Where pollution comes from

June 18, 2019 by Joshua
in Nature

We’ve seen pictures of heavy pollution like this in Beijing:

We’ve seen similar images for New Delhi, Mexico City, and so on. When I talk to people about polluting less, many talk about situations like them and suggest the third world has to clean up more than we do.

Concentrations of pollution as high as in the picture above result from geography, like being in a valley where pollution can’t escape.

What about total amount of pollution? This graph of energy use says it all:

We North Americans aren’t cleaner by emissions. We just have lucky geography. We don’t have to look farther than ourselves to find the greatest sources of pollution.

What we could have instead

The missing message I’m sharing is the joy, meaning, and purpose of living a life that pollutes 80% or 90% less than the typical American — not just greenhouse emissions, but pollution from plastic, mercury, dioxin, etc.

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