Video: 60 meters deep

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In Mongolia, winter is known as a time of suffering. Coal is necessary for survival in the winter months because electricity is often too expensive. With temperatures dipping below minus 40 degrees Celsius, coal-powered stoves are a inexpensive and effective way to warm homes and cook meals.

On the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a small town, Nalaikh, provides the city with seventy-five percent of the coal burned in homes.

With the introduction of a new bill, there is a chance that the 97 year-old-tradition of  mining in this area will cease to exist.

In the 1990s, the Soviet Union ran the country. Tat that time, the Soviets stopped paying the miners and mining came to a halt.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union at that time, miners returned to the mines so they could provide for their families.

Now, years later, there are about two hundred active mines, of which only 26 are authorized by the government. Media reports indicate about a hundred miners die every year. Miners believe that number is much higher.

“Miners die easily in the mountain, accidents occur often in the mine,” an anonymous miner said.

That coal is usually very low quality and causes high air pollution. A thirty-pound bag will cost a little more than two U.S. dollars.

Every day in winter exceeds what is considered safe breathing conditions by the World Health Organization.

When Mongolians are faced with either freezing or burning coal they know is unsafe, many are left with no option other than coal.

I’m fourth year Journalism and Broadcasting student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am currently a photojournalist for Cedar County News. In Fall 2019, I will be a photo intern for the Omaha World Herald. I grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming and it helped influence me in countless ways. First and foremost being taught that hard work is a way of life and doing a good job benefits everyone. Much of my time has been spent around hard working and honest blue collar workers and from them In have learned that hard work pays off. They knew that obstacles and fears and meant to be overcome and while failure is expected giving up is something I will not allow myself. My work is driven by an urge to educate people, in hopes that I can help eliminate fears and help people make connections to those they have never met. Showing people the human side of of stories and issues is the best way to inspire change. To go the distance to give the public the information to help them make well informed decisions. When I am not working I love being outside. I hike, rock climb, watch documentaries, and try not to get eaten by bears (they are everywhere you know). Anything that keeps me on the move helps me learn makes me happy.