The Photo of the Month for May is a simple cityscape. Like looking in the mirror to find something new on your face, the smokestack of the Fisk Midwest Generating Plant has a simple, urgent command to Chicago. “Quit Coal.”
And it’s high time we quit blowing up mountains, quit poisoning the air we breathe with toxic smoke, quit poisoning our rivers and lakes with mercury, arsenic and radioactive compounds, and quit pretending that coal is cheap, can be green or clean, and quit ignoring the clean renewable energy we already have.
The photo shows the smokestack appearing as tall as the city’s highest buildings from the photographer’s vantage point, including the tallest building in the United States, the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) at left. Mist from an overnight storm curls around lower buildings as smoke pours from the chimney. Everything is blue and gray but for the red brick of the plant and the yellow letters standing clear over all.
There are a lot of great photos from this marathon non-violent, direct action. Pictures of activists climbing the 450 foot smokestack, preparing and painting the message; pictures of another group of activists dangling off a bridge over a canal to block the delivery of more deadly coal. Lots of action in amazing photos. But the one that stands out the most is the one that puts the message in front of the whole city. “Quit Coal”