Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The loss of distant horizons – almost, but not quite, a literature review…

On my way to school pickup one smoggy, sweltering summer afternoon, I heard an older woman just ahead of me telling two small boys they’d have to go straight home that day. “It’s good to be outside,” she said, “but sometimes the air is not good air.”
– Beth Gardiner: Choked

As soon as I had gotten out of the heavy air of Rome and from the stink of the smoky chimneys thereof, which being stirred, poured forth whatever pestilential vapours and soot they had enclosed in them, I felt an alteration of my disposition.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger

Some describe sixteenth-century Bolivia, where the Potosí silver mine was the largest in the world at the time, as the start of the Anthropocene – the geological era in which human activity began to have a significant impact on the natural world. The air would never be the same.
– Tim Smedley: Clearing the Air

The last act when life comes to a close is the letting out of the breath. And hence, its admission must have been the beginning.
– Aristotle: On Youth and Old Age, On Life and Death, On Breathing

When I originally started researching the subject of air pollution, at the beginning of March 2019 – driven by personal health issues to produce something in-depth for my blog that would, hopefully, also heighten awareness of this worrying subject (especially in this rural Elysium that is Warwickshire’s Feldon: where defilement of any kind probably seems at its most improbable), I had aimed to put the resultant article to bed in time for World Environment Day on 5 June 2019 (whose theme, this year, was, fittingly, #BeatAirPollution).