Clean Air and the Baby Carriage

BY ON August 9, 2011

Children. They are vulnerable.  They are innocent. They are the Red baby carriage on steps of capitol buildingfuture.  Perhaps that is why the American Lung Association has tapped into an iconic image to speak to the public about the need to fight for clean air.

Back in 1925, director Sergei Einstein made film history with The Battleship Potemkin.  His now famous shot of a baby carriage rolling down the Odessa Steps (released from a mother’s grasp after she had been shot by soldiers of the Tsar) has influenced scores of filmmakers. Brian DePalma paid homage to the montage in The Untouchables.  That infant in a pram was caught in a shoot out between lawman Eliot Ness and mobster Al Capone, two clear-cut extremes of good and evil.

The bright red carriage in the current television ad is shown in a series of locations around Washington, D.C. Although the baby is never seen, it is heard coughing and wheezing—struggling to breathe.  This carriage also ends up on an impressive set of steps…those belonging to The United States Capitol.

Will this get the attention of parents who may not know the facts on how toxic air pollutants emitted from coal-burning power plants affect children? Or that mercury impacts a growing child’s neurological system, which can then lead to developmental delays?

There is a mighty contingency out there that will continue to promote the concept that the Environmental Protection Agency is Al Capone, not Eliot Ness. They include big corporations with vested interests, and elected officials promoting the disinformation that regulations will kill the economy.  It’s the mantra from entrenched energy factions who don’t want to see an end to fossil fuels, despite what the science is telling us.

I hope that folks who have children will see that this should not be a political issue, but rather a cause for concern that they will do their best to learn about.  Check out the American Meteorological Society’s page on the history of the Clean Air Act.  You’ll be amazed to learn that “in 1306, King Edward I of England issued a proclamation banning the use of sea coal in London due to the smoke it caused.”

Some things never change.

TOPICS: Pollution

  • Sean Nicholson

    Great Article!! It is so important to inform and educate the public on the facts about toxic air pollutants in our communities. Do you know where I could find a link to the commercial you’ve described?

  • gloriap

    Hi Sean. You can see the commercial here:

  • Heather

    Thank you for highlighting the importance of protecting the Clean Air Act for our children.

  • Abbie

    This image is so powerful. Thank you for sharing.

  • tack6

    I think we all get the importance of clear air & I don’t understand why we are being subjected to this disturbing commercial. It isn’t necessary to be so graphic. Every time it comes on I change the channel.

  • Bill

    I have seen this commercial and it shows that the people fighting for the clean air act are not aware of the truth and need to do more reserch. All the plants they show on this commercial have what is called a scrubber system. What everyone thinks is smoke going into the air is actualy just steam. The scrubber systems take out a huge portion of the pollution up to 95-99% in most cases. The plants that have the worst effects are the ones that you hardly see anything comeing out of the tall stack. Without coal fired plants 80% of the country would be without electric. All of the green energy they have came up with can not come close to putting out enough energy.