Like many people, I am concerned about the environment and its impact on human health. For the past ten years, I've lived in one of the most polluted parts of one of the most polluted cities in America: Long Beach, Calif. There have been days I've smelled gas in the air. Each week, black soot accumulates on my car and my windowsills.
I live here because of my family. And I teach here at a college near an oil refinery. My students live even closer to the toxic hazards of the twin ports of Los Angeles and San Pedro. Their children suffer from cancer and asthma. They are low income, and for the most part, they do not have the option of moving to cleaner, more expensive neighborhoods, like Rancho Palos Verdes.
I recognize that there is no safe place anymore, but we must certainly do what we can to protect our children and our loved ones from breathing chemicals and pollutants.