The Christian Science Monitor

Life after coal: Miners wonder how they fit into a low-carbon future.

The coal mines were what brought Krzysztof Kisiel to Upper Silesia, as this region of southern Poland is known.

“There was no work in my home area,” says Mr. Kisiel, who has gathered at a local tavern with fellow miners – all men – around songbooks and huge mugs of beer in celebration of Barbórka, or St. Barbara’s Feast Day honoring miners. He remembers recruiters coming to his elementary school, promising specialized training, a good job, and a way to avoid the army.

Kisiel and his wife both worked in the Jaworzno mine. His son studied banking but followed his father into the mine when there was no banking work. His son-in-law works there too.

“Mining is a stable profession, and good money, thanks to which they can support their families. And after 25 years of work in a mine they will get a good pension,” says Kisiel. “One day Poland will definitely leave coal, but this is not a problem for now.”

The question of when

An inevitable shift?‘Show me, don’t tell me’The Pittsburgh modelThe power of a paycheck

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor7 min readPolitics
Florida Voters Gave Ex-felons Right To Vote. Then Lawmakers Stepped In.
Last fall Florida voters approved vote restoration for former felons. But under a bill formalizing the measure, not all those people can vote.
The Christian Science Monitor4 min read
Uber’s Founders Have Cashed In. How About The Drivers?
Uber relies on an army of drivers whom it refuses to call employees. But some see its “Partner Protection” plan as a model for the gig economy.
The Christian Science Monitor5 min readSociety
From Women’s Rights Activist To Supreme Court Chief: Meet Meaza Ashenafi
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed Ms. Ashenafi the Supreme Court’s first female chief, one of many women named to Ethiopia’s top positions.