Coal is our country’s dirtiest energy source, from mining to burning to disposing of coal waste. The case could be made that coal is literally killing us. Case in point? At more than 70 sites across the country, toxins like arsenic, mercury, and radium are leaching into groundwater from pond-like storage pits filled with the sludgy leftovers of coal burning. That’s the most alarming takeaway from reports that the coal industry was required to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency. Coal ash is the toxic waste left over from coal-burning power plants and contains some of some of the deadliest known toxic chemicals, including heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury, and chromium. Exposure to these toxins raise your risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and can inflict permanent brain damage on children. But there is hope that the forces necessary to stop the burning of coal are making progress. There is a major campaign that is uniting grassroots activists across the country to move America Beyond Coal. Join us to learn from Mary Anne the bad, the ugly and the good and be inspired to become part of the solution. This show made possible due to the generous support of Tank’s Green Stuff.

Join us for the second of our five-part series spotlighting women leading the charge to address global warming. We believe there is no better moment to accelerate the cause of gender equality around the world, than by raising the voices of brilliant women who are creating positive change by doing the good thing for the planet.



  • Coal is the United States’ dirtiest energy source – can a case be made that coal is literally killing us?
  • The Beyond Coal campaign’s main objective is to unite grassroots activists across the country to move America beyond coal.
  • Until recently, about ½ of the United States electricity came from coal – from about 500 coal firing plants.
  • Coal is the biggest contributor to climate change in the United States and the biggest source of toxic pollution in the United States.
  • Reducing our alliance on coal is what the Beyond Coal Campaign is all about.
  • The two ways that human beings are most often exposed to pollution from coal is in the air and the water. Current estimates are about 7,000 people are dying prematurely from air pollution from coal firing plants. In the water, coal ash is seeping in the water and delivering nasty chemicals like lead, arsenic and mercury into drinking water.
  • Asthma rates in adults and kids, living near old, uncontrolled coal plants is extremely high.
  • Closing a coal plant creates immediate positive results in air quality. Learn more on this podcast!
  • Is there such a thing as clean coal? Mary Anne responds to this question and details why her response is what it is – join the conversation on this podcast.
  • What motivated Mary Anne to start doing this work? It is a passionate; inspiring story and you might find that you have something in common with her.
  • The Beyond Coal Campaign has three main goals: stop the construction of new coal plants; retire 2/3 of the current operating coal plants by 2020; and by 2030, have a power grid in the United States that is free from fossil fuels. Want to know how the process is going to achieve these goals? Mary Anne shares all of the great news during this podcast – listen now!
  • Who is making the decisions on what energy sources we use in the United States? You might be pleasantly surprised by what Mary Anne has to say!
  • The human story is a powerful one when it comes to the history of coal use and what it means to move to renewable resources and away from coal. Mrs. Green and Mary Anne reflect on the factors involved and the human stories that need to be heard.
  • What messages do we get when we begin revolutions and what happens when that revolution rises up and the people take the power? Mary Anne and Mrs. Green reflect on the passion and importance of taking action – like teachers standing up in West Virgina and #RedforEd in Arizona – join the conversation on this podcast.