Smog is subject of op-ed, help solicited to fight it

I am always encouraged when I read about others advocating for clean air, especially when those advocating are in a position of some influence.

Such is the case with Bakersfield Californian editorial page editor Robert Price in: “Our fatalistic acceptance of horrible air.”1

I wouldn’t exactly call Price in this commentary an alarmist and neither would I label him a defeatist although if judging on op-ed title alone, a person might think differently.

Price wrote: “A psychologist might characterize our collective mindset on this subject as fatalistic acceptance. It’s here, we don’t like it, but what are we going to do? And so we don’t.”

There is nothing in that sentiment that sounds encouraging I know. So, why am I encouraged?

For openers, Price brought about an awareness of the problem. He points to ozone and points out, also, that the smog that frequently blankets the area there is not of the community’s doing, this, of course, based on the collective belief of local denizens. At least, this is how I understand it.

“Dirty air wends its way down from the [San Francisco] Bay Area, runs into the horseshoe-shaped trap of our three conjoined mountain ranges and just hovers,” Price insisted. “Long-haul truckers and other non-local travelers race down Interstate 5, on the [San Joaquin] valley’s west side, spewing soot and carbon emissions as they go. And lately we hear that some sort of weird jet-stream vortex is injecting ozone from China into our skies.”

More than likely, that’s all part of it. But the area ozone can’t all be from elsewhere.

The editorial page editor shines a spotlight on drive-thrus, leaf blowers and traffic as culprits and, of the three, polluting vehicles the most troublesome, apparently.

Electric cars the Price remedy?

Wrote Price: “The evidence is in, and the consensus is that electric cars are net-benefit components when it comes to air quality. They’ve made only a small dent in the local new-car market, but their day is coming, make no mistake.”

And how does he know this? It can be attributed to a growing – perhaps, proliferating? – charging infrastructure coming courtesy of the fed. At least this is my take.

In closing Price stresses not just that that region has the worst air pollution in the country but that the members of the community regardless of political party affiliation need to unite in the clean-air fight.

Just before closing, the editorial writer asks if the “entire region be declared an air-quality enterprise zone.”

Will electric cars and designation as an “air-quality enterprise zone” do the trick?

Price does, however, state that all potential solutions should be considered. Intuition tells me those that can guarantee success, should be the ones implemented.

If nothing else, Price’s message is both eye-opening and thought-provoking. If it invokes air-cleaning action, even better.


  1. Robert Price, “Our fatalistic acceptance of horrible air,” Bakersfield Californian, Oct. 29, 2013, See last article of the grouping.

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