The Air we Breathe

It seems so simple. Unless we have asthma or another breathing disorder, we never think about the thousands of breaths we take every single day. Perhaps that is why the human race is often inclined to take the air we breathe for granted.

In my recent travels to Israel and Mexico, while my wife and I enjoyed our visits with friends and family tremendously, the air pollution in both countries was visibly obvious.

In Israel, everyone called the pollution  haze, but it is fairly obvious that the virtually constant haze contains significant air pollution. In Mexico City, I could tell the air pollution was not as bad as the last time I visited 25 years ago, but nevertheless, it was constant and still significant.

Upon our return to Madison, we immediately noticed the clean air, both visibly and in our lungs. We literally breathed easier.  Especially noticeable was the clean air this past weekend at our vacation place on Goose Lake in the Central Sands area of Wisconsin.

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I am not an air pollution  expert. Nor, am I suggesting that Israelis and Mexicans care about clean air any less than Americans do. In fact, the challenge of clean air is a global challenge as the atmosphere moves all over the world.

Asthma rates are soaring and exposure to pollution caused by vehicular traffic is one culprit. Indeed, the traffic in Mexico City and in much of Israel was horrendous, both of which are a result of both population increases as well as improving economies.

While the United States has made great progress in cleaning our air since the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970, that progress is under threat, as the new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, who sued the EPA 13 times when he was the Oklahoma Attorney General, has been called, “the most hostile EPA administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history.”

The bigger puzzle is why, in an era when everyone knows about the negative health impact of air pollution, anyone would want to relax air pollution controls. Many argue that the current administration is beholden to big business and industry resulting in its desire to relax anti-pollution regulations. Yet, our President, the CEOs of industry, and Scott Pruitt must breathe the same air as everyone else.

Indeed, we are one world, with one atmosphere. We pollute it at the peril of every single one of us. No one is immune. Everyone must do their part to keep our air and other national resources clean.

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For more information on how I can help you accomplish effective, progressive systems change contact Jeff Spitzer-Resnick by visiting his website: Systems Change Consulting.

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