Air quality EU

On some days of the year there is a cumulative effect of bad influences on air quality in Europe. Cold winter temperatures increase emissions from heating. Outdated heating with coal, still important in Eastern Europe, causes high amounts of extra particles in the atmosphere. In January 2024 a train conductor strike in Germany irrespective of the good reasons for it, makes people take their cars. Road blockades by opponents to reducing diesel subsidies to agri-business add to the pollution situation on a specific day. Overall the population suffers and breathes additional amounts of cancerous particles. Particles settle as dust on crop producing soil, of which we all feed ourselves. This is a vicious circle, which we need to break in the interest of all of us, particularly for the more fragile people and children. The latter start to crowd the medical doctors with sometimes lacking the delivery of crucial medicines for this target group. Where do we go from here? Compromises are key, security of supply chain and allowing, not too much, time for transition periods.

source aqicn.com 2024-1-10

Put People First

Put people first is a natural claim of human beings. We tend to abstract from the fact that we implicitly rely on a sufficient biodiversity for our survival. Therefore, the natural claim to put people first has many preconditions itself and severe implications. The most obvious implication is related to our world of production and consumption. We need to build an economy that serves its people rather than one that uses up human resources and discards people to an inferior rank of importance. Externalising health and safety at work to save money in the process of production will only cost society much more later on. This needs to be part of the balance sheet of companies not only “national accounts” or relegated to some health statistics hardly known to the public.
Put people first in consumption, has come to our attention recently. With energy prices rising due to Russia’s war on Ukraine territory we have learned that energy prices may be grossly distorted. Firms’ versus consumers’ energy consumption became a thorny issue. Even legislation, like in Germany, that put people’s energy consumption before companies’ consumption of energy became subject for debate.
Same issue with artificial intelligence. Let’s put people first here as well. Discriminating use of language or biased conclusions due to wrong data input to train AI is not acceptable as excuse. AI may serve humans in their work or leisure, improve production lines through error detection or early onset of disease, but it cannot replace the human verification of a just or otherwise justified human intervention. Humans are not perfect, never will be either. This is a tough rule to teach the algorithms that guide AI. Put people first has a strong interpersonal or solidarity element enshrined in it. This is what matters, now, in the medium term as well as the long run.