Breathe The Air

@moffittjc (34311)
Gainesville, Florida
January 14, 2016 5:21am CST
Many of you have been following my posts about the impressions foreigners have when they first step foot on the shores of the United States. In a recent post, I mentioned that I would be meeting with five new interns I have at work, three of whom are foreign students studying here in America, and would report back on their first impressions of the US. There is a huge worldwide perception that America is a violent place (not true), so I expected that to be a topic of their conversation. However, that never once even came up. Instead, the topic was more environmental. My student from China said he was amazed at how clean and clear our air is, and how fresh everything smelled. In his native China, smog and pollution are horrendous problems, so much so that he says just about everyone wears masks when they go outside to help minimize the toxins and pollutants they are breathing. He assumed it would be similar here since we are an industrialized nation. He was completely amazed at the quality of our air! In addition, he said he was also surprised by the abundance of trees, forests, and parks all around him, even in the cities. He said that he could tell that Americans valued their environment. I've always been an avid outdoorsmen, and spend a lot of time camping, fishing and hunting. So I've grown up in the woods and forests of our country, and have always admired their beauty and abundance. But I never really thought about the big picture perspective, that Americans as a whole do absolutely value their parks and open spaces. Have you ever really thought about the value of trees, parks, open spaces, and even the clean air in your community? Sometimes we take these things for granted, so it is nice to hear about it from another person's perspective!
10 people like this
9 responses
@jaboUK (50038)
• United Kingdom
14 Jan 16
I've read about the horrendous smog in China - I'd hate to live there. I think we value our environment in the UK - even in our cities there are plenty of open spaces and parks.
3 people like this
@gudheart (12804)
14 Jan 16
I have also heard about it too. It is so dangerous :(
2 people like this
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
14 Jan 16
The last time I was in London I was pretty impressed with the number of parks and open spaces! A friend of mine just returned from a trip to China, and she said the smog is horrendous there.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
14 Jan 16
@gudheart If you look at the photos of Bejing, the smog is so thick that you can't see five feet in front of you!
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (31622)
• Denmark
14 Jan 16
I live in Germany which is also a clean country although it's highly industrialised. There is still a lot of green, too, albeit on a much smaller scale than the USA, of course. I know and think about this even without talking to foreigners.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
14 Jan 16
I think we are lucky in that many of the "older" industrialized nations have figured out how to clean up their environments and protect their trees, water and air. I think many of the newly industrialized nations are struggling with how to promote economic growth but at the same time protect their environmental qualities.
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
16 Jan 16
@moffittjc It is indeed. My husband grew up with the reddish orange dirt that is pretty common in Alabama as well. He thinks I'm crazy when I gush over how striking the fields look when they are freshly ploughed, especially when the grass on the verges is green.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
16 Jan 16
@Platespinner Awesome! I never knew the reddish/orange dirt extended that far east into the Carolinas! I always thought it was unique to Georgia/Alabama!
1 person likes this
@JESSY3236 (4885)
• United States
14 Jan 16
Every time I read an article about China, I always think how blessed we are for the clean air we have here.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
14 Jan 16
Thankfully, we've worked hard as a nation to improve our air quality. Looking back in our history, we always didn't value our air quality. Thankfully people were very forward-thinking in passing laws that improved our nation's air quality. Now, we just have to work on Los Angeles!
1 person likes this
@Platespinner (18067)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
14 Jan 16
I spent 10 months in Pasadena, CA in the LA basin smog, where Mt Wilson loomed near-by but was only visible on rare occasions. I REALLY appreciate clean air and the green!
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
14 Jan 16
It's a shame that we can't figure out how to clean up the smog in LA! That's probably the one sore spot we have in our country's air quality!
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (118227)
• Switzerland
14 Jan 16
In Switzerland we have plenty of trees, lakes, brooks with clean and non polluted air. When my niece comes to visit from Milan (Italy) she always tell us how much the air is different. Of course Milan is a big polluted city (not as bad as China).
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
14 Jan 16
Good for Switzerland for having such beautiful land and such clean air!
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (118227)
• Switzerland
14 Jan 16
@moffittjc Austria is more or less the same, the two countries are very similar.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
16 Jan 16
@LadyDuck I've always wanted to visit Austria and Switzerland, and now based on your comment I want to visit even more so now!
1 person likes this
• Greece
16 Jan 16
This reminds me of a food technologist who told me that the additives in our food do not harm us - it is the air we breathe that does the most damage. When people from Athens come and visit us in the countryside they often exclaim about the freshness of the air here. So they should, it comes directly from the sea and wafts through pine trees on the way.
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
16 Jan 16
I currently live about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the ocean, but our air is so crisp and clean that visitors often comment about how they can smell the ocean, even this far inland from the sea! Isn't it nice to have such good, clean air?
• Greece
16 Jan 16
It makes up for a lot of other things that are just not available outside the big city. How amazing that the smell of the sea carries so far.@moffittjc
1 person likes this
@Dena91 (3600)
• United States
14 Jan 16
What a wonderful thing it is to see something from another perspective. We are a blessed nation in that there are so many beautiful parks. I'd love to see all the national parks. have a blessed day
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
14 Jan 16
I've been to a few national parks, and I would love to see more. My best friend over the past few years has been taking a month off from work during the summer to travel around the country just to visit the national parks. His goal is to visit every single national park.
@JudyEv (96468)
• Bunbury, Australia
14 Jan 16
I've seen photos of the people all wearing masks and the atmosphere full of smog. No wonder he finds the US so clean.
@moffittjc (34311)
• Gainesville, Florida
14 Jan 16
I hope the Chinese can figure out how to clean up their air pollution. They are slowly killing themselves due to the pollution problems!
1 person likes this
@VivaLaDani13 (16103)
• Perth, Australia
18 Nov
@moffittjc I think about these things often actually. So many trees are being cut down here to make room for more buildings we do not need! Making space for more things to pollute the air and trash the streets. P*sses me off. Money seems more important and valuable to these people than the world we live in.