The funny disease.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Brown Cloud and the Punch Bowl Effect

It’s a widely know fact that if you have allergies or asthma, the dry, clean desert air of Phoenix, Arizona will be good for you. If by dry you mean that you’ll wake up every morning with your tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth. And if by clean you mean thick enough to cut and serve on a cake plate to people you don’t like. So, it’s half true, but the air out there is still unfit for human consumption.

Okay, may be there was a time when the air in Phoenix and suburbs made allergy sufferers breathe easy. There are over four million people living in the Valley, and all of them own at least one car.

Many residents of the Valley are originally from the Midwest. Although they apparently moved here for reasons varying from the heat, to the good air, to the endless beaches, to the lack of snow, snow shovels and large amounts of ice, it seems that many of them decided they love the Midwest enough to bring it with them. They brought the very trees and flowers some people moved here to escape. Which means they brought the pollen here, too.

The geographic cherry on the smog and allergen cake is the fact that Phoenix is rimmed by mountains on all sides. Basically, we live in a punch bowl of ozone, hydrocarbon and airborne particulates. During the winter we live under a hazy brown cloud that causes my eyes to itch just looking at it. The citizens mindlessly chant the siren song for more freeways. And while it’s true that the outlying suburbs are disconnected from the center of the punch bowl, it’s also true that the last thing we need to do is feed the brown cloud.

The rising cost of gas is an opportunity to demand alternatives. We need fuel-efficient cars. We need good public transportation. We need to drive cars that better fit our needs. Gas should be so expensive that it becomes even more absolutely ludicrously ridiculously insane to own a Hummer.


Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Think light rail, walk plotz, et al.

I am thinking of using poison ivy for ground cover in the front yard

4/27/2006 9:16 PM

Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

Does poison ivy filter out pollutants, or did you just want me to know that you don't like your neighbor children?

4/29/2006 9:42 AM

Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

I wish you and that neck of the country the best of luck. The urbanization of everywhere has definitely made life more difficult, even as it's become 'more convenient.'

4/29/2006 12:44 PM

Blogger Fuff said...

What a good idea.

4/30/2006 9:51 AM


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