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

  • Ernest Grolimund

    EDF submitted a letter to the EPA on NSPS stds for small source pollution which is doubling pm pollution in the Hudson River Valley where leader Browning lives. Further it asks the EPA to set a health based std taking into account that woodsmoke pm may be 4 times more toxic and 180 air toxics have to be factored into a toxic equivalent as well. Shame that Browning keeps harping on the old anti business rags that blame all pollution on businesses and all global warming on greenhouse gases.
    MCAF member Jackson fought long and hard to figure out the carbon black soot problem and EDF fought for the carbon black soot bill getting it passed in the house.
    I have driven the Hudson Valley corridor by NYC and the wood smoke is there too and in New Jersey. The smell is the indicator of unhealthy conditions per DHHS and EPA writings. Wake up and smell, not the roses, but the wood smoke pm that makes your eyes sting in about an hour.
    The 800 mcg/m3 pm in China does not come from mainly coal. It comes from people burning solid fuels in general, coal, wood, even dung, whatever they can find without discrimination. U.S scientists like Dr Underhill in NH say that where there is heavy wood burning, the pm is 50% to 90% wood smoke pm.
    Shame that we have to fight our own group government that refuses to follow the leaders Atty Patten and Atty Carbonell following orders from even higher from leaders concerned about soot, mercury, toxics. Will you follow the leaders and join in the new fight for clean air? Yes or No?
    You say you want leaders, yet your group will not let me become a leader despite the fact that I have been leading Atty Silverburg, Atty Patten, Atty OConner, and now Atty Carbonell. Not to mention the EPA OIG and even Jackson once in a phone call where she promised to model wood smoke pm and compare it to the safe wood smoke pm dose that is about 1/4 the ambiant pm dose.
    You correctly appeal to mothers love. But I say go one step further and appeal to God’s commandment to love the earth and neighbors and all things. This has a universal magnetic appeal to people of all religions and God does not compromise on the commandment to not kill, hurt or harm. Jesus said we must all perfect ourselves. I would say that it means for you to update and expand your message and your forces. The Brown cloud over China and India comes from wood smoke and the red lights over Africa at night come from burning wood. That equals the smoke from the burning dump of Ghenna that Jesus told us to beware of.

  • Ernest Grolimund

    Good work. But keep up the pressure. Obama speaks well but has trouble delivering in this time. His focus remains on other issues like the debt, gun control, immigration. None of these issues is as important as the survival of the planet and people suffering from extreme air pollution.
    So keep on emphasizing the golden rule, the constitution, and the rule of law, IN COURT.

  • Ernest Grolimund

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I think the EDF pressure and threat of protests, massive continued mail ins, and even my idea of court action, finally had an effect. So hold off on the expensive court action perhaps, because of the good will of the democratic party spokes people. Obama tried being nice and talking to the republicans. Now the dems are saying they will go around the gridlock and work with the President on using emergency powers.
    Sorry to write so much, but the OMB was kind of curt with me a few months back and said they did’nt listen to individulas lie me. I would have to ally myself with the env groups, which I have now done thanks to EDF atty Patten. Now I can take a break. But never forget that I am behind you 100%. And oh yes: Thanks Mr President, and democratic leaders.