Dr. Suess Was Right: Air pollution And Our Kids

BY ON July 23, 2011

This piece was cross-posted on Non-Toxic Kids.

Dr. Suess was oh-so-wise.  An all knowing philosopher (although I wish he can more female characters). When he wrote The Lorax back in 1971, he probably thought that we’d have things figured out by now.

That we wouldn’t have smogulous smoke in our air. That our waters wouldn’t be gummed up, and that we would preserve many of our forests.

Truth is, now the swamee-swans, and the hummingfish, are us.  Our rates of asthma are skyrocketing, especially among African American and Latino populations. We can’t eat fish from our ponds and lakes due to the mercury carried here from the midwest in the clouds and falling down in our rain.

In The Lorax, the animals are sent away, presumably to where the air and water are clean, and the forests are intact.

For us there is no away.

All of us are effected by air pollution, both indoors and out. As many of you know, certain days we aren’t supposed to even go outside because of the dense air pollution and its effect on our lungs.

I’m reminded of a long time ago when I was visiting my aunt in Southern California. I went out for a run on a smog filled day. The surrounding mountains were blurry and beige seeming. When I returned, my aunt said, “Nice job.  You just did the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes,” because of the poor air quality.  I was stunned and felt a burning in my chest for few days. It was then that this issue became clear and personal to me.

So while the polluting coal industries who haven’t cleaned up their act (kudos to those who have) continue to lobby members of congress in an effort to water down the clean air act, or to delay the implementation of the Mercury Air Toxics Rule, I say:

Listen to the wisdom Dr. Suess.  Realize there is no away.

In the spirit of the Lorax, here are some illustrations of clean air by my daughters. I’m planning on adding a hand-written note and sending them to my senators. Will you join me?

This says, “How do the Swamee Swans feel?”
This one says, “Oncler, No

We’ll need the power of all mamas and papas and the spirit of the Lorax to fight for clean air. Please JOIN MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE to stay updated on breaking events and how you can get involved. Dr. Suess, we remember  you!

This drawing by my 4 year old shows the Lorax upset by dirty air.

TOPICS: Pollution