Made In The Shade Vegetables

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Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s?

Grist

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

“We should get out of here,” says air pollution chemist Eben Cross. At 7 a.m. on this cold November day the wind blows steadily through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Cambridge campus, cutting through our thin jackets. But Cross isn’t afraid of the cold. He worries about the air we’re breathing — especially considering the six fire trucks directly ahead, idling in the dim morning light.

“We’re getting hammered right now,” Cross says, shouting over the hum of the engines. He’s taken his gloves off to manipulate the display panel on his pollution monitor. The acrid smell of diesel is unmistakable. “Anytime you can smell it, you are in a regime that is very polluted,” he says. “In many ways your nose is a better mass spectrometer than any…

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A Man and a Shovel

Walk Humbly

Yesterday I saw a man repairing the steep downhill path to his house. He was moving gravel from one area to another presumably to fill the holes and make walking easier. He was using a shovel that was about a third worn down in a ragged patterned edge. I doubt the shovel was sharp enough or big enough to scoop much gravel. He was filling a 5 gallon plastic bucket and carrying it uphill and dumping it on the path. It was very hot and I was dripping with sweat with just the effort of walking, slowly. This scene made me think. It made me think a lot. First of all, how difficult work is without the proper tools. And then, how difficult it is to have the proper tools when you live in a house accessible only by a steep gravel path. The scene also made me think about…

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