Smog Denial

Letter to Editor - 2011:

Smog Denial

As published in Ottawa Citizen: October 21, 2011.

Our urban culture remains mired in a dangerously auto-centric mindset supported by the ease and convenience of personal automobile use. By employing deep denial, the motorists who exacerbate the health risks of smog continue to exercise their prerogative for personal mobility at the cost of other peoples’ health.

Every time we enter a summer episode of heat waves, humidex warnings and smog advisories, I adopt a Grinchy listening posture to await a sound I will never hear. The sound I seek is the voice of a government health official or news anchor advising motorists to take public transportation or bicycles to minimize the health effects of smog.

The deadly smog I refer to is a toxic miasma of automobile exhaust, heat and humidity. Instead of cautioning motorists; smog advisories are directed at seniors, young children and asthma sufferers who are told to stay indoors and/or seek air conditioning. Am I the only one who finds this odd, cruel and disappointing?