Too many years ago, I walked my older son to kindergarten for his first day of school. He had chosen his wardrobe carefully that morning. He held tight to my hand but every once in a while we had to stop so that he could adjust the unwieldy Ghostbuster Containment Unit strapped to his back, and his goggles kept slipping off his forehead. In that marvelous way that children have of illustrating grownups’ theories about psychology, he had figured that his Ghostbusters costume would protect him from everything that was scaring him about going to school, or so I figured it. Which is why I let him out of the house looking a bit, well, odd–though none of the other kids seemed to mind in the least.
And here we are again, another September, another round of heading back to school. I’ll remind you all that it is summer until the autumnal equinox, on September 22. Along the East Coast, the summer weather has been beautiful, mild and even cool.
But my friends in Seattle, in San Francisco, and in Portland, Oregon endured one of the hottest summers ever recorded.
And when we look at global temperatures: one of the hottest summers in recorded history.
Friends in Toledo, Ohio, suffered through days of being unable to drink their water, because of unusual super-algae blooms in Lake Erie–the result of nutrients in agricultural runoff, washed into the warmer lake waters by increasingly fierce and pounding rainstorms.
We are learning new vocabulary: we now call those storms “heavy precipitation events.” And they are on the rise across the U.S.–except for places like California, where drought conditions mean that some people can’t even get water out of their taps. The entire West is in a historic “megadrought” of long duration.
One way or another, we all put on our Ghostbusters costumes — we find ways to keep our fears at bay. The best way to confront these scary consequences of pollution? March with us to help us stop the pollution.