Enter the Clean Air Zone!

Politicians and lay people alike both talk and argue about the effects of the environment on Americans. Clean air and clean living have become trendy issues in the past decade. Green homes, recycling, and hybrid cars are just a few of the ways that people can help make our air a little bit cleaner. With harsh effects of polluted air such asthma and other respiratory problems, it is now more important than ever to protect yourself against the dangerous effects of polluted air. One organization, the Clean Air Task Force, is doing just that.

The Clean Air Task Force is based out of Boston and was formed in 1996. Their primary goal is outlined as such: “To enact federal policy to reduce the pollutants from America’s coal-fired power plants that cause respiratory death and disease, smog, acid rain, and haze.” This group of researchers, advocates, and private sector contributors are working towards getting the American people to truly understand the negative health effects that coal and diesel emissions have.

For example, diesel trucks can pose a serious health risk to pedestrians as it is emitted at ground level. As the CATF explained, “Diesel exhaust is comprised of microscopic carbon soot particles that act to absorb metals and other toxic substances in the exhaust. When inhaled by humans, these tiny, toxic-laden particles cross the blood barrier from lungs into the bloodstream, delivering the toxics to internal organs and leading to inflammation and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases…”

Diesel exhaust leads to approximately 400,000 asthma attacks a year. To get an idea of how much diesel exhaust is released by a local school bus, check out these videos. The first shows an ordinary school bus, while the second is fitted with a diesel filter.

The diesel filter makes a huge difference in the amount of emissions released into the air. The same goes for your indoor air quality. As the CATF has shown us, air pollution is a serious problem and has significant health effects on Americans today. If you are concerned about pollutants and allergens in your home, it is important to equip your home with the proper filters. It is paramount that you change your HVAC filter regularly, and a higher MERV rating, the better. These filters will help to remove particles and mold spores, keeping them out of the air you breathe.

Another way to protect the air you breathe inside your home is to use an air purifier. These will assist in the removal of bacteria and germs that are found in your home, protecting you and your family from sickness. While solving the world’s pollution problems may be very far off, cleaning the air in your home is an inexpensive way for you and your family to stay healthy. While the CATF does their part, it is important that we do ours!

GASLAND: An Inside Look at America’s Natural Gas Drilling Campaign

Would you poison the planet for $100,000?

According to a recent article, filmmaker Josh Fox faced this question when he received a $100,000 offer in exchange for the natural gas drilling rights to his property in the Delaware River Basin.  Instead of taking the money and keeping quiet, he decided to use his talents to make a film that exposes the harsh reality of America’s natural gas drilling campaign.  Touring 24 states across the country, Fox, in his Sundance award-winning documentary, GASLAND, reveals some horrific truths about how the natural gas industry is poisoning our water and air, causing chronic illnesses in residents near drilling areas, and contributing to a crisis that could affect millions more, long-term.  What does this crisis look like in real life?  Here’s what’s happening in several major cities:

  • In Dimock, Pennsylvania, close to the New York City watershed, animals began losing their hair after the drilling started, most likely from the toxic water they ingested.
  • In DISH, Texas, emissions from natural gas wells and pipelines measure way above the public health standard for cancer-causing benzene and the neurotoxin carbon disulfide.  In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the emissions are greater than the air pollution caused by all the cars and trucks combined.
  • In Wyoming, a water well erupted with a geyser of natural gas for three days.

If that’s not enough to make you think twice, watch this video:

CAN YOU DO THIS WITH YOUR TAP WATER? from JOSHFOX on Vimeo.

Flammable tap water is not the most disturbing of Fox’s findings, however.  The drilling process, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which leads to all of this contamination, was exempted in 2005 by the Bush-Cheney Energy Policy Act from United States environmental regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.  What’s more, the fight has now moved to Congress, where lobbyists are trying to prevent legislation that would reverse the exemption, making chemicals used in the process subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act, once again.

I repeat: lobbyists are trying to PREVENT legislation that would reverse the exemption…

Pardon me while I try to make sense of this.  Instead of preventing accidents like the recent BP oil spill, our very own leaders are ignoring the problem while we scramble to find ways to clean up the mess?  – (i.e. Kevin Costner’s Oil Spill Machines; oil booms and mats made of pantyhose and hair)

Innocents like Fox, who accept a monetary offer in exchange for drilling rights must sign non-disclosure forms forcing them to keep quiet about their experience with natural gas drilling and preventing them from bringing any lawsuits.  Perhaps this is the reason why Fox refused the $100,000 offer.  After all, why would anyone want to put a price tag on his health and risk death in the process?  Besides, since the film won the Documentary Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, I’m sure Fox has gained a worthier source of income.

The  film makes its debut on Monday, June 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT., exclusively on HBO.  Watch it.  Tell your friends.  And please do us all a favor, and share this post.

In the meantime, check out our list of some of our other favorite must-watch water movies.