Are You Ready To Fight For Clean Air?

BY ON January 18, 2013

Ansel Adams, one of America’s most beloved photographers, made the remark about fighting government to protect our air decades years ago. Fourteen years before his death, the Clean Air Act was signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon. The Clean Air Act has become a jewel in the crown of our democracy. We have come to understand, in one generation, that we have a sacred right to clean air–and that we can have clean air and a vibrant economy at the same time.

But today, we are fighting something even more powerful than our government. We are fighting the enormous financial clout of corporate polluters. Some coal, oil, and natural gas developers care more about squeezing out every dollar of profit than about protecting our children’s health.

This week, China was blanketed in air pollution so thick and poisonous that the government warned citizens not to go outside. The pictures of that smog in China are terrifying. China’s pollution will be carried by the wind to our air. We must remember: WE SHARE THE AIR.

Air pollution isn’t as bad in the US as it once was, but it is still a big problem. It is often invisible. But it is as toxic as ever. And scientists and doctors know much more about how harmful air pollution is–especially to the health and brain development of our children. We still have too many “Ozone Alert Days” when our kids should not go outside to play–even though the skies look blue and sunny.

The Chinese photographs reminded me of pictures we have collected on our website, documenting life in America before the Clean Air Act. The stunning display of air pollution is not ancient history. They’re of what our air looked like when I was a teenager.

The pictures make a powerful, and deeply moving, argument for strong regulations to protect our air and planet. The way I see it, climate change is an air pollution problem. We’ve thrown off the natural balance of our Earth’s atmosphere by sending too much carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gasses into the air, trapping the sun’s heat — just the way the inside of a car with closed windows, sitting in the sun, gets too hot.

We’ll keep fighting for clean air…and we can make a difference. Mother love is stronger than polluter dollars–if we use it wisely.


TOPICS: Air Pollution, Clean Air Rules and Regulations, Economics, Politics, Pollution