Clean Air and the Baby Carriage


By Marcia Yerman

Children. They are vulnerable.  They are innocent. They are the future.  Perhaps that is why the American Lung Association has tapped into an iconic image to speak to the public about the need to fight for clean air.

Back in 1925, director Sergei Einstein made film history with The Battleship Potemkin.  His now famous shot of a baby carriage rolling down the Odessa Steps (released from a mother’s grasp after she had been shot by soldiers of the Tsar) has influenced scores of filmmakers. Brian DePalma paid homage to the montage in The Untouchables.  That infant in a pram was caught in a shoot out between lawman Eliot Ness and mobster Al Capone, two clear-cut extremes of good and evil.

The bright red carriage in the current television ad is shown in a series of locations around Washington, D.C. Although the baby is never seen, it is heard coughing and wheezing—struggling to breathe.  This carriage also ends up on an impressive set of steps…those belonging to The United States Capitol.

Will this get the attention of parents who may not know the facts on how toxic air pollutants emitted from coal-burning power plants affect children? Or that mercury impacts a growing child’s neurological system, which can then lead to developmental delays?

There is a mighty contingency out there that will continue to promote the concept that the Environmental Protection Agency is Al Capone, not Eliot Ness. They include big corporations with vested interests, and elected officials promoting the disinformation that regulations will kill the economy.  It’s the mantra from entrenched energy factions who don’t want to see an end to fossil fuels, despite what the science is telling us.

I hope that folks who have children will see that this should not be a political issue, but rather a cause for concern that they will do their best to learn about.  Check out the American Meteorological Society’s page on the history of the Clean Air Act.  You’ll be amazed to learn that “in 1306, King Edward I of England issued a proclamation banning the use of sea coal in London due to the smoke it caused.”

Some things never change.

Re-posted from Moms Clean Air Force. Learn more on Facebook.

Related Stories:

Who’s Watching the Children?

Why African Americans Should Care About Clean Air

Asthma and Clean Air: One Mother’s Fight in Texas


Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago


Magdalen B.
Magdalen B6 years ago

Wondering how 14th Century Londoners were expected to warm themselves and cook. Not much wood available in the city.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers6 years ago

I Agee with Carole H. Baby carriages are at the same height as exhaust pipes on cars. Maybe they should come equipped with gas masks. ...which is what I thought the post was going to ba about'

Shalvah Landy
Past Member 6 years ago

"You’ll be amazed to learn that “in 1306, King Edward I of England issued a proclamation banning the use of sea coal in London due to the smoke it caused.”"
I am amazed! And here we are 700 years later non the wiser and definitely not learning from history, we never do, do we?!

Robert F.

Governmental regulations and deregulation. While deregulation sounds very democratic, the always promised yet never delivered good that is supposed to come from no regulations on business has pushed us into an economic and ecological corner. Regulations define the playing field, and keep the focus on achieving goals. A football game without sidelines or yard markers becomes a free for all without meaning. The game is exciting because of the regulations. Winning has meaning because of the rules. Without rules, the game loses its enjoyment.

The relative disintegration of so much of what we want in life will never be stopped through deregulation. This only gives power to corporations who have little or no concern for people. Unless we become more responsible in everything that we do, big government will be required to become even bigger in order to provide boundaries and sense to lives spinning out of control. Pollution, and environmental devastation require government regulations, or corporations will pollute and destroy the environment even faster in order to maximize profits. Look at what BP did in the gulf last year.

Aurolyn L.
Aurolyn L6 years ago

The Republicans are saying that their threats to shut down specific agencies if they don't get their way won't affect those that "protect human life." Right, like the EPA and the FAA.

Carole H.
Carole H6 years ago

What about children in push chairs that are just at the height of car exhaust fumes? Even with changes in fuel what they are breathing in cannot be healthy.

Nance N.
Nance N6 years ago

We all need clean air.

Anastasia F.
Anastasia F6 years ago

I think a lot of people who would otherwise not care much about the state of the planet begin to feel motivated to change things in a positive way when they learn about how pollution, etc., can negatively impact their children.

Christa Leduc
Christa Leduc6 years ago

Toxic air pollutants emitted from coal-burning power plants and mercury impacts not only children, but adults as well, asthma is on the increase. Big corporations with vested interests, and elected officials don’t want to see an end to fossil fuels, despite what the science is telling us. They are only concerned in their bottom line.