Tahoe Pine Nuts: Giving thanks for neighbors and the air angels breathe
Like you, if you live near The Lake Of The Sky, I have the nicest neighbors this side of the Pearly Gates, and two doors down they’re raising two of the most exemplary daughters you ever met. The girls are polite as pie, and will hail you and run and give you a hug, or ring your doorbell and give you a handful of dirt from a toy dump truck.
I’ve had the luxury of living in Cape Cod, Carmel, and the Hawaiian Islands and have had some wonderful neighbors along the way, but nothing like what I have now at Lake Tahoe. Though they do make me feel like a Banana Slug when they leave for work so early in the morning, then take the older daughter to soccer practice after work, and then head to a fundraiser for a less fortunate family who might need a helping hand.
I intend to make a little contribution to the girls’ college fund at Christmas, and though I don’t know their parents’ legal status, should they happen to be deported before the girls get to college, they will see me in their rearview mirror all the say to Sayulita, and I will do everything in my power to help get them back home to Tahoe, as they are a valued asset and integral part of the social fabric of our community.
So what kind of planet are we going to deliver to these amazing girls? Our planet is sick, but many who pull the levers of power don’t recognize the illness. An observation made popular by Mark Twain years ago is proving to be more prescient with every passing day, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
Sabrina Tavernise tells us just how slow man is to react to air pollution in her recent article entitled, “Smog so thick it could kill a cow.”
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“In December 1873, London was blanketed for a week in a yellow fog so thick that people could not see their feet. ‘Ladies & gentlemen,’ Mark Twain said in a public lecture at the time, ‘I hear you, & so know that you are here — & I am here, too, notwithstanding I am not visible.’
Some 780 people died and 50 prize cattle on display at the Smithfield Club panted, wheezed and eventually died of asphyxia. Still, it took 83 more years of noxious air before England passed the Clean Air Act in 1956.” Meanwhile worldwide deaths from outdoor air pollution has risen to 4.2 million in 2015.
New Delhi closed 1,800 public schools one day last week when levels of dangerous particles called PM2.5 reached 600 micrograms per cubic meter, the equivalent of smoking 40 cigarettes a day.
And Tehran closed schools for two days last week. “It makes people agitated, depressed and even aggressive,” said Parisa Pakdel, a psychoanalyst in Tehran. “Youths lose their ability to concentrate, become hyperactive and develop sleep disorders.” Poisonous air has become the new norm in Tehran.
So those of us lucky enough to live up in “the air that angels breathe,” are grateful that 190 countries have committed to the Paris Agreement of holding the increase in global average temperature to below two degrees Celsius, our last best chance to heal our ailing planet.
We want all of God’s children to have plenty of fresh air to breathe when they celebrate Thanksgiving in 2040, and to insure that, we need to be proactive in 2016-17.
On this Thanksgiving day, let us be thankful for what we have, and gather our strength for saving the world on the morrow…
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.
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