My Kids Are Covered in a Blanket of Smog


This is a Guest Post from Jessica Gottlieb:

This morning I dropped the kids off to school and headed into the Hollywood Hills for a quick hike. As I often do in the mornings, I took advantage of the time alone to think about my day, how I would tackle the duties in front of me and the timing of our afternoon. As often as I like to use this time to plan my days I also end up daydreaming and wondering what the kids are up to. I think about Alexander and hope that heís raising his hand in class. I think about Jane and remember that I need to email the science teacher and remind him that itís the other Jane who tried to eat the science experiment and please donít punish my daughter.

I came to a turn in the trail and looked out over the city where my children were in school. I wondered if they were playing outside. And I saw the scene above.

Today is a warm day. You are not looking at fog creeping over Los Angeles. You are looking at brown haze that covers my city dropping particulate matter into the eyes, ears, mouths and noses of it all. We exercise and breathe in deeply gasping fresh air only to breathe in brown dust and dust too small to be seen.

I sent the kids to school this morning with sunscreen on, but itís the good sunscreen because my husband doesnít want them to have Vitamin A in their sunscreens. I pay seven dollars a day for Jane to get the organic lunch at school with most of the snack bar being grown right there on the school campus. Where there once were impatiens there are now leafy greens. I carefully packed Alexanderís lunch so that his perfectly ripe organic peach wouldnít get squashy.

It is second nature for me as a mother to care deeply about what goes into my childrenís bodies. I have happily sacrificed a few luxuries so that I can provide them with a healthful plate and a less toxic home. I have taken the same actions as most of the women I know. We love our children and we want to put only the best into their bodies.

This morning I sent my children to school to play in a cloud of brown stuff that canít easily be identified. Iím asking you to take an action today. Just one action and it wonít take much time. The Moms Clean Air Force has† list of ways that you can get involved. Iím asking you to be involved and to stay involved. We can take the lead out of our paint and the formaldehyde out of our carpeting, but we all have to leave the house at some point. Our children and our elderly are most at risk when the air quality is compromised.

ďThe moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.Ē Remarks at the dedication of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, November 1, 1977


Thank you, Jessica!

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Jessica is a career blogger and digital strategist. She is madly in love with technology but her first love is her two kids and husband. Jessica is the eponymous writer at and a panelist at Momversation. She has spent a good bit of her blogging career writing in shades of green at Green Options, EcoChildsPlay, MomsLA and Celsias, but she rounded it out with a little humor at National Lampoon. She has received accolades from Forbes, Nielsen, Babble and Fast Company as well as coverage from every news source worth mentioning from the New York Times to NPR and from Fox News to CNN.


Anne F.
Anne F6 years ago

I walk and take the bus. That helps keep the air clean, but the coke furnaces that pour smoke at night and the airplanes that land so often probably overwhelm my personal efforts.

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L6 years ago

I live in LA and am lucky enough to walk to work everyday. The air quality isn't good here, and when I cross intersections it's actually hard to breath sometimes, I try to hold my breath! We have to change this people. Granted I will say that the smog was MUCH worse in the 90s here. It is significantly better now.

Diane B.
Diane B6 years ago

Move to Florida, clean air and lots of sunshine!

Catherine S.
Catherine S6 years ago

It seems fairly likely that the smog over the LA area is from so many cars. I know culturally Southern California people really love their cars, but it's important now to look at creating good public transportation. It would be a huge undertaking, and at a time when the state & federal government isn't putting much money into new projects, but ultimately it will save money, productivity and lives.

Jeannie N.
Jeannie N6 years ago

It amazes me how mean spirited some people can be, are we all not entitled to share how we feel about issues? When it did become acceptable to snark at someone because they feel a certain way about our environment?? Wow!!!

Ingo S.
Ingo Schreiner6 years ago


Becky S.
Becky S6 years ago

It really is disgusting to come into a major city and see that haze hanging there. And it's not just the city itself, but the areas around it- I live in a pretty rural part of AZ(approx. 250 miles east) and we're always getting a haze cover from LA/Riverside. Makes me want to hold my breath every time I have to go into the city and I cough for a few days after I leave. YUCK!!

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Thank you.

Ellen Mccabe
Ellen m6 years ago

Maybe if your kids walked or carpooled to school, and you jogged in your own neighborhood instead of the prestigous "hollywood hills", the smog would lesson..and just sp as not to appear to snotty, I was born in Hollywood, so i'm not impressed with that at at all.
Thanks for posting, others will probably find it agreeable.