"As the eastern U.S. and Canada reeled from days of thick wildfire smoke in
early June 2023, millions of people faced the reality of climate change for the
first time. Shocking images of New York under apocalyptic orange skies left
many people glued to air quality indices and wondering whether it was safe to
What they might not realize is that the air many of them breathe isn’t healthy
even when wildfire smoke isn’t filling the sky.
In fact, the air that 99% of the world’s population breathes is not safe,
according to the World Health Organization.
Air pollution is everywhere, in cities and in the countryside, visible and
invisible. It kills an estimated 7 million to 10 million people a year, taking
2.2 years off global average life expectancy. Worldwide, that’s a combined 17
billion life years. There is growing evidence that even low levels of air
pollutants damage the human body, increasing the risk of cardiovascular and
respiratory illnesses like asthma and emphysema, heart disease and lung cancer.
Because of its generally local and immediate impacts on human health, air
pollution is often not talked about in the same sentence as climate change. Yet
air pollution can be harmful for the planet, too. Nearly all actions to reduce
climate change lead to improved air quality, and there are many ways to clean
up air pollution that provide climate benefits."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics