Anyone living in a major US city in the 60s has at least one vivid memory of what the air was like before the Clean Air Act and other steps taken to clean our life’s breath. Here are a few of mine:
- Flying in a small plane above Los Angeles and seeing the demarcation line between blue sky and the orange soup of the air at ground level;
- Looking across the pool in the center of the apt complex to the other side and being unable to anything more than a building — no details; and
- Driving up the freeway in the Northeast past what was then the Boeing Vertol plant immediately off the highway — and being unable to see it.
Until the recent attempts to ignore public health issues in favor of corporate profits, each of the almost 20 years I’ve lived in NYC has had fewer “public health” days when the air is unsafe for the elderly, the young, or those with impaired breathing.
Countries around the rest of the planet, e.g., in India, China, Indonesia, did not take the same steps the US took and are reaping the consequences with air far unhealthier than we ever managed, fouling of the fresh water supplies, and an impairment of the quality of the basic elements required for life. That is not the direction I want my nation or the globe to go. Please consider volunteering or giving support to those who can take action to move forward, not backward.