Los Angeles Times

Asphalt doesn’t grow on trees


Re “Parents step up calls for cool schools,” Sept. 8

The discomfort that our children suffer on asphalt playground­s has its roots in huge cultural mistakes that we even now perpetuate.

There is a current effort to “kill our lawns” to save water. We continue to enact “prescribed burns” to prevent wildfires. These are so deeply ingrained in our thinking that the words “necessary evil” are rarely evoked.

Such misguided thinking is not new. Pope Gregory IX’s ban on cats may have led to the Black Death.

Nature doesn’t create asphalt playground­s; bulldozers do. If you don’t tear out the grass and the trees, there will be a soft cushion for children to run on and shade to keep them cool.

Ivan Borodin


I attended high school in Van Nuys and graduated in 1961. I recall a typical boys’ PE class.

Coach gathered us in fifth period, with temperatur­es hovering near 100 and heavy smog, and declared it was too hot for him. So, before going inside he ordered us to keep running laps until the bell rang.

So we ran, trotted or walked laps until our lungs burned. One boy passed out. I went into the office to get help, and staff came out with damp towels and water and revived the boy. He was OK.

Aah, the good old days.

Jeffrey Nelson


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