Choked[PDF / Epub] ☆ Choked By Beth Gardiner – Nothing is as elemental as essential to human life as the air we breathe Yet around the world in rich countries and poor ones it is uietly poisoning us  Air pollution prematurely kills seven million Nothing is as elemental as essential to human life as the air we breathe Yet around the world in rich countries and poor ones it is uietly poisoning us  Air pollution prematurely kills seven million people every year including than one hundred thousand Americans It is strongly linked to strokes heart attacks many kinds of cancer dementia and premature birth among other ailments In Choked Beth Gardiner travels the world to tell the story of this modern day plague taking readers from the halls of power in Washington and the diesel fogged London streets she walks with her daughter to Poland’s coal heartland and India’s gasping capital In a gripping narrative that’s alive with powerful voices and personalities she exposes the political decisions and economic forces that have kept so many of us breathing dirty air This is a moving up close look at the human toll where we meet the scientists who have transformed our understanding of pollution’s effects on the body and the ordinary people fighting for a cleaner future In the United States air is far cleaner than it once was But progress has failed to keep up with the science which tells us that even today’s lower pollution levels are doing real damage And as the Trump administration rips up the regulations that have brought us where we are decades of gains are now at risk Elsewhere the problem is far worse and choking nations like China are scrambling to replicate the achievements of an American agency—the EPA—that until recently was the envy of the world Clean air feels like a birthright But it can disappear in a puff of smoke if the rules that protect it are unraveled At home and around the world it’s never been important to understand how progress happened and what dangers might still be in store Choked shows us that we hold the power to build a cleaner healthier future one in which breathing life’s most basic function no longer carries a hidden danger  .

Beth Gardiner is an American journalist based in London Her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times the Guardian National Geographic Smithsonian Time and the Washington Post These days she focuses mainly on stories about environment health and sustainability but she’s written about everything from politics education and feminism to food and the arts ​​ Choked her.

Hardcover  ☆ Choked PDF ✓
  • Hardcover
  • 312 pages
  • Choked
  • Beth Gardiner
  • English
  • 03 October 2016
  • 9780226495859

10 thoughts on “Choked

  1. Todd Martin says:

    Having worked in the field of air uality for nearly 25 years in both the private and public sector I was mildly excited to hear that environmental journalist and former Associated Press writer Beth Gardiner had published a book about air pollution who doesn’t love reading about work during their time off The text mainly consists of Gardiner traveling to various polluted parts of the planet London New Delhi Krakow the San Joauin Valley Berlin and others and talking to residents activists and government officials about the polluted air they breathe Along the way she throws in some information about CO2 and greenhouse gases though these gases are not considered pollutants because of their effects on human health but because of their contributions to global warming and as such fit awkwardly into the book’s main premise The primary point Gardiner emphasizes repeatedly is that air pollution fine particulates nitrogen oxides and ground level ozone in particular is terrible for your health According to Gardiner air pollution in the US is a contributing factor in than 100000 premature deaths each year If you are someone who regularly respires then this is an issue that directly affects your uality of lifeUnfortunately the book is a lackluster effort right down to the lame one word title an annoying trend I lay at the feet of Mary Roach The topic is covered in a way that is both obvious and lacking in novelty and Gardiner like every other writer with children entirely misses the most important contributing factor with regards to air pollution its direct relationship to population Rather than admit to her own culpability as part of this complex issue she opts for the trite and overly simplistic view that the problem is due to a lack of governmental regulation and that the solution is found in technological innovation that will one day supposedly eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels She makes one important point that bears repeating though because it isn’t obvious to many perhaps most people If you live in an area where you can Exercise outdoorsor Enjoy a view unobstructed by hazeor Go through the day without the air burning your eyes nose throat or lungsYou should feel lucky because millions around the globe do not enjoy the same conditions But here’s the thing ‘luck’ has nothing to do with it The clean air you breathe is the direct result of the efforts of civil servants who have dedicated their professional careers to studying legislating regulating inspecting and enforcing the activities and industries that produce air pollution These individuals don’t receive money from lobbyists and they aren’t beholden to special interests They are professionals with a passion for the work they perform who are dedicated to the public interest they serve These efforts largely take place behind the scenes and thus are nearly invisible to the public It’s become tiresomely fashionable to repeat Reagan’s mantra that Government is not the solution to our problem government IS the problem but the undeniable fact is that environmental regulations have been remarkably successful in curbing pollution For those dubious of this claim answer the following In the 100 years between 1868 – 1968 the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire 13 times Why are rivers no longer burning In 1948 20 people died and 6000 were sickened from air pollution from a zinc smelter in Donora Pennsylvania Why aren’t news reports filled with stories of deadly manmade toxic clouds The air uality in Los Angeles has improved significantly in the last 50 years despite increased population while that in Mexico City Beijing and New Delhi has become steadily worse WhyAnswer Because the regulatory approach to pollution mitigation works and there’s a very good chance you take these protections entirely for granted Many in the developing world are not afforded this luxury

