Nearly half of the electricity in the United States is generated by burning rocks from the Caboniferous Period, yet most of us remain blissfully ignorant of the dirty details--the mountaintops dynamited, streams and valleys filled with rubble, mercury and soot filling our air, carbon dioxide warming our planet. What would it look like, Sierra wondered, if we could actually see how much coal it took to power our homes? We ran the numbers and came up with the following surprising results on the dirty business of coal power. It's time for a cleaner alternative.
78 lbs: Amount of coal it takes to run a dryer for a month in an average U.S. household that relies on electricity from a coal-fired power plant.
Photography by Lauren Burke