The directors are contemplating passage of a rule which could halt all growth in this area until clean air standards are met, and that's a good step, said Watson, who is chairman of the Clean Air Coordinating Committee.
But they will wait four years to Implement the rule saying they have to build a computer model to predict air quality, and that's a copout, said Watson.
"There is enough Information right now to endorse the law. Waiting four years for a computer model is just an excuse to avoid making any meaningful decisions," he commented.
The directors picked the number of four years not because It may take that long to build a computer model, but because 1976 is the last possible date they can comply with the federal law on their own. If BAAPCD waits any longer, the federal Environmental Protection Agency will step in and take land use planning decisions away from local government, said Watson.
He went on to say BAAPCD directors should realize the extent of the seriousness of this valley areals problem. "The valley is a special problem," he remarked. "The growth rate here was 15 percent last year, compared to 1.5 or 2 per cent elsewhere. I don't think it's realistic to say we should have better quality air here than elsewhere, but we should not tolerate worse air quality. Those who have lived here at least one summer know that a nice bright warm morning heralds a smoggy afternoon."
After a bad summer in 1969, the number of adverse days in the valley dropped in 1970 and again in 1971. Watson does not think this indicates a true trend, but resulted simply from cooler, windier air.
Donald Watson, chairman of the valley's Clean Air Coordinating Committee (CACC), told BAAPCD directors that formation of EQA is essential if the state is to have a strong coordinated effort to fight all forms of pollution.
"The directors of BAAPCD indicated they realized that air pollution Is related to other forms of pollution," Watson said yesterday.
"For example, it is not enough to get the lead out of gasoline. The lead will collect somewhere and then you will have a problem with water Pollution," Watson told directors.
Speaking for CACC, Watson urged BAAPCD to get more involved in legislation which will determine land use policies because they have a direct effect on pollution of the environment.
Equipment placed on smokestacks or automobiles can solve only so much of the air pollution problem, said Watson. The rest of the smog-fighting effort will hang on how many people are allowed to live in an area and what kind of industry is permitted there, he said.
BAAPCD chairman Victor Calvo invited CACC to help write legislation governing residential and industrial development.
Watson said he will present Calvo's invitation to CACC, which serves as the technical staff to the Valley Planning Committee's subcommittee on air pollution.
Watson commented, "It's a big job. We
will have to get opinions from people in the area and around the state. The
issues here are not a matter of legislation, but of turning around a tradition
in terms of land use planning."
Dr. Donald Watson, chairman of Californians for Environmental Quality, said the organization will lobby legislators "for passage of legislation which would create a single state board to control environmental pollution, Assembly Bill 1O56 by Assemblyman Edwin L. Z'berg.
"The Z'berg bill will create an environmental blueprint for California," said Watson. "In this single bill, the legislature has an opportunity to cut through the bureaucratic maze of governmental agencies, to the root of the problem."
Watson continued, "This legislation would create a single state agency with the power to deal with environmental pollution of every kind—air, water, noise and radiation pollution."
Two other Livermore residents, Ed Royce
and Bruce Held, are members of the group which was formed last month to coordinate
astrong citizens' lobby for AB-1056. CEQ is currently circulating petitions
throughout the state to line up support for the bill, and has hired a part-time
professional lobbyist to represent its interests.
Our valley can sustain a higher population and still preserve a high quality of life for the residents through careful planning now in order to avoid a poorly considered random sprawl.
In contrast, the research effort
concerning long-term health effects of pollutants emitted by burning fossil
fuels, whether in power plants or in automobiles, has been meager indeed.
The government must stimulate research designed to give lawmakers and industrial
policymakers the best information on which their long range plans concerning
electrical energy production can be based.
2. Write to your legislative representatives.
3. Keep informed on the actions of your local and state elected officials. Work for the election of men and women who have shown active participation in the struggle for ecological balance. Attend city council meetings and state your views.
4. Do your share at home by using low phosphate and biodegradable laundry products. Encourage neighborhood projects among the young people for recycling aluminum beverage cans which can be sold for $200/ton. Ride bikes and join car pools whenever possible to reduce air pollution from cars. Eliminate the use of persistent poisons and herbicides in your garden and yard. Remember that the total pollution problem is the sum of many small additions, and that the solution will depend on the elimination of many small contributions.