  2. Anna says:

    I blurbed it “'Choked' is an extraordinary history of the air we breathe Brilliantly reported and beautifully written it takes us on a global tour that illuminates what's at stake when we fail to prioritize people’s—and the planet’s—health Gardiner sheds myths wrestles with moral complexity and reveals the social injustices that make air pollution a danger that both connects and divides us Along the way her candid interviews sketch an inspiring blueprint for how to move forward in one of our most elemental battles”

  3. Chip Jacobs says:

    Beth Gardiner an under appreciated environmental writer whose previous work has appeared in The New York Times and The Guardian among other outlets could've taken the easy way out As smog mutated from a lingering scourge in developed country into a global Grim Reaper killing upwards of 7 million people a year Gardiner could've sat back in her home base of London to knit together secondary sources and a few interviews to produce her debut book Fortunately she took a dramatically different approach She hit the road to visit pollution hotspots around the globe landing in destinations from California to Beijing to New Delhi to Poland to collect data report front line anecdotes and relay human stories of respiratory agony and hope Not only did she pile up air miles in pursuit of her uniue approach she added a medialepidemiological slant in ways I've never seen done heretofore in popular science books Combine that with crystal clear writing that focuses on individuals and admirable compassion for children's health as a mother herself Gardiner has uietly created an ecological tour du force part travelogue part air pollution history part search for blue skies Whether you're a casual reader professional environmentalist or college professor in need of important books for your curriculum I highly recommend 'Choked' Bravo Beth Chip Jacobs co author of Smogtown and The People's Republic of Chemicals

  4. Justus says:

    This is written in a format and style that I've come to loathe in science reporting It is the traveloguememoir where each chapter the author travels to a new place Fills the chapter with details like a description of the house that someone they interview lives in that aren't about the science but to humanize everything Who should I blame for the constant trend of books written like this I guess it must sell and that's why editors still encourage itBefore I tell you about this book let me first say why I hate this format First it is vaguely condescending; like the people actually from there couldn't possibly write something on their own and we need a white person to write it for them Gardiner doesn't actually need to fly to India India has lots of journalists including those who have written a lot about air pollution She could just use what they've already written We don't need a white person from the developed world to fly there and write stories about India All that money she spent flying there paying for hotels and so on Commission a local journalist to write somethingBut even worse the main reason for this style undermines the entire point of the book The author of a book like this will often say something like I could have read all the existing journalism from India about air pollution but I needed to see it for myself When they say this they are explicitly saying that since seeing is an fundamental part of understanding people who read their book also won't do anything If the author had to fly to India to understand air pollution then why doesn't that hold for the book's readers as wellFinally there's always this egotistical need to insert themselves in ways that have nothing to do with the topic of the book into the story When Gardiner is in Poland investigation air pollution caused by Polish coal we get a passage about how she sees a highway sign for Auschwitz and she was raised as an unobservant Jew I can’t help but feel their ghosts hanging over the landscape here and I’m glad recent decades have brought peace to this place Or how on a free afternoon she goes to the Warsaw Uprising Museum And hey turns out she knew nothing about Polish history Or possibly the worst passage in the entire book she mentions walking past a restaurant where she waitressed one summer in college 20 years agoDespite all of thatI thought Choked started off well enough before eventually floudering and not really exploring some of what I thought were the obvious things to do Choked is part of the small but growing literature about how air pollution is possibly the biggest health threat on the planet This year has seen major newspapers and magazines with headlines like Air Pollution Ranked as Biggest Environmental Threat to Human Health Air Pollution Kills as Many People as Cigarettes and The Biggest News and Health Story in the US That Nobody Paid Attention ToAfter a brief global overview Gardiner shows us air pollution in a few places And in each place she shows us how hard and complicated the root causes are London is being choked by diesel fuel But the adoption of diesel fuel was an attempt to increase fuel efficiency and reduce global warming Poland is being choked by coal They have memories of Putin shutting off the natural gas pipelines and especially in wintry Poland some sense of self sufficiency for home warming is deeply entrenched India is being choked by biomass burned for cooking But there's no infrastructure for propane gas distribution and the costs to buy new stoves to buy the fuel are prohibitive for these desperately poorThese sections are very effective and often touching Gardiner talks about girls in rural India whose highest dream is to be married into a family that has a gas stove And it conveys that these aren't easy problems to solve But eventually you're left wonderingyeah okay I get it What's your next move going to be You can't just fill up a book with anecdotesAnd that's where the book stumbles We get two long chapters that are basically history lessons A history of how America's Clear Air Act came to be A history of smog in Los Angeles and how unleaded fuel and the catalytic converted eventually became standard A history of the California Air Resources Board CARB I found these chapters to be overly focused on the US and just generally ancient history Other than the lesson of corporations will fight tooth and nail it is hard to know what to take away from this chapters and they make up nearly 13rd of the bookAs I read I realized what I think the two biggest shortcomings of the book are Gardiner never even tries to address two related topics Early on she writes What is perhaps most worrying is that the scientists learn about dirty air the clearer it becomes that there is no safe level But she never really explores what this actually means Most things in life politics are about tradeoffs How much money are we willing to spend for clean air If there is no truly no safe level then where do we draw the line Where do we say this amount of people dead from air pollution is what we're willing to accept in order to have modern civilization And related to this Gardiner only ever really interviews clear air advocates There are a handful of Polish coal merchants who grumble about why poor Poland has to give up coal when rich Germany hasn't even done it But Gardiner never really explores this very valid uestionShe writes that than 40 percent of Americans breathe unhealthy levels of pollution If the richest country in the history of the world can't afford clean air then what hope is there for India or Poland Gardiner has a line about a Californian struggling to make ends meet and how that makes it hard for her to do things that reduce air pollution But if a Californian a person from the richest state in the richest country can't afford to do itwhere does that leave usGardiner never really approaches these uestions and that's a big part my three star rating She convinced me with anecdotes that air pollution is a huge problem But what comes next

