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Highbrow's avatar

Did you know that pollution causes premature death all over the world?

Asked by Highbrow (366 points ) December 6th, 2012

1)How is the quality of water in your hometown? Do you think water will become cleaner or more polluted in your area in the future?
Provide reasons for your predictions.
2)Have you ever been to a city that had poor air quality?
Describe your experience.
3)Do you think developing nations such as China should be more environmentally conscious? Is it their right to achieve wealth as other nations did in the past?
4)Do you think pollution will ever drive people back out into rural areas?
5)What role should wealthy nations such as the US have in caring for the environment in comparison to poor nations?
6)Natural disasters such as volcanoes, forest fires, and hurricanes send fossil fuels into the atmosphere and spread pollution.
Why do you think nature acts this way?

The discussion is open for business.

Many thanks…

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10 Answers

Linda_Owl's avatar

Yes, I am aware that pollution causes deaths all over the world…. especially in the areas of the world where cooking fires require the burning of charcoal or wood. The soot collects in the lungs of the people (& their children) & it causes respiratory problems that lead to death.

JLeslie's avatar

1)How is the quality of water in your hometown? Do you think water will become cleaner or more polluted in your area in the future? Where I live now supposedly the water is very good quality, but the truth is I don’t know for sure all the chemicals that might be in it. Generally water in America is safe. I think in most cities it will get better and better, but poor areas in the country have been overlooked in our history. Factories dumping chemicals that contaminate water have been proven in the past, law suits won. Probably some of that will continue in the future in my country, but I still think the majority of our water is safe. I am careful about not buying fish from China since I do not trust their water. There are finally movements now for China to get a hold on their pollution, various pollution bth air, water, and other.

2)Have you ever been to a city that had poor air quality? Yes. Mexico City.
Describe your experience. It’s like you cam feel the pollution particles in your nose and lungs. It might be better now, I was there 20 years ago. While in NYC I can tell there is more in the air then when I sit in my backyard which is in the woods in a suburb in TN.

3)Do you think developing nations such as China should be more environmentally conscious? Is it their right to achieve wealth as other nations did in the past? Both.

4)Do you think pollution will ever drive people back out into rural areas? Not in great numbers. As technology advances we get better at controlling pollution. It is better for the environment to live closer together I think. Walk instead of drive cars, less travel for groceries, etc. However, if people are more and more able to live off the grid with energy options, and work can be done via computer, maybe we will see people more and more decide to live in a rural area?

5)What role should wealthy nations such as the US have in caring for the environment in comparison to poor nations? I think all nations should be concerned about the environment. I think America should be a leader in pursuing low pollution options in terms of funding research and having insentives for the country to do the right thing.

6)Natural disasters such as volcanoes, forest fires, and hurricanes send fossil fuels into the atmosphere and spread pollution.
Why do you think nature acts this way? I don’t think of nature having a reason. Although, I do think there is always an ongoing process of the life cycle. Some events renew fertile land (flooding, fires) reduce the chances of more massive problems later (fires now reduce larger fires later) and there must be other reason for other events that I am not thinking of.

gailcalled's avatar

The best way (easy) to test the water that comes out of your taps is to send it to a water-testing lab…available in any decent-sized city.

I have well water; the guy who tested it said “It is water to die for,” but he meant it as a compliment.

I don’t feel qualified to answer your more cosmic questions and I would not be presumptions to speak for mother nature. There are 1000’s of lbs. of expert writing on the subject.

Every nation and every person who is comfortable enough to have the energy should be paying attention.

I do my part in every way I can to leave a smaller footprint.

wundayatta's avatar

And yet, life spans are longer than they ever were, and more people are alive than have ever been. So, while pollution does shorten lives, it also enables things that lengthen lives. All in all, as far as life is concerned, I think most people would rather have pollution and longer lives than no pollution, but shorter lives that are not shortened even further by pollution.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@wundayatta Whose lifespans? Only relatively wealthy first worlders. Otherwise, even those are on par with humans during the mesolithic. Lifespans have fluctuated during the last 10,000 years; despite popular belief, it has not been a constant upward climb forever.

Cornell University’s study on the subject claims that over 40% of worldwide deaths are caused directly by pollution, most of it industrial pollutants. The rest is ( and this is my wording) due to the economic conditions exploited peoples are forced into by predatory economics and the militarism used to enforce it.

wundayatta's avatar

@incendiary_dan Perhaps life spans have fluctuated over the eons, but what does that have to do with pollution? Pollution is a recent phenomenon. I did a little looking, but I only found this chart which showed data for 1998 and 2000. I’d like to see life length data from somewhere in the 19th century to now in order to get a sense about pollution and it’s relationship to life span.

Death could be attributed to pollution, and yet people could still be living longer. It’s not as simple as saying pollution is bad. Pollution is a result of industrialization, which has had benefits, including medical benefits the world over.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@wundayatta Your apologetics were based on lengthening lifespans through the technology producing the pollution. That is false. Keep up, please.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Note also: before the practice of monocrop agriculture (10,000–12,000 BPD) being foisted on populations by authoritarian empires, lifespans, longevity, and overall health were relatively stable for homo sapiens, and at a high level. Many hunting, gathering, and gardening peoples in even relatively recent history have displayed this, many surviving to over 100 on regular basis (such as the Lakota before being forced onto reservations).

incendiary_dan's avatar

Diamond, J.
1987 The worst mistake in the history of the human race. In: Discover, May 1987
1997 Guns, germs and steel: the fate of human societies. London: Random House.
Gladwell, M.
2000 The Pima paradox. In: Goodman, A.H., Dufour, D.L. & Pelto, G.H., Nutritional anthropology: biocultural perspectives on food and nutrition. Mountain View: Mayfield Publishing Company.
Goodman, A. and Armelagos, G.
2000 Disease and death at Dr. Dickson’s mounds. In: Goodman, A.H., Dufour, D.L. & Pelto, G.H., Nutritional anthropology: biocultural perspectives on food and nutrition. Mountain View: Mayfield Publishing Company.
Harris, M.
1993 Culture, people, nature: an introduction to general anthropology, 6th edition. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers.
Hirth, K.
1992 Interregional exchange as elite behavior: an evolutionary perspective. In: Chase, D.Z. and Chase, A.F., Mesoamerican elites: an archaeological assessment. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Lee, R.
2000 What hunters do for a living, or, how to make out on scarce resources. In: Goodman, A.H., Dufour, D.L. & Pelto, G.H., Nutritional anthropology: biocultural perspectives on food and nutrition. Mountain View: Mayfield Publishing Company.
Sahlins, M.
1966 The Original Affluent Society, originally from “Man the Hunter” symposium
Black, B.
1992 Primitive Affluence: A postscript to Sahlins, originally from Friendly Fire

I know I’ve been gone a bit, but you do remember I’m trained as an anthropologist, right? More sources to come when I can get my laptop working correctly.

And while I’m thinking of it, can I point out how ethically atrocious it is to excuse killing some people to benefit others, especially considering the disgusting hierarchical ways it’s done? Those most exposed to industrial pollutants are people of color, the poor, and indigenous populations. That’s called environmental racism, plain and simple.

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