Clean Air and Your Heart Health


One day, my younger son came home from school and asked to have a heart-to-heart talk. He announced that he had just learned that love did not come from the heart, as I had always told him. It came from the brain. I protested, of course. Sometimes it is a mom's job to befuddle facts. "I feel love in my heart, darling," I said. "And my heart hurts when love goes away. Not my brain. How do you explain that?"

He was just young enough to be learning the most basic things about the science of the human being. I was just old enough to be learning the most basic things about the soul of the human being.

All this was on my mind as I was reading our new fact sheet on heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. Number one killer. And it turns out that air pollution contributes mightily to our heart problems, too. We can do something about this -- for everyone's sake.

All too often, we don't feel the disease as it takes hold in our hearts. Maybe because they are so full of love. And maybe because we're so busy worrying about everyone else's hearts.

The love that comes from our brains is the love that keeps us fighting to clean up our air, to make sure the planet we pass on to the next generation is one in which they will be safe.

Which brings me to matters of the soul. We hold so many hearts dear -- whether our grandchildren's, or sister's and brother's, or our own babies. Air pollution is soul-killing -- I get a sickened feeling when I see smog blanketing our cities, when I think that some people treat our skies as their sewers, when I learn more about the greenhouse gases changing our climate. Ignoring the problem is soul killing, too.

So, for heart and soul, let's keep cleaning up our air.

Thank you all for joining me in this most important, and urgently needed, work.

Image: Shutterstock