MediaHUB Streaming Available
Burning the Future: Coal in America
Burning the Future: Coal in America
Burning the Future: Coal in America
Item#: BUR-974-D
License:  Format: 

Running Time: 89 minutes
Plus 56 minute Public Television Version
Gr. 6-Adult
David Novack
Coal Action Toolkit available on DVD-ROM


"Starred Review. Classes across the curriculum can utilize this film to explore the issues of clean coal and the politics of coal, and examine their own usage of electricity—powered by coal."
- School Library Journal

"Highly Recommended. Burning the Future casts a critical but fair-minded eye on coal mining in West Virginia."
- Video Librarian

"The flawless beauty of Novack's coverage of dynamited mountains, slurry pools and rapidly churned-out coal underscores the inexorability of the practice and the devastation in its wake."
- VARIETY, Ronnie Scheib

"Such a rich sense of place that it rips you up in ways that other, less-rooted documentaries don't. I cannot recommend it too highly."
- NEW YORK MAGAZINE, David Edelstein

"As upsetting as it is informative."
- NEW YORK TIMES, Matt Zoller Seitz

"A totally engaging exploration of an important and sensitive environmental issue...alongside An Inconvenient Truth, makes a major contribution to the sustainability debate."
- International Visual Communications Association Clarion Award

“A superbly balanced, focused, visual and personal narrative….This brilliant documentary does not tell us WHAT to think, but it demands that we DO engage and join the profoundly important discussion about the shape of our energy future.”
– Society of Environmental Journalists


-Pare Lorentz Award Winner, Best Social Documentary of 2008
- Outstanding Beat/In-Depth Reporting, Television Society of Environmental Journalists
-Clarion Award Winner for Communication of Diversity, Sustainable Development and Ethical Debate


Link TV 2008


All prices include DVD and PPR

Public Libraries-Circulation Only: $24.95
K-12 Schools & Public Libraries w/PPR: $79
Colleges, Universities, & Gov't: $195
Colleges, Universities, & Gov't (with DSL): $495

BONUS DISC: 56 Minute Public Television version also included.

Check out the 30-minute version

Featuring both coal and mining advocates as well as opponents, this is the preeminent film on the coal controversy.

Every eleven and one-half days, the explosive equivalent of the Hiroshima atomic bomb is unleashed upon the mountains of southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky - for coal.

Burning the Future: Coal in America challenges the concept of “clean coal”, documenting the devastating ecological, social and health impact of coal mining and mountain-top removal. The film follows the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia, where over 1.4 million acres of mountains have been destroyed and groundwater polluted.

Confronted by a US energy policy that favors coal without sufficient regard for the negative impact its extraction causes, local activists organize to arouse the nation and help protect their health, their communities and their way of life.

The DVD package includes considerable supplemental material: short films, printed information, web resources and discussion questions, perfect for courses on energy, the environment, social movements and related issues.


Short films on:

• Coal and Energy - Overview of the role coal plays in the US economy and a snapshot of the coal and utilities industry influence on public policy.

• Coal and Climate Change -  Documents how coal is the number one contributor of greenhouse gases.

• Pollution and Public Health - Illustrates how coal-fired power contributes to toxic water, air pollution and mercury poisoning.

• Democracy and Action - Documents how grassroots social movements are the primary force for change in America.

Also included:

• Coal Impact Guide - written information about coal's effects on health, the environment, global warming, and how people can make a difference in their daily lives.