It’s no joke. John Green, British ex-pat, is hawking “fresh mountain air” from the Swiss Alps online, stating, “the air in the mountains is like champagne [so] I decided I had better start selling it.”
While it may be true that the air in the mountains of Switzerland is pristine, especially compared to cities like Beijing, New York, Mumbai, and others, Green’s desire to make a buck off of the sad state of the world’s environment is akin to the Nestle corporation trying to privatize water by extracting it and selling it back to citizens whom they stole it from, for thousands times it original cost.
Green’s site says, “claim yours while stocks last.” He supposedly collects the air near a babbling mountain steam, and he’ll sell you some in three different sizes: a pint costs $97, a quart $167, and a 3/4 gallon jar will run you $247. He also suggests you put it in your freezer when it arrives, and open it for the “best experience.”
Though Green states he plans to give 25% of the profits from selling air in a jar to the charity, World Vision, it seems in poor taste when 9 out of 10 people globally are breathing poor quality air, according to the World Health Organization, which recently called for dramatic action against pollution that is blamed for more than six million deaths a year.
It isn’t just developed countries who have poor air, either. The poorer the country, often the worse their air quality is.
The most unbreathable air is actually found in Pakistan where thousands die each year due to abhorrent air quality. The next worst air quality is found in Qatar, which joins its neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in a top ten “worst air” list.
It also costs nations around the world $5 trillion annually, often coming from tax payer’s money, and not by holding corporations accountable for the waste they dump into our air.
In direct contrast to John Green’s air-selling stunt are actions like those of Jorge Gutierrez, of Lima, Peru, who has created an air-purifying ‘super tree’ device that he says can convert as much carbon dioxide into oxygen as 1,200 trees, and the late Wangari Mathai who helped the women of Kenya plant millions of trees all over their native county to help with deforestation, soil erosion, air quality, and gender equality. There’s also Jadav “Molai” Payeng, a man who spent over 30-years single-handedly planting a 1360-acre forest in his native India, without ever asking for a dime.
Green might also learn from the Native American leader, Massasoit, who said, “What is this you call property? It cannot be the earth, for the land is our mother, nourishing all her children, beasts, birds, fish and all men. The woods, the streams, everything on it belongs to everybody and is for the use of all. How can one man say it belongs only to him?”
What are your thoughts about this?