Theory Making: affects of air pollution


We need air to live. But what if the air we breathe is killing us…

My Ecology Project focuses on Air Pollution in New York, and how that air pollution negatively affects those who are breathing it in. In order to conduct this research I am going to observe different locations, test the air pollution using Schobein strips, and interview the people who interact with these locations on a regular basis. After researching social issues that are and have been occurring in Manhattan, I came across an article from the Huffington Post from last year that stated “People who live and work in Manhattan are subject to a much larger amount of air toxins than those who leave their Manhattan jobs to go home to the outer boroughs”. I have chosen an *array* of sites to observe and conduct my research:

1. east river

2.  west-side river

3. construction sites (by nyu)

4. bus/ truck depots

5. residential areas mostly around (Houston and 2nd ave)

6. Washington square park

7. ** still trying to think of another area **

The reason I chose this ecology, was because I think that through the use of digital media, and in making people aware of this issue, we really can make a difference.

In today’s society, media is one of the most, if not the most effective way to raise awareness about social, political, and economic issues in the world.

I was inspired by Jane Bennet’s Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of things. In this piece, she makes this statement:

“ Think slowly an idea that runs fast through modern heads”.

This statement, in my opinion, is a good way to look at the Ecology Project I am taking on. Often, people know things are wrong in the world, know that there are things that could potentially negatively effect them, but often do not stop to consider “what can we do?”. “How would political responses to public problems change were we to take seriously the vitality of bodies… political events might change if we gave force of things more due” Bennet states. Media is one of the best ways to bring attention to these subjects.

In our reading, Software Studies, the author begins the series forward by stating:

“The arts, science, and technology are experiencing a period of profound

change. Explosive challenges to the institutions and practices of engineering,

art making, and scientific research raise urgent questions of ethics, craft, and

care for the planet and its inhabitants. Unforeseen forms of beauty and understanding

are possible, but so too are unexpected risks and threats.”

I think that it is so interesting that a textbook on software studies even begins the entire series by talking about the care for the planet and its inhabitants- something that we are not only focusing on in class and in our projects but also something that I personally think is important.

On Monday (I unfortunately will not have time to go out and take pictures to post here before the blog is due) I am going out to my sites in order to place my Schobein strips and take some pictures that hopefully will help render this idea and this ecology across more effectively. I also plan on starting my interviews. As a runner and as a college student living in New York City, I know that this air affects me every day and it is important that we are cautious about it.

Air pollution affects us in many ways. It can cause long term health problems such as chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys. Continual exposure to air pollution affects the lungs, and can put people at higher risks for asthma and other respiratory diseases. Air pollution also affects the environment. It causes acid rain, reducing visibility, damaging organisms such as plants and animals, and it is one of the major contributions to climate change.


~ by siobhanlynch on February 20, 2017.

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