Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution

Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution

by Beth Gardiner

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Overview

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 quietly poisoning us. 

Air pollution prematurely kills seven million people every year, including more 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 more 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.
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226630793
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 04/19/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 688,314
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Beth Gardiner is an environmental journalist who has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Time, among other publications. She is a former Associated Press writer. Both the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Society of Environmental Journalists have awarded her grants to support her work. Gardiner is American but has lived and worked in badly polluted London since 2000.

Table of Contents

Prologue
Inhale: The Meaning of a Breath


Part 1 Holding Our Breath


1
The Measure of a Lung: Charting Pollution’s Power
 
2
Ground Zero: Delhi’s Health Emergency
 
3
9,416: Living London’s Diesel Disaster
 
4
Air You Can Chew: Poland and the Price of Coal
 
5
Cows, Almonds, Asthma: Crisis in the San Joaquin Valley
 
6
Home Fires Burning: A Paradigm Shifts
 
Part 2 Coming Up for Air
7
To Change a Nation: The Story of America’s Clean Air Act
 
8
Reluctant Innovators: Air and the Automakers
 
9
Inch by Inch: L.A.’s Long Road
 
10
Live from the “Airpocalypse”: China’s Next Revolution
 
11
“To Whom Belongs the City?”: Berlin Looks Beyond Cars
 
Epilogue
Exhale: What Comes Next
 
Acknowledgments
 
Notes
 
Index

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