News May 24, 2012
‘Inside the Greenhouse’ students hone a message
Maxwell Boykoff. View Biography
Clara Boland didn’t fully appreciate coal’s role in her life until she did some digging. That meant going to Paonia, a small town in Western Colorado, which has mined coal for more than a century.
Boland’s aim was to create a short documentary film for a course on conveying climate science through film. Her journey began in Boulder, where young people called coal “yesterday’s fuel,” dirty and toxic.
Longtime Paonia residents like Alan Austin said it’s easy to “sit in our ivory towers and look down at coal miners.” Actual life in a coal town is not, he said, so black and white.
As Boyd Boland, Clara’s father, said on screen, coal fuels the American dream, providing good-paying jobs. “Without coal, I don’t think this community could survive.”
Boland acknowledges that burning coal produces greenhouse gases and harmful airborne particulates. “But when you’re here, those problems are somebody else’s problems.”
In the film’s final scene, Clara Boland strides across a small mountain of coal. She says that the North Fork Valley— a tightknit area that feels more distinctly western than the resort towns on the other side of McClure Pass—needs a “shift in thinking,” and that Paonians can create safe, new jobs in clean energy.
News Source: Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine
ENVS Faculty: Maxwell Boykoff
ENVS News Category: Media Story
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