50 Years of Earth DayRelease Date: 2020-04-22
Today is Earth Day and I know many of us are feeling a little disappointed we won’t be able to celebrate as we normally would. I know we’d like to be outside, with our friends, family and community, and maybe spend some time hiking, or at the beach, enjoying nature, taking in the fresh air and the sunshine.
It’s ironic that on the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, most of us will spend the day stuck inside.
But it’s also maybe an opportunity.
Have you ever seen such a clear blue sky above the Los Angeles basin? According to recent monitoring of air quality, southern California now has some of the cleanest, clearest air in the world.
Of course, this is the result of great pain for people—economic stress, loss of jobs, closed schools. That’s not the way to reduce pollution and we have to get our economy back on track as soon as safely possible.
But the blue skies are still a stark reminder of just how much pollution we usually create, mainly with cars, trucks, ships and planes—which all has a disproportionate effect on Long Beach and on working and poor residents of Long Beach, particularly people of color on the westside, along the 710.
While we’ve improved our air immensely with reduced port emissions and clean trucks, we still see higher rates of asthma in children in these neighborhoods. That has to change.
We now have a chance to see what that change could look like for our air quality. Looking around, you can see the difference and with every breath, you can feel it. Even with many diesel trucks moving up and down the freeway, a decrease in commerce and vehicle traffic makes a huge difference for air quality.
The 50th Earth Day is sure to be the cleanest, least polluted in history. The opportunity in this is to commit together to building an economy that is clean and sustainable in the long term, so that on the 100th Earth Day our environment will be cleaner, we will be healthier and we will be celebrating in person with our friends. I know we can do that together.
Mayor Robert Garcia