Photo from Pixabay

“Sister Earth, along with all the abandoned of our world, is crying out, pleading that we take another course.” (Laudato Si, #53)

Sister Tess’s story brings to light the reality of urban pollution and the health impacts that it can have in our communities. Air pollution is the biggest environmental factor causing premature deaths. Children, the elderly, and minority and low-income communities are particularly vulnerable to adverse health effects due to air pollution. It is unjust and alarming that more than 90% of the world’s children breathe toxic air every day. The phenomenon of urban pollution follows the wider reality of environmental injustice in our world: those least responsible for environmental degradation bear the brunt of its negative repercussions.

Do you know the quality of the air that you breathe? It is a privilege to have heating and air conditioning systems that filter air in parts of the world. How would your intake of air be different if you had/did not have these systems?

If you are curious about how your air compares to the quality of air in other parts of the world, explore this real-time air quality map: http://berkeleyearth.org/archive/air-quality-real-time-map/. For more information, read the New York Times’s article, “See How the World’s Most Polluted Air Compares with Your City”: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/02/climate/air-pollution-compare-ar-ul.html.