Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The atmosphere has fallen down on us, thunk, and we have an inversion settled over the Twin Cities. That means thick fog and no sun, and that also means a sharp reduction in air quality because of all the stuff spewed out of various pipes around town. The weather service warns you not to exert yourself as much during these inversion times, but last night on the weather report I saw something different. They did warn people to exert themselves less, but the first of the bullet points they had about how to deal with the inversion said "Drive Less." That would have always been my first bullet point, because if you have a problem, the first thing you should do is stop what's causing that problem. But this is the first time I have seen this advice at the top of the list. Maybe things are changing here a little.

This makes me think about water, and how in some parts of the world, and not that long ago here, people used to dump their raw sewage into the same bodies of water from which they gathered their untreated water supply. People were and still are drinking their only slightly watered down sewage. This seems very repulsive to us today, and how could people stand it, how can people still stand it today?

But yet we have cars with their tail pipes low to the ground spewing out poisonous exhaust into the same air that we are breathing. This is as repulsive to me as the thought of drinking my own untreated slightly watered down sewage.

Houses and factories at least send out their poison above our heads. The winds dilute it up there, so we end up breathing less of it. But cars are spewing out their gases right into our lungs. There isn't much time for that yucky stuff to dilute before we take a breath.

My guess is that in a few years people will think about all those cars blowing their exhaust right into lungs the way we think about people drinking their own untreated sewage. They might even throw up just thinking about it.

They'll only be thinking about it, because by then we'll have decided that cities are really for people, and not so much for cars.

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