This is the class blog for Eng 1102 at GA Tech called "Fiction, Human Rights, and Social Responsibility." The purpose of this blog is to extend our discussion beyond the classroom and to become aware of human rights issues that exist in the world today and how technology has played a role in either solving or aggravating them. Blogs will be a paragraph long (250 words) and students will contribute once every three weeks according to class number. Entries must be posted by Friday midnight.
On the week of January 28th, while most
of us are enjoying the clear skies and the fresh air, the citizens of Beijing, China
are breathing concentration of airborne PM 2.5 particulates. This means that every
breath they take it contains particles as small as 2.5 micrometers from smog,
oil and other gaseous contaminants. The size of the particle will determine in
which respiratory tract the particle it will stay, causing cancer of the
trachea, bronchus, and lung. The smallest particles, less than 100 nanometers,
can even reach our brain. To raise
awareness, entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao began selling cans of fresh air. This is
a fantastic idea to raise awareness, but by selling it on the streets he only
reaches those less wealthy, middle class citizens who are already suffering
from the disease.
Companies increase profits by diverging costs away
into the environment, which in the long term, increasing our cost for healthy living. Take for
example fast food restaurants, whose cheap burgers are a product of the mass production of cows
and dumping their manure into nearby rivers. The multimillionaire Guangbiao could
do more to attack the problem such as penetrating these companies and working
on legislative laws. At this hazardous state, which is above the 25 times World
Health Organization standards, we need to be thinking into the future and not
the greedy present. Although canned air was not given away for money, the act
of fabrication and mass production most likely created pollution and
contaminants. However, imagine a world in which the canned airs were not free
and those who do not have the means to pay would perish due to respiratory and brain diseases.
Is it a human right to be able to breathe clean air? The universal declaration
of human rights does not state how to regulate our basic resources such as water
and air. But it does state how our actions should not cause harm to others.
Beijing is invisible from outerspace. NASA’s photos
show a thick grey haze over the densely populated city. When will be the threshold
in which we all put down our tools, stand up from our desks, and realize that
it is in each of every one of us, the capability to prevent the destruction of
planet earth? I think what is holding us back is the monetary, profit based system in which we live in. It praises us for making decisions that although detrimental and inhumane, leads to the highest amount of money in our pockets. We need to redirect and shift our priorities to what is truly is important, the health of our planet and its living creatures.
Author: Aida Yoguely Cortés-Peña
NASA Student Ambassador
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Georgia Institute of Technology