I don't really mean to hell with the polar bears, of course, but I got you reading, right? What I am thinking more and more about is the fact that we have present environmental problems that are already affecting the health of all of us--and most especially our children. In particular, I've been thinking about high child asthma rates in certain parts of the country. Aren't little kids as cuddly as polar bears?
You may recall that my little girl was in the emergency room the other day, and that another little girl from the South Bronx was there at the same time, suffering from an asthma attack. I have also been writing about the fact that one in four kids in the South Bronx suffers from asthma, thanks largely to the 12,000 diesel trucks a day that crawl through the area.
Anyway, a documentary film-maker named Savannah Teller Brown (great name, right?) from Portland, Oregon, where diesel particulates are also high, has been sending me some outtakes from her forthcoming film Living Diesel. Of most interest to me is the fact that--and I know nothing more about this than I've seen in Savannah's film--low-sulfur diesel fuel combined with retrofitted diesel particulate filters can remove nearly all the particulates from the exhaust.
[Since I posted this, Savannah has emailed me to let me know that federal standards now require that all fuel for on-road vehicles be low sulfur. But we still need the filters.]
Asthma problems around the country solved! Well, you know, at least kind of.
So my question, in these times when so many problems seem to have no solution, when we just don't really know how to move forward, how great would it be if we didn't put legislation in place to solve this one problem? How about if, while we figure out how to love the polar bears, we show a little (or a lot of) love to American school children? How about if we just made it law that trucks use low-sulfur diesel and get retrofitted with diesel particulate filters?
Watch the bit of Savannah's film on solutions to the diesel problems below (or click here if you're reading this on email):