Comment: “Air pollution is the ‘new tobacco’, warns WHO head”

The Guardian has run a few articles concerning the World Health Organization’s findings on global pollution [1, 2]. There’s a discussion on reddit’s /r/futurology that is quite informative and scary.

I was going to share the articles on Facebook with a few tangential comments. After typing them up, I figured that I would share them through my blog instead.

A few weeks back I mentioned that niqab advocates ought to consider framing the niqab as an instrument for protecting privacy rights and resisting the growing trend of turning public spaces into a panopticon where our every step, purchase, and click is recorded and scrutinized by the government and private actors.

And now here’s another opportunity: niqab advocates could frame niqab as a filtration device. The west doesn’t seem to have any problem with Asian tourists wearing medical masks since they have a secular purpose. It would be even better if niqab manufacturers use material that actually contributes to filtering out pollution.

Likewise, hijab, abaya, jalabiya, etc, manufacturers ought to use some of the smart-materials outdoor-wear companies for reducing UV, breathability, wicking away moisture, quick-drying, and increasing hydrophobia. (And, while they’re at it, combine some of the filtration benefits of surgical masks.)

In sum, if Islamic clothing manufacturers aren’t aren’t already using smart-materials, they ought to in order to increase their products’ ability to obtain the objective of preservation-of-life and warding off harms.

Unfortunately, the folks who will suffer the most from climate change and pollution won’t be able to afford it. Meanwhile, the folks who profited will line their pockets selling clean air and water to consumers willing to accept the externalized harms so long as they land in someone else’s backyard and on someone else’s back.

It’s quite sad that we are so concerned with individual suicides and abortions, yet so unbothered that we’re about to cross the finish line in a race towards collective suicide.

If you’re curious about why I even think any of this ought to matter, see my papers where I argue for Shariah-based obligations to future generations and that we are not innocent of the wrongs that go into what we consume.

p.s. Expecting some sort of deus ex machina, Hollywood-movie-style, last-minute breakthrough isn’t praiseworthy tawakkul – it’s blameworthy tawākul.