  5. Ietrio says:

    A hystertical we're all going to die if we do not repent about uite a common fact It was worse a hundred years ago It still is in the developing world It even happens naturally for example when a volcano erupts

  6. Barbara Keeley says:

    Very informative book everyone should be aware of the incredible pervasive presence of air pollutants

  7. Martha Fiorentini says:

    An extremely informative new nonfiction book about air pollution around the world and how various countries are fighting to combat it Sadly while China in particular is working to clean up their air the USA under Trump is rolling backwards

  8. Celest says:

    A good introduction on the issue of air pollution especially for someone who's only just starting to seek out info past the simple pollution is a Problem such as yours truly Gardiner explains the details of why it's a Problem in a way that's accessible to the newcomer Jargon rarely became a barrier to understanding the text and the chapters relaying historicalcurrent events the Clean Air Act the accomplishments of Mary Nichols Chai Jing's Under The Dome helped provide much needed context of steps that had been made to mend or call attention to the Problem Where this book falls short is Gardiner's failure to decide whether to take a realist's or and idealist's approach to all the information she provides The statistics and personal accounts she brings forward are solid; there's no doubt that there's injustice in air pollution Once she proceeds past the reporting and onto steps that are being taken or steps that should be taken her position becomes wishy washy This is what should be done she says on one page And then the next is riddled with doubt there's so much stacked against us will this actually work Again an eye opening account if you're new to reading up on air pollution and need to orient yourself The wealth of perspective Gardiner brings definitely outweighs the shortcomings

  9. Madeleine says:

    This book is an excellent overview of the state of the science; the global perspective is particularly valuable because it gives you a sense of the extent to which the causes of pollution and thus the particular types of pollutant differ by place I would have liked on how this work relates to climate change mitigation versus adaptation and when there are trade offs versus when there are win win scenarios Ie health cobenefits of climate change mitigation efforts but the gap here feels reflective of a bigger disconnect between the climate science and public health literatures so it’s a big ask of a single writer to fix Overall a great introductory book on air pollution and health

  10. Lance says:

    Our world's future is unclear and the author describes in terms of the air we breath how it has been and what may happen Without action breathing due to pollution will become dire But there are many rays of hope The book outlines both In this country the Clean Air Act has done so much But as the author indicates the current administration is doing all it can to dismantle it But they just do not understand the progress that has been made If anyone cares about the future this book should be reuired reading

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