Passive Driving, Senseless Flying
George Monbiot points out that relaxation of air pollution standards probably causes as much illness as passive smoking in public places.
As a cyclist, these failures drive me beserk. I refuse to own a car, partly because I believe it is wrong to fill other people's lungs with carcinogens. And so, while the drivers breathe their filtered air, I have to sit behind their tailpipes, drawing their excretions -- for I am exerting myself -- deep into my chest.No wonder I identify so much with Monbiot; I like to think that I get some of my best ideas while using the human-powered variants of transport. Nothing like it to clear the mind -- before the pollution gets in there to do a number on your heart and lungs.
Another Brit, Zac Goldsmith, editor of The Ecologist Magazine, appeared on the Morning Sedition radio show this morning. Goldsmith talked about oil depletion, and actually had the nerve to bring up the taboo subject of mathematics :
"It's a matter of maths."Good on him. He also discussed the idea of a tax on aviation fuel, primarily designed to reduce air-freight shipping. This idea addresses the absurdity of sending tuna caught in the Atlantic over to the far-east for canning and then shipping them back to the states. Or air-shipping apples grown in the UK to South Africa for waxing and cleaning before getting air-lifted back to the local Sainsbury's.
"It's a mathematical fact at some point there is going to be an oil crisis."
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