A lot has been made of mining being the second most dangerous profession in the US. Has anyone thought about the fact that much of that danger could be reduced, by reducing our dependence on coal and minerals?
Although recycling will reduce the need for minerals, our reliance on coal should be phased out as soon as possible. Sulfur in coal causes acid rain, particulates cause respiratory distress, and heavy metals accumulate in the food web. And the carbon increases the global temperature. Some may say "closing mines will put the miners out of work"–put them to work making semiconductors and wind turbines. No one in their right mind would rather go down a hole and poison himself or herself when a safer, better alternative is available. Think out of the box people!