Smog expert and Lawrence Livermore Laboratory scientist Don Watson has taken active interest in valley environmental concerns for several years. As the leader of the local Clean Air Coordinating Committee, he has helped keep both the public and its officials informed about what's going on in environmental politics and science.
Watson feels there are a number of barriers preventing science from providing society with the background it needs to make responsible decisions.
The first barrier is one of misunderstanding, he says. Society has swallowed what he calls "the better living through chemistry myth," resurrecting Dupont Corporation's grandiose old slogan. This means that society, has come to expect advances of science and technology that are totally unrealistic. It's a myth that given enough time and money, science alone can solve all problems, he says.Watson thinks this misunderstanding exists both in and out of science.
Public officials motivated to provide social benefits don't know what's involved in obtaining them and often ask unrealistic questions.
"For instance, the California Air Resources Board would like to assess the impact of smog on health and has a laundry list of questions they'd like answers to in six or eight months. The pity of it is that even though the questions aren't answerable, there's always some guy who is willing to provide some answers."
Another misunderstanding revolves around the relationship of science to technology.
Watson defines science as developing knowledge, while technology means developing tools. But in recent years science has become a toady to technology, he believes.
"Big science is hardware and equipment oriented," Watson explains, and the justification for its existence depends on creating more and more hardware.
"But aimlessly building more machines, even though this might be justified by the arbitrary rules of the technology game, turns out to be an enormous waste of our resources in human creativity and imagination."
With the rise of technology, man himself has come to be treated as a tool, says Watson. Focusing on what a man can do in the material sense instead of the creative sense has guaranteed the squandering of human qualities.
The carryover for the individual scientist means that he is evaluated by his output because there's no background against which to compare his less tangible contributions.
"He's judged by counting his publications," Watson says, "which could be compared to determining a person's productivity by how many times he flushes the toilet. And it means that the funding bureaucracy is staffed with people who watch toilets."
This insistence on results also affects what projects receive funding, Watson continues.
"Most of the damage done by pollution isn't even suspected, to take the environmental field," he declares. "But proposals to discover something aren't as popular as those which propose to measure something that's already known, because with the latter there's a greater certainty of getting tangible results.
"So people who like to measure things get funded. And the scientist who wants to do some original work has to 'bootleg' it, sneaking into his laboratory on his own time or squeezing it in at odd moments.
Administrators in science often are unhelpful in creating a free environment where creativity flourishes, Watson believes. It's a problem he has seen in laboratories all over the nation.
"It's important for the scientific administrator to be an extremely mature and secure individual in order to create this free environment. But because administrators are chosen. by a process of 'natural selection,' it is the individual who has shown competency in other fields and who has 'kicked, clawed and scratched' to the top who gets the administrative post. He's frequently the least secure type of individual and least able to allow his people to be free."
Another social pressure working against creative science is the concept that research is acceptable only if the results are acceptable. People who give out money tend to fund projects likely to bring results pleasing to them.
Economic interests bring an indirect pressure that dictates against free science, Watson says.
"Those industries making profits by wasting resources and despoiling the environment have a strong reason to suppress that research which would point out their excesses. And with the wealthy in control of our government, when the wealthy feel threatened the government reacts to that."
This hasn't always been the way of the world, Watson adds. In earlier days of science it was the religious hierarchy which tried to suppress scientific knowledge.
But Watson sees reason for optimism for a more humanized and less mechanistic future society.
Values are being reassessed all the time, he says. He recalls the statement of one local official who commented not long ago, "A man has a right to pollute."
"People are beginning to respect the value that a man has a right to be free of another man's pollution," says Watson.
Another good sign is the women's liberation movement, Watson thinks.
"They've begun to resist the notion that by the time their children are in school they're no longer useful," he says.
"They say they have an intrinsic value, and that's an important beginning."
There are hopeful signs from industry too, Watson says.
"Industry has finally realized the productivity of their employees relates to the degree of satisfaction they have in their work. They see how money alone won't buy motivation and have started investigating ways to enrich jobs and make them more meaningful. This should yield an enormous pressure to humanize all human endeavor."
Finally, Watson says, more and more scientists are freeing themselves from old cultural restraints which isolate them and are becoming more involved with other human beings. This is leading to a reassessment of their roles, and the roles of society and science.
"A scientist's role has been to look at the world as apart from his culture. But he can't deny his emotional ties with his culture. He must try to involve himself in his society just like any other human being."
Watson concludes, "Special knowledge is
not the same as special wisdom."