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Citizen Recap: 30 Days Working in a Coal Mine

Did you think I forgot to watch the season premiere of 30 Days, with all of Tuesday's Democratic nomination wrap up, and the accompanying speech mania? Well, don't worry, because even though this recap is a day late, I still caught the episode which had filmmaker Morgan Spurlock working under the earth's surface for 30 days as a West Virginian coal miner.

Morgan spent his 30 days living with 35-year veteran miner Dale Lusk and his wife Sandy. Every morning before Dale left for the mines at around 2:00 a.m. he wrote Sandy a love note, just in case a disaster prevented him from returning home that day. The episode helped explain what motivates miners like Dale to take such risks — and the biggest incentive seemed to be cash. Dale, who has no college degree, makes over $100,000 a year.

Morgan slowly became accustomed to the dark, and labor-intensive life of a miner. To find out more about his experience,


In fact, he soon appreciated the tranquility and novelty of working beneath the earth's surface. But, near crises shocked Morgan out of his false sense of security, as did the reality that many miners, and some he had built relationships with, face debilitating health conditions like black lung.

Coal mining makes up 50 percent of America's energy supply. This episode reminded me that when I work or play on my computer, with my television, or anything else that requires electricity, I am depending on the routine and dangerous efforts of a West Virginian Coal miner.

Did you catch the episode? Stay tuned next week for 30 Days in a Wheelchair . . .


Join The Conversation
Coldplayer Coldplayer 9 years
I really like this show, especially the ones with Morgan himself. This one was no different. Very thought provoking.
cmoon cmoon 9 years
I felt the same way. It was very eye-opening. We have to come up with fuel alternatives!!
nancita nancita 9 years
Wow, he wakes up at 2 am and writes his wife a love note in case something happens to him? That's an argument for alternative fuel sources if I've ever heard one.
stephley stephley 9 years
Geez Anna, we're just a bunch of bored gasbags - join us!
saritabonita saritabonita 9 years
I can think of 2 things when i see this. 1. zoolander and 2. the coal miners in mexico. There are many 20 minutes away of where I'm from. There have been many disasters. I think it was 1 or 2 years ago that a bunch of men got trapped and they were unable to rescue them. It's sad to see that such a labor intensive job is respected in the U.S. but not in Mexico... very very sad :(
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
When I see that picture of Morgan up there, all I can think of is Derek Zoolander: "I think I'm getting the black lung, Pop. It's not very well ventilated down there."
stiletta stiletta 9 years
I don't like staying in my closet too long to pick out a dress...
AnnaLove AnnaLove 9 years
Usually I stick to commenting on PopSugar because I'm so intimidated by your guys' smartness and way with words on here :) I haven't seen this show but just had to stop in and say awww to the daily love notes from the coal miner to his wife.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
Yeah, I don't know about that salary. In my last job I dealt with a lot of claims by ex-coal miners against their employers for pneumoconiosis (black lung disease...if coal mining doesn't kill you while you work in the mines, it will kill you later). These people are POOR. Seriously, $100K in rural America goes a long way & these people can't even pay for basic medical care. But no, I didn't watch this. The commercial freaked me out.
stephley stephley 9 years
Couldn't watch it - wimp that I am, mining freaks me out. I can't imagine deep sea diving and I can't imagine riding those little cars deep into the earth. I'm phobic about being somewhere and not being at all able to reestablish contact with solid ground. I'm not good on planes either, but at least you can see the ground from there (as you plummet toward it...) I'll watch the wheelchair episode though.
piper23 piper23 9 years
I watched it. Seeing what these guys go through day after day, it was just hard to watch. And then seeing the miner sitting around the table with his family, knowing that they are the reason he went into that mine everyday, it was just really touching.
verily verily 9 years
Didn't catch it, but all of my great uncles were coal miners. They certainly didn't pull down the equiv. of 100k a year. And every one of them bore scars from their jobs: missing fingers, black lung, chronic bronchitis... Though I think in the end, it was heart disease and alcoholism that did them in. :T
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