Climate Action

John Grisham’s new ‘Gray Mountain’

On October 21st, John Grisham’s newest novel will be released both online and in stores. In this novel, Grisham follows the stories of two characters to show the suffering inflicted by mining companies and the politicians who pander them. This fictional exposé on Big Coal digs deep into today’s real, and dirty, energy industry. Samantha Kofer finds herself in the heart of Appalachia interning at the Mountain Legal Aid Clinic, and is given a black lung case. If miners can prove they’ve been disabled by years of breathing coal dust, they are entitled to payments of $1,000 each month. The problem is that Big Coal employs hordes of lawyers to delay cases until the miner either dies or gives up. As such, only 5% of miners with black lung actually receive the benefits they deserve. Another man, Donovan Gray, is pursuing a one-man crusade against Big Coal as he seeks to show the havoc it causes on both human and environmental health. Donovan examines mountain top removal, or strip mining, and how it damages streams, valleys, wells, and any unfortunate humans further down the mountain. Wells are especially a concern as Big Coal’s is aware its polluting chemicals are cancer causing. Grisham, a mainstream fiction author is not the only writer shining light on environmental problems. In Barbara Kingsolver’s suspenseful novel ‘Fight Behavior’ she traces the unforeseen impacts of climate change, especially to a rural community. As attention to climate change and its consequences are gaining attention through the media, the People’s Climate March, and the Sustainable Development Goals, perhaps these books are another way to evoke action amongst the people. -Rebecca Croy