WWE champion Daniel Bryan loves the environment. At least that’s his gimmick.
That’s why his appearance in Fresno on Tuesday (Dec. 18) may have been tough for him. He had no problem letting fans know the city’s air is some of the worst in the state.
“How else could you explain, all of you, continuing to lead these lives of vacuous consumption, despite the irrefutable evidence that you are destroying the very planet that gives you life? And the people of Fresno, California, … are the guiltiest of all.” — WWE champion Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan, the Environmental Heel
Bryan was in town for nationally-televised Smackdown Live on the USA Network. He recently turned heel, a term for a wrestling bad guy. His job is to get the crowd to despise him. And, berating the crowd for their environmentally-unfriendly behavior isn’t new.
For the past two weeks, Bryan has berated fans for their damage to the planet. He told fans in Austin, Texas, that they damaged the climate with plastics and factory-farmed meat. Last week in Las Vegas, he told the fans they were “mindlessly destroying the earth with their endless consumption. There is no such thing as a carbon hoofprint.”
He then compared them to parasites.
In Fresno, his environmental lecture continued.
“How else could you explain, all of you, continuing to lead these lives of vacuous consumption, despite the irrefutable evidence that you are destroying the very planet that gives you life? And the people of Fresno, California … are the guiltiest of all,” the bearded one told the Save Mart Center audience.
“You see, these people are proud of themselves. They probably don’t know the stats, but here’s a true fact. The city of Fresno ranks No. 1 in pollution in the state of California,” Bryan screamed to jeers.
The WWE kingpen then literally yelled “shame” a number of times to the crowd, eliciting more boos.
True, Bryan is a heel. But there’s truth in his comments on the city’s air.
Fresno on ALA’s Naughty List
Recent rain notwithstanding, Fresno’s air pollution is well documented by organizations that compile such data.
In this year’s American Lung Association State of the Air, Fresno got an F. The region is in the top five (or is that bottom five?) in three polluted air categories.
It is third-worst for short-term particle pollution; fourth-worst for ozone; and fifth-worst in year-round particle pollution.
Visalia and Bakersfield ranked ahead of Fresno in all three categories. So, strictly speaking, Bryan was wrong. But, since hyperbole and wrestling go hand in hand, he gets a pass.
ALA describes particle pollution as “a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe. Many of the particles are so small as to be invisible, but when levels are high, the air becomes opaque. But nothing about particle pollution is simple. And it is so dangerous that it can shorten your life.”
Particulate matter is measured in either PM2.5 or PM10. The 2.5 or 10 represents the size of particles in micrometers. The EPA says a single strand of human hair is 70 micrometers in diameter. Thus, a PM2.5 particle is 35 times smaller than a single hair.
Air Moderate Now, But …. We Know
It’s December, and it just rained. So, the air is relatively clean for Fresno.
AirNow, the EPA’s real-time air monitor, says today air quality index is 74, or moderate. Let’s hope it falls to 50 or lower, which is good.
Berkeley Earth, which analyzes air quality over a longer period of time, shows how much the air quality during the summer, or when smoke-tainted air comes this way, suffers.
The worst day this past summer was Aug. 4, when the PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) spiked to 100.4. The World Health Organization standard air quality is to have no more than three days in the year where PM2.5 is over 25.
In the last year, Fresno has seen 56 days over that number (even though the daily average is 16.9; that’s still above WHO’s guideline of 10).