We never know what will happen in life. Insurance agents are always trying to sell you a policy that will protect your interests in the future, but often we are reluctant to purchase, saying to ourselves, “That won’t happen.”  Then, sometimes it does.

Air quality is sort of like that. We breathe air every day and it’s fine, right? Below is the forecast for the air quality across the US for today (9-9-11). Our area of Texas is the red spot down at the bottom.

Air Quality Index Forecast_for_9-9-2011

Air Quality Index Forecast_for_9-9-2011

We needed to buy that insurance policy.

Now, a lot of that red is due to smoke from the huge wildfires currently burning in central Texas. While we all love to smell a campfire in the autumn, the fine particles in wood smoke can be bad for you. The AirNow web site says, “If you are healthy, you’re usually not at a major risk from smoke. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases. Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have heart or lung diseases.” (http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smoke.page1)

So, all this smoke is making the air quality worse and even at times, like maybe today, unhealthy. The curious thing comes back to that insurance policy. What sort of insurance policy do we have for the air? Since controlling when wildfires occur is a bit difficult, perhaps the best insurance is clean air to start with, then when you add some smoke it’s not so bad. Funny, the EPA (and other government agencies) has just reduced the requirements for clean air. Some links commenting on these decisions and recommendations:

Health is a very complex issue and an individual can only be so mindful of their own health practices. Our larger society and the decisions made by those larger groups affect us all. The recent wildfires have shown one aspect of how our future is impacted by how mindful we are in the present moment.