Archive for October, 2009

Video of Green Prize day

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Air pollution linked to apendicitis and ear infections

Monday, October 12th, 2009


Will the list ever end? Here’s the latest about urban smog and health in the the L.A. Times. Link.

” … Research on air pollution has been conducted worldwide for decades and is part of the basis for government regulation of air quality. Study after study has found more hospitalizations and higher death rates when certain pollutants are high. In addition to respiratory effects, research has established that air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular events such as arrhythmia, heart attack and stroke, and the incidence of certain cancers.

In the appendicitis study, published Oct. 5 in the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal, researchers examined records for 5,191 adults admitted to Calgary hospitals for appendicitis from 1999 to 2006. The dates of the patients’ admissions were compared to air pollution levels in the preceding week, using data from three air quality surveillance sites in the city.

The scientists found a significant effect of pollutants on appendicitis rates in the summer months among men, but not women …”

We hunker down and focus on the connection between good ol’ L.A. smog, in its many permutations, and the physical wellbeing of millions of Southern Californians exposed to it pretty much daily for years on end, in our book, Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles.

How does one L.A. clean-air activist find unpolluted breathing? She hits the road, crosses the border and tries not to cringe when she flies home. A virtual trip worth taking. Our airborne toxins are never so conspicuous until your lungs get a break. Without further ado, here’s oxygen without the exhaust

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Donna Barnett, a former reporter and current environmental activist and consultant, has a fabulous blog (where, in full admission, she did praise our book Smogtown) that’s unlike anything else we’ve found. She knows how to make her cause entertaining, visual, fun and more than a little alarming. Have you taken the smog glove test? If you do, make sure you have some Tide at home.

Chasing Clean Air site is here

California hurting, or just reacclimating to the new world?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009


California is “failing,” or so says the British. Excuse us if I’ve heard this one before from supposed sharp-eyed observers convinced we’re past the tipping point to social doom. We dip into outsiders fancy for seeing ruin before the ruin is really there in our book Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles. Imagine that: California actually made it out of the 1970s1

From a recent Guardian feature

“California has a special place in the American psyche. It is the Golden State: a playground of the rich and famous with perfect weather. It symbolises a lifestyle of sunshine, swimming pools and the Hollywood dream factory.

But the state that was once held up as the epitome of the boundless opportunities of America has collapsed. From its politics to its economy to its environment and way of life, California is like a patient on life support. At the start of summer the state government was so deeply in debt that it began to issue IOUs instead of wages. Its unemployment rate has soared to more than 12%, the highest figure in 70 years. Desperate to pay off a crippling budget deficit, California is slashing spending in education and healthcare, laying off vast numbers of workers and forcing others to take unpaid leave. In a state made up of sprawling suburbs the collapse of the housing bubble has impoverished millions and kicked tens of thousands of families out of their homes. Its political system is locked in paralysis and the two-term rule of former movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger is seen as a disaster – his approval ratings having sunk to levels that would make George W Bush blush. The crisis is so deep that Professor Kevin Starr, who has written an acclaimed history of the state, recently declared: “California is on the verge of becoming the first failed state in America …”

Scoff as you may at predictions of California’s tragic early demise, don’t dismiss what some “green roofs” can do as one salvo in the battle against global warming. MSNBC story.

Feeling itchy and green all over? You’re not alone. We’re in era of environmental anguish, and unfortunately Tylenol and a margarita aren’t much relief. New York Times post.

We like this move as insurance if Obama-backed legislation focused on dramatically slowing U.S.-generated greenhouse gases while improving our energy efficiency and use of renewables goes down in flames to partisan politics. L.A. Times story.

Smogtown wins the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009


Here’s a description and other details about this sweet honor, which was presented to us and other writers on Saturday, Oct. 5 by the city of Santa Monica:

The Green Prize is intended to “encourage and commend authors, illustrators, and publishers who produce quality books for adults and young people that make significant contributions to, support the ideas of, and broaden public awareness of sustainability. The City of Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Plan defines sustainability as “meeting current needs – environmental, economic, and social – without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.”

Did I mention how tickled we are to be receiving this, particularly on top of the other awards we’ve fortunate enough to collect? If not, thank you SANTA MONICA!