Smog Blog

Hi everyone, Justin here.

Danny is taking this blog entry off and was gracious enough to let me steal some space. I do take some time off my juggling career (note the Pitzer orange tie) to do some real work! I come bearing an answer to the question you might have had. As you know, Pitzer is located in beautiful Claremont, California, about 35 miles East of Los Angeles. When you think of Los Angeles you think of the entertainment industry, the beach, freeways, and yes, even smog.
Let’s do some a comparison, shall we? Here is Beijing China just right before the Olympics:
Can you even tell that there is a building in that photo? That is what smog can look like. This is a photo I took on Thursday, July 30th at 9:27am from Pitzer Hall toward the mountains.
pitzer morning
Those are clouds in the background, it was a little overcast that morning. Here is what that afternoon (1:48pm) looks like from the same location.
pitzer afternoon
I grew up in the Los Angeles area and when I was younger and in elementary school and a bit into high school (I graduated high school in 1997) we had what were called “Smog Days.” These were days where the smog was bad enough that we were not allowed to go outside. This was something that affected all of Southern California. Since I have been back in California (since 2001) I do not recall there being any “Smog Days.”
Keep in mind that California has some of the strictest emission standards in the entire country. You can take a look at these graphs and see the data for yourself.
 As you can see in the graph above, things are getting much better. One of the students working with us this summer, Witt, is from upstate New York. If you visited campus this summer, Witt may have been your tour guide.
When I asked him about smog, he said that he thought it was going to be bad here in the Los Angeles area. He followed that up by saying that he has not seen it here in Claremont. There are plenty of days when you can see downtown Los Angeles (35 miles away) from vantages in Claremont.

What does this all boil down to? Basically, don’t simply go by your preconceived notions. Do a little research. We are always happy to answer questions.

To find out more information about smog and other environmental issues in California, visit the California Environmental Protection Agency at or their subsidiary, the Air Resources Board at .

This is all another reason why Pitzer’s focus on sustainability is some important. It is our responsibility to be proactive in providing a clean environment. To learn more about what Pitzer is doing, visit .

Enjoy the rest of your summer and hope to see you while we are on the road in your town during the fall.

Posted by Justin Voss, Associate Director of Admission

EJustin Juggleing