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Trick or Treat: LA’s Environmental Goblins Won’t Disappear After Halloween

By Larry Kopald, LASC Advisory Board


Trick or treat. I recently saw a couple at a Halloween party where one was dressed up as toxic waste and the other was in a Hazmat cleanup suit. People thought it was hilarious, and it got me thinking—are we becoming so numb to environmental threats that they’ve become funny?

It’s highly unlikely that members or supporters of LASC feel that way. We all know the facts. Virtually everything we eat, drink, and breathe is now intentionally or accidentally contaminated with chemicals our bodies cannot process. In fact, a friend of mine, a second-generation cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins, has written a book called Cancer Is Good For You about this exact thing. It’s based on his underlying hypothesis that since we are continually evolving, right now our bodies may be trying to evolve to handle all of these unnatural chemicals and toxicants we are asking them to process. He postulates that we are now in a mutative state called cancer, and wonders if cancerous tumors are simply the body’s attempt to create a new gland that can help us do what nature hasn’t yet enabled us to do.  I’m not a doctor, but I’ve got enough common sense to know that we’re asking our bodies—and our planet—to process things without any mechanism with which to do so.

That’s not funny. But it may be scary enough to numb us into inaction. A well-known school in Los Angeles, for instance, is going though a difficult time because the new sports field they installed is made from ground up tires—which are full of hazardous compounds. Some parents are lobbying to change the field, other parents express feelings that “We live in LA, so what’s one more toxic thing?”

Environmental goblins won’t disappear after Halloween. But before you start picturing me in a Grim Reaper costume, allow me to talk a little about what happens if we all get back involved in keeping our planet, and our city, healthy.

Imagine LA with a glorious river running where a cement channel currently lives, surrounded by thousands of trees that cool our city and clear our air. Imagine expanding Metro instead of the 405 and taking billions of polluting miles off our roads and out of our children’s lungs?  Sounding a little less spooky, no?

But it won’t happen if we don’t all demand it. Not wish for it, demand it. People who don’t fight for safeguards on chemicals, food grown naturally, or school playgrounds that don’t expose our children to potential harm lose the right to complain about cancer or pollution or the cost of healthy foods.

Los Angeles is our home. We’ve just ended two terms of a green mayor, and as a result our air is cleaner, water conservation is way up, and our streetlights are more efficient. Those things didn’t happen by accident. Now we have momentum and a new administration also committed to making this city healthier and more sustainable. It’s the perfect witches brew.

All we need to do it continue to stir it up.



The content of the EcoAngeleno blog reflects the opinions and ideas of each writer and does not necessarily reflect an official LASC viewpoint or stance. LASC is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization. As such, LASC cannot engage in political election campaigning. Thus, EcoAngeleno content may not make any direct or implied statement endorsing or opposing any political party or candidate for office.  We encourage you to offer comments in the spirit of conversation. Please be polite and respectful of everyone- even if you do not agree with their beliefs or viewpoints. We encourage respectful conversation but we will remove comments that are abusive or malicious or comments that are spam and commercial/self-promoting solicitations.