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What It’s All About

Posted in Editorials on July 14th, 2011

Pollution from coal-fired power plants is making our kids sick — 1 in 10 already suffer from
asthma. Our kids deserve better than a city with smog-filled summers. Tell President Obama
to stand up to polluters. Text COAL to 69866 to take action for cleaner air. sierraclub.org/coal

The environmental movement is often characterized by the right as being loony or wacky or valuing inanimate trees over human life. I do believe that nature has an inherent value and I agree with John Muir that “Nothing dollarable is safe, however guarded.” We must protect our natural resources because they are priceless and because they are essential to human health. Clean air is a natural resource, and when others are fouling it and making us sick we should be outraged.

Children’s bodies are more susceptible to harm from pollution than adults are. This is something rarely brought to the table, especially by those who consider themselves to be pro-life. However it’s a vital issue, not only in terms of children’s health in general, but to environmental justice. Poor children and children of color are more likely to be exposed to dirty air and water, and combined with other risk factors of poverty like low quality health care, lack of access to exercise and food desserts and the outcomes don’t look good.

So, three cheers for the Sierra Club. I’m really digging their new thought provoking advertisements. It’s important to explain to people how these issues impact them, especially when it can feel like environmentalists are out of touch with the general public. I think about that every time I see climate change come in dead last on the list of issues Americans are concerned about (although “environment” in general fares better).

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