The Case For Clean Commuting – In Four Really Easy Multiple Choice Questions
Question #1: Which of the following have been linked to (but not necessarily caused by) poor air quality?
- a) anxiety
- b) stroke
- c) asthma
- d) emphysema
- e) heart disease
- f) cardiovascular health
- g) behaviour issues in children
- h) mental health issues
- i) autism spectrum disorders
- j) cognitive development in school kids
- k) pre-term births
- l) low birth weight
- m) reduced gross domestic product
- n) all of the above
Answer #1: n) all of the above.
The Canadian Medical Association estimates that 21,000 people die prematurely from air pollution each year in Canada, about nine times more than the number killed in traffic accidents…and it’s estimated that 10 million Canadians are at risk from exposure to traffic pollution.
Question #2: In light of all the nasty things linked to (but not necessarily caused by) air pollution in Question #1, what can you do about it?
- a) throw up your hands in despair
- b) wear a special suit that creates a bubble of clean air around you
- c) wait for someone else to do something
- d) stop breathing
- e) reduce your contribution to air pollution by practicing clean commuting
- f) all of the above
Answer #2: f) all of the above.
Hey – you’re a grown-up, you can do whatever you want.
What you probably should have chosen for Answer #2: e) reduce your contribution to air pollution by practicing clean commuting.
Yes, energy efficiency does contribute to cleaner air, and Ontario’s phase out of coal generating stations has done wonders for our air quality, but this edition of Talkin’ Trash is dedicated to clean commuting.
Question #3: What the heck is “clean commuting” anyway?
- a) cycling
- b) walking, running, roller blading
- c) taking public transit
- d) pogo-sticking
- e) carpooling
- f) all of the above
- g) all of the above except d) – you won’t catch me on a pogo stick
Answer #3: f) all of the above…but g) will be accepted.
Question #4: Aside from cleaner air, what are some of the other benefits of clean commuting?
- a) all of the below
- b) saving on parking, gas and car insurance costs
- c) leading an active, healthy lifestyle
- d) making new carpooling friends, and buying coffee for everyone with all that money you’re saving on parking, gas and car insurance
- e) getting your picture taken as you pogo stick down University Avenue and having it go viral
- f) using your public transit time to catch up on your reading, podcasts, music, emails, study of a foreign language and the many other things you can’t easily do while driving alone in a car
Answer #4: a) all of the below…just to make sure you were paying attention.
Poor air quality has been linked to:
- anxiety – http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/03/31/us-air-pollution-anxiety-stroke-idUKKBN0MR2C120150331
- stroke – http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32024727
- asthma & emphysema – http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/air/out-ext/health-sante/respir-eng.php
- heart disease – http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1661313,00.html
- cardiovascular health – http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/26/ozone-can-harm-the-heart-in-as-little-as-two-hours/ and http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/air/out-ext/health-sante/cardio-eng.php
- behaviour issues in children (blame this one on mom) – http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/23/moms-exposure-to-air-pollution-can-increase-kids-behavior-problems/
- mental health issues – http://www.livescience.com/49863-suicide-air-pollution-inflammation.html
- autism spectrum disorders – http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/123-a68/
- cognitive development in school kids – http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/traffic-pollution-tied-to-slower-cognition-in-schoolchildren-1.2980163
- pre-term births –http://www.ehjournal.net/content/10/1/89
- low birth weight http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261935/
- reduced gross domestic product – http://europe.newsweek.com/beijing-shuts-down-coal-power-plants-air-pollution-costs-economy-316829
- 21,000 pre-mature deaths each year in Canada – http://www.cmaj.ca/site/misc/pr/21oct13_pr.xhtml