People are too nice
The LA Times is reporting today: Air pollution causes lung cancer, World Health Organization says.
Not much of a surprise there. It’s been known for years that people who live near major freeways have reduced lung capacity and suffer various ailments.
I commute every day by bike and bus. While waiting for the bus and cycling, I have to breathe the filth of thousands of cars. Some of those people probably have no easy alternative to driving, but many of them could be taking a bus or carpooling. In any case, fossil-fuel powered cars cause numerous problems to our environment, our health, our economy, our foreign policy, and the quality of our lives. We need a carbon tax so that auto usage reflects its real costs to society. (There will be a revenue-neutral initiative on the ballot next year to institute a carbon tax, in exchange for a reduction in the sales tax and B&O tax in Washington state. See http://carbonwa.org/.)
People don’t want to hear this and many will resist it, just as they would resist calls to reduce meat consumption, which also damages health and the environment. It takes many years for humanity to progress. In the past slavery and bear-baiting were acceptable.
The headline got me thinking: people are much too nice and tolerant. We’re repeatedly told that there’s too much partisanship and rancor in politics in America. I strongly disagree. Like when one of your family members has an alcohol problem, drastic steps are required to right some wrongs. Air pollution is just one of those wrongs. Militarism, domestic surveillance, campaign finance corruption, regressive taxation, medical costs, prosecution of whistle blowers, extremism in the courts, voter suppression, gun craziness, the senseless war on drugs, anti-scientific denials of global warming, Socialism for the rich, …., there are many issues that we should be outraged about.
Citizens should be protesting in the streets!