Biases present in The Last Mountain by Brian McDermott

After watching the film, The Last Mountain, I noticed that there are a few biases present in the film. The main focus was on the negative impacts mountain top removal coal mining has on the environment and the people living near the mines. The impacts on the environment are clearly visible. It is hard to miss a mountain slowly vanishing and being reduced to nothing. The film tried to emphasize the fact that even though the mining companies are supposed to clean up after themselves so that nature can take over again, not enough is done to ensure that will happen. The coal companies leave behind a barren landscape. The effects on people are harder to see but they are certainly there. Health problems plague the people that live near the mines. Cancer kills many people and changes others’ lives forever. Coal dust is released into the air from blasting on the mountain and toxic water is released into streams people use as their water supply. These are the two points the film focuses on and uses to show how mountain top removal coal mining is not a good thing. That being said, there is very little being said about how it is a good thing. It produces a lot of coal which our country is heavily dependent on but the film is against the process so it makes sense why it is not talked about a lot.

Towards the end of the film there is a bias in favor of wind energy. The village in West Virginia that the film focuses on wants wind turbines to be built on the mountains instead of having them destroyed by the mining company. There is no focus on the other different types of renewable energy such as solar energy. Wind is the only method mentioned and the film seems to advocate for it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to use wind energy to power America but it was interesting to see the heavy focus on only wind energy. Wind energy and opposing mountain top coal removal were two of the main biases I observed watching the film, The Last Mountain.

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