The recent coal mine disaster in West Virginia reminds me how far we are now from sustainable economic development, worldwide, under both more-or-less-free-market and more-or-less-planned economies. The response (or lack thereof) of the mine owner to safety issues in his mines has been shocking, but what goes on routinely in other parts of the world is too. China mines about twice as much coal as the U.S., using about 10 times the workforce, with probably about 100 times the casualties (thousands of deaths a year). And the environmental impact of coal mining (and other mining) is huge, negative, and notorious.
Also reminding me of the un-sustainability of our current path is Ben Sollee's new album with Daniel Martin Moore that protests mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. (I've only heard one song so far, but it was fine. I mean to hear more. Ben really impressed me when I saw him open for Vienna last year.)
It's laudable that Vienna wants to be part of a solution. The challenge, however, is daunting.
Remember Earth Day, April 22.
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.