One person attending our chapter meeting for the first time on Saturday afternoon, April 29th, confessed that she came hoping to find some relief from the seemingly relentless bad news confronting us nearly every day. It is not easy to remain optimistic when the subject is Climate Change. We were fortunate that, in line with our idea of featuring various chapter members offering an insight into their professions and (pre)occupations, our guest speaker was Dr. Lisa Marshall, Professor at the University of Lübeck. Her topic was air pollution, and in particular, Particulate Matter.
She presented facts and figures and charts and statistics that were in fact, sobering. Research indicates that ultrafine particulate matter (PM0.1) from various emission sources—in the city mainly from traffic and aviation—can reach the brain. Everyone is at risk, especially children, when this kind of pollution travels through the nose and lungs into the blood stream and the brain, potentially affecting memory as well as bodily functions. So far in the US and EU ultrafine particulate matter is not subject to standard monitoring and is not effectively regulated.
Black carbon is another kind of particulate matter which contributes to global warming. Especially in the Arctic and Antarctic, it accelerates melting of snow and ice. We also discussed our own country`s extensive new climate bill, the "Inflation Reduction Act", which is an historic attempt to begin to address these problems. Some of those present asked about sources of more information, which can be found on the website of the DAG Environment and Climate Crisis Council: https://www.democratsabroad.org/eccc.
Many thanks to Lisa for reminding us to be more committed to limiting the damage. Knowing that someone with her capabilities and passion has committed herself to tackling this problem, specifically as it concerns the high rate of emissions in Hamburg, was certainly encouraging.