The True Cost of Coal is a rhyming storybook from the Beehive Design Collective. Fun and educational for ages 9–99, it also features lessons and activities related to the story’s themes of ecology, colonial history, workers rights, extreme extraction, community organizing, and regenerative futures alongside Beehive Collective graphics designed specifically for coloring on.

Alongside intricately detailed art there is a rhyming and simplified narrative, guiding readers through a winding timeline. The story explores important history often left out of classroom curriculum, inspires the reader to question present-day decision-making systems, and encourages us all to envision our own role in moving towards a sustainable and regenerative future.

Story Contents that can be expanded upon into broader lessons:

  • Ecological origins of coal
  • Colonization
  • Cherokee vs. Georgia
  • Trail of Tears
  • Pioneering & Early Industry
  • Company Towns
  • Workers Resistance & Organization
  • Battle of Blair Mountain
  • Mineworkers Victory & Culture
  • Automation & Layoffs
  • Community Alliances
  • Mountaintop Removal & ecological devastation
  • Climate Chaos & Global Capitalism
  • Carbon trading & Greenwashing
  • Grassroots organizing & resistance
  • Community Resilience & Remediation
  • Decolonization
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Collaboration & Mutual Aid
  • Individual Responsibility & Purpose

Lessons, Activities & Coloring Section of the book (useful teaching tools to expand on the story and build a lesson-plan around)

  • Where does coal come from?
  • What is Colonization?
  • The Cherokee Language & written Syllabary
  • The Union Movement
  • What is Mountaintop Removal?
  • Raised Bed Gardening
  • Ecological Remediation
  • Sustainable Collective Future

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