December 17, 1963 Congress passed the first Clean Air Act. A very important 50th anniversary went by this year without too much notice. The Canadian/American Lung Association logo is: “If we cannot breathe, nothing else matters.”

full_1358341713BillBishopjan10-14Beijing1Prosperity without pure air, water and nutritious food is meaningless. The pollution belching into our atmosphere globally is slowly reducing the Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI) in  all major cities.

As China surges ahead in economic terms, the PQLI for residents in Shanghai and Beijing plummets. Smaller cities in the coal-burning far north of China are more adversely affected. Schools in large cities are closed when air becomes a threat to children. For obvious reasons, airports shrouded in smoggy pollution must be closed. An “airpocolypse” is threatening all who live in China as bad air has no boundaries.

The drive to prosper internationally is closely linked to human determination in exploiting more sources of non-renewable energy.

Professors from Cornell University’s School of Veterinary medicine are exploring the relationship between hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and the deaths of at least twenty four farm animals in six states (CBS – 60 MINUTES, December 2012)

FOOD& WATER WATCH (Fall 2013) reported 17 cows in Louisiana died after one hour’s exposure to spilled fracking fluid.

Having grown up in a coal mining town of southern Illinois, I knew from childhood that our neighbor, Mr. Bruening was the very first person to descend 300 feet into the dark mine to test air quality. Canaries were preferred over mice in detecting carbon monoxide in the coal mines. If the air was not acceptable no miners went into the depths that day. Three mines operating early in the 20th century are all closed because of the pollution connected to bituminous coal. Mercury is a deadly byproduct.

Congress was very slow to pass a Clean Air act in 1963.

We might follow the Cornell University study of fracking and its effects on animals roaming in pastures near drilling operations. Have livestock become the 21st century “canaries” of air pollution surrounding us?

Villagers in Pungesti, a northern village of Romania do not have access to academic research and chose to shut down CHEVRON’s drilling operations because of their opposition to fracking.

Vermont was the first state to ban fracking. New York, Pennsylvania and Hawaii are in process of issuing a ban on fracking. Dallas and San Antonio passed resolutions that prohibit the practice within 1500 feet of a residence. Pure air and water will keep us alive, if we protect them. Texas as an energy state knows water and air must be preserved. Children deserve a good PQLI.