The Benefits of Pollution
Quick Quiz: Where do you think the above photo was taken?
No…..although, good guess. I can’t fault you for thinking that. It does look like a bomb just went off. Let me give you a different picture:
The misty valleys of Wales?
Ummm….nope. That is not mist. Try again.
Here is one more:
A trash dump in Beijing?
DING! DING! DING! You are correct! Well, sorta.
This, IS the beautiful landscape of Beijing. But it is not a trash dump. It is just a little street corner, walking distance from our house. *Sigh*
Ahhhhhhhh….the beauty. Take it in folks. Take. It. In.
These photos were taken yesterday on my commute home from work. Suffice it to say we have been experiencing some pretty intense pollution around these parts for over a week straight now. For the last 6 days, the AQI has registered at over… wait….what was that? Oh, you don’t know what AQI stands for?
Of course you don’t. You do not religiously check this 5 times a day to determine if it is safe to go outside or to help you decide how depressed you should feel. Let me back up…
So, AQI stands for Air Quality Index.
It is measured in every major city around the world and you can find it easily by googling your city’s name and AQI. The whole point is to give you a sense of how healthy (or unhealthy/polluted) the air is by measuring chemical particles in the air (or somethin’ like that). A “bad” day in the States would be anything over 50. Most cities in the USA register, on average, at around 20-30. In Seattle, WA right now it is 21.
Beijing’s average AQI is 150. Okay, admittedly, that is just an estimation by yours truly and absolutely not rooted in any scientific data. I’m too lazy to really research it but I am pretty confident that it is, at least, a good guess. It is safe to say that we routinely experience hazardous air days. We do also experience beautiful blue sky days. But when it is bad, it is HORRENDOUS.
Some day I will actually write a post outlining why I live here. Based on my last couple of posts, I would guess that you are really starting to wonder. There are plenty of at least two good reasons. News flash: the fresh air is not one of them.
So a few months ago, an article circulated around the Interwebs that attempted to put a fresh (no pun intended) new spin on the pollution in Beijing. Basically, they said breathing in extremely toxic chemicals can have positive social benefits such as (and I quote):
1. It unifies the Chinese people.
2. It makes China more equal.
3. It raises citizen awareness of the cost of China’s economic development.
4. It makes people funnier.
5. It makes people more knowledgeable (of things like meteorology and the English word haze).
Oh China. You are funny. Hold up. Maybe they are on to something.
Here is one more benefit for ya. When it is over 300 for a week straight, you don’t leave your house. When you don’t leave your house, your husband gets super bored. When your husband gets super bored, he finally helps you hang up pictures in your barren hallway. See? Pollution is amazing.
If you recall from my little house tour post, the bottom of our 2nd level staircase used to look like this:
I have had a stack of frames laying around for…oh…about…forever now…that I have wanted to hang up.
I just could never find the time (or the husband) to get ‘er done. Enter pollution. Hooray!
I knew I wanted the wall to feature the 3 over-sized text prints, that read ‘Enjoy the little things’.
I downloaded these free printables from one of my favorite home blogs, Sarah M. Dorsey Designs. I had always admired them in Sarah’s House and just love the message. It is something I need to be constantly reminded of. She is so nice to let us all have ’em for free!
I didn’t have access to any fancy paper or anything. I just printed them off at my school on regular ol’ computer paper and got them framed. #classy
We had no real plan for laying out the design, just kinda eyeballed it. We put the 3 main frames up first and filled in the gaps with whatever fit and we already had lying around. In many cases we hung up the frame but do not actually have a photo yet to go in it or there is a photo in it that we know we are gonna switch out.
The next step is to flip through our billions of photos and tried to find some our favorite “little moments”. I still have to gather a few more frames and maybe even create some homemade art. Right now it is looking a little monotone – a little too black and white. Ultimately, we want to wall to be colorful, cheerful and eclectic. You know, something you would walk by on a 300+ day and smile at.
All and all I would call it a success. At the very least, it is a giant step in the right direction. Brado even fessed up that he loves it and it makes him want to finish hanging up the rest of our frames that are lying around. YES!
Pollution for the win!