In Kidnapping the Lorax, one of the characters who is prone to eco-ranting complains, “We had this lovely planet that gave us all the sustenance we ever needed. Instead of being grateful and enjoying what we have, we’ve gradually and systematically ruined it. The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe—now it’s all dangerous to us.”
He’s accused of being overly dramatic, but consider this: some schools are now raising flags of differing colors, meant to inform the children how good or bad that day’s air quality is. As the EPA blog article “Raising the Flag for Air Quality Awareness” explains:
When Officer Jones asked if the kids wanted to help him, they cheered in unison, “YES.” They eagerly held the flag while Officer Jones hooked it to the chain, watched as he raised it – and promptly asked why the flag was yellow. Officer Jones explained that the yellow flag meant that the kids could play outside, “because the air quality was pretty good today– not the best like what a green flag means.”
And here’s www.airnow.gov, which will tell you whether the air where you live is safe today. As the summer heats up, you might want to check it from time to time. Like Officer Jones says, you want to see green there, not red. The U.S. EPA, NOAA, NPS, tribal, state, and local agencies developed www.airnow.gov to “provide the public with easy access to national air quality information.”
And that sharing of information is a good thing, right?
So the thought of little kids raising different colored flags to reveal how safe or unsafe the outdoors is really shouldn’t make me sad ... right?