Connecting the smoggy dots

John Taylor: January 07, 20080 Comments

For each 1.8 degree warming of the Earth's atmosphere, 1,000 more people will die in the United States -- with 300 of them in California. Or, to be more specific, they'll die in Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield, Merced, Stockton or Los Angeles, the state's most air-polluted cities.

That's from a recent study by Stanford atmospheric scientist Mark Jacobson, which we can take one step further by throwing in a report by Children Now, examining the current health and education status of California children.

Here are some findings among our kids:

  • 16% of California kids have asthma -- but the rate in the Central Valley is 20%, the state's highest.

  • early prenatal care is least common for expectant moms in the Northern and Central Valley (77%, 78%) compared to 90% in LA.

  • the Central Valley has the state's highest teen birth rate -- 55 per 1,000 (the Bay area is lowest at 24).

  • the program and licensing standards for the state's early care and education programs are in the bottom 10 of the nation.

  • 1 in 3 California kids is obese or overweight. (Two hundred calories of candy/snacks costs about 50 cents; 200 calories of fresh fruit/vegetables costs $12.)

Summing up: We give our kids crappy food, inadequate care, little reason to exercise -- and if they do exercise, they get asthma and their lungs get cooked quicker so they'll die sooner. Or just get relentlessly sick and become OPP (other people's problem).

They've already made the movie, "To Live and Die in LA." A sequel?