Clean air, what’s that? – Part 1: At what cost, progress?

Deep reflection on standard-of-living and quality-of-life matters is well warranted here if for no other reason than due to the importance of one knowing how the air got the way it is, why it should be cleansed and what can be done to do just that. In the first of this two-part air-quality conversation, talk isn’t cheap: it revolves around what the state of the air is. In Part 2, meanwhile, dirty air contributory data from the last century will be provided, that, and a brief explanation both of the Industrial Revolution and its air-quality impact will be covered.

Something’s in the air

When you think about it, it is truly amazing just how much life has progressed – and improved. Interesting to note also is the advancement made with regard to technological development. For example, consider how rapidly this advancement has occurred, not just this, but contemplate for a moment what is available to us, not to mention the thought of how technological development has shaped peoples’ lives. Interesting it will be to see what surfaces technology-wise in the years ahead.

Take the case of passenger car development, for example, a technological marvel in its own right, and with harnessed power under the hood, for instance, motorized travel is possible. Consider the capability to do zero to sixty in no-time-flat. Check. How about the ability to go the distance, gas or no gas? Check. What about controlled atmospheric provisions in the cab all available at one’s fingertips to go along with all that other stuff? Check. And double-check.

Want more? How about the very latest in onboard audio entertainment, self-parking capability, cruise control and anti-lock braking function? Yes, there is that too. Getting the picture?

In the world of modern, mechanized, motorized transport, there is all this and then some.

With respect to the internal-combustion-engine-powered-motor-vehicle-side-of-the-equation, to complete the operations picture, not to be overlooked is an undeniable downside, that being exhaust. And cars powered this way have company.

In case you haven’t guessed what this is leading up to and what I’ve been driving at (pun intended) all this time, here’s a hint: The precious resource called air should in no way be abused as in it being used as an emissions sink, whether this be a one-time or oft-repeated deal.

It just so happens I received a response to another of my blog posts echoing similar sentiments. Here the commenter writes:

“As a life-long Fresno County resident, and an at least seventh generation resident, I desperately want the air in the Central San Joaquin Valley to be cleaned up. Everyone deserves to breathe clean air. It is a basic human right. It is high time for residents here to get good and mad. We must demand that steps be taken to reduce air pollution!”

In that new territory has been charted, what with the burning of fossil fuels that enabled the automatic heating, cooling and lighting of homes and the propulsion of internal-combustion-powered land vehicles – and rockets – to reach new heights and all, has such progress come at a cost? Has there been a trade-off, in other words?

Having said all of that, the takeaway here is this: once upon a time the air was pure, a time in which no one paid much mind. Being that’s not the case anymore; it’s time to pay attention and take and put pollution in its place. No, I’m not talking about into the hearts, bloodstreams and respiratory systems of living, breathing organisms. The place I’m taking about goes by the name “nowhere land.”

Time to get a move on and get to work to fix the damaged air.

– Alan Kandel

This post was last revised on Dec. 17, 2019 @ 6:45 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.