AQI – Global problems, global solutions

One of the differences about working in Chinese schools, as I was reminded last week, is the importance of AQI. AQI, as I am sure you know, stands for Air Quality Index, and there are strict guidelines in schools in China for what needs to happen if the AQI rises above certain permissible amounts – above 100, for instance, children with respiratory sensitivities are required to stay indoors; and there is a sliding scale right up to 300+, when the school will be closed and no children allowed out at all.

It can be tempting to dismiss this as an issue restricted to the mega cities of Asia, or to blame it solely on outdated industrial practices which have long since been abandoned in other parts of the world, but this would be entirely false. (Besides, I have never seen as many – non-polluting – electric cars as I did in China.) Download an AQI monitor with global reach, and you will see oranges and reds (neither of which is good…) across the world. And the thing is… air doesn’t stand still. What is in the air will travel. One city’s problem is all of our problem, and any complacency we might feel, from wherever we hail, about ‘we’re ok’ is – quite frighteningly – completely unwarranted.

Climate change is without question, surely, one of the most pressing issues of our time, and it requires global solutions that start with each of us, but extend far beyond this. If the scientists are to be believed – which, quite frankly, they probably are – then we have little over a decade to avert unimaginable disaster. Our planet is working overtime to try to clean the air as we pollute it, and we need to start loving it a lot more, confronting our emotions and connecting with nature. My friend Nadine has worked in this field of research for years – read what she has to say, and listen to the voices of young people as they try to make politicians wake up to what they really, really need to be deciding on, now!!

There are tough decisions to be made, and we can’t keep living the life we have been living. Everything we do will help, so reduce your own emissions, understand what is happening in the world around you, eat less meat, leave the car at home, carbon-off-set your travel, recycle, cut down your over-consumption of everything, and agitate…

And start by downloading an AQI indicator… but remember – we share the same air… if there are reds anywhere in the world, this air is coming in our direction too. We are all in this together; let’s stop thinking it is someone else’s problem…

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: