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The silent killer

Our most vital resource is at risk — clean air

Our lungs work hard to keep us alive. Each minute, the average adult takes between 12 and 16 breaths — that’s the equivalent of 17,280 to 23,040 a day, or between 6.3 million and 8.4 million breaths a year (Puressentiel Pollution report 2018, uk.puressentiel.com). And, what do our lungs need more than anything? Enough oxygen-rich air to keep us breathing and healthy. But this life-giving resource is becoming infiltrated by more and more harmful, gases and particulates, which for the most part, are being introduced as a direct result of human actions.

This mix of particles and gases, known as air pollution, can reach dangerous concentrations, both outside and indoors. They can be damaging to the health of humans and non-human animals, as well as to whole ecosystems. Common pollutants include soot, smoke, mould, pollen, methane, carbon dioxide and monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur oxide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO, who.int), nine out of 10 people on the planet are now breathing polluted air. And, a staggering 91 per cent of the world’s population live in places where air quality exceeds the WHO safety guideline limits. The result is a growing global health crisis, with air pollution already killing no less than 7 million people a year — that’s equal to 13 deaths a minute, and 800 an hour — almost equivalent to the number of breaths we each take in that time. It accounts for more than three times the amount of people who die from malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined, every single year.

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About Vegan Life

The year is flying by, but when things are moving at breakneck speed, it’s important to stop and take stock. This month’s interview with the brilliant Lucy Watson gave me cause to pause — when talking to Lucy about her hopes for veganism in the future, she replied, “I hope vegans will start being kinder to one another, we are in this for the same reasons and trying to ‘out vegan’ one another just isn’t productive.” Every day on social media we see vegans tearing into other vegans — emotions run high when you’re deeply passionate about something, but is this actually helpful to the cause? We are all after the same future — one where animal welfare is as important as our own — but, surely in-fighting in the vegan community is counterintuitive. We all need to think before we post, comment or reprimand, before we send that email or write the letter. Would that passion and fire be better spent elsewhere? Should we be channelling our energy into helping non-vegans make better choices, instead of attacking our own? It’s something to think about. There are some terrible crises happening across our Earth currently, and it is a very frightening time. I really enjoyed Fat Gay Vegan’s insightful piece this month — he discusses how bringing people’s attention to veganism with environmental issues is a great start, but that we shouldn’t forget to explain about how animal exploitation is a crucial part of the conversation still. Check out his guidance on p30. Enjoy the issue,

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