosted “The True Cost of Coal: Mountaintop Removal and the Fight for Our Future” on Monday night, which featured an elaborate mural focusing on the history and impact of coal removal methods.
Tyler Norman from the Beehive Design Collective, an initiative that uses hand-drawn artwork to describe complex issues, presented the mural, titled “The True Cost of Coal,” which focused on mountaintop coal removal’s implication for both local communities and the nation.
Mountains are like cakes, Norman said, with layers of coal resting in between layers of bedrock. In order to access this coal, mining companies use explosives to remove the mountaintops.
“It’s almost impossible to believe that it’s true,” said Norman, explaining the complexities of the process to a crowd of about 25 people.
This removal results in a wide variety of ecological effects, Norman said. In Appalachia, an area that has been damaged by mountaintop removal, Norman said hundreds of mountains that formerly appeared on maps no longer exist. The process has also damaged community water sources, he said.
By lowering mountains and raising valleys, Norman said mountaintop removal has transformed beautiful land into a “devastated