Question: What are examples of "real-life", immersive experiences that help people understand pollution?

fongvania is asking a question about general
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by fongvania | November 04, 2021 03:35 | #28075

Often, the pollutants that get into our air, water, and soil are invisible and "out of sight, out of mind". Even with a network of sensors and real-time graphs showing air quality, people often don't intuitively know what a certain number feels like. What are creative ways to help people not just visualize, but contextualize what environmental measurements mean and make data tangible?

A couple I've heard of include Michael Pinsky's Pollution Pods, immersive pods that simulate air quality of the most polluted cities, New York Times Pollution Augmented Reality app, which uses floating particles to indicate levels of pollution, and Andrea Polli's Particle Falls, a public art installation that also serves as a real-time visualization of particulate matter. The California Air Resources Board is commissioning a public art collection that will be the world’s largest permanent collection of artworks addressing air quality and the effects of climate change.


When seing birds at the west coast in Denmark soiled in oil unable to fly away and litereally crying for help... It was after an oil spill. I will never forget the images and it actually helped me understand how humans overconsume and creates pollution on earth.


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In the Chesapeake Bay, there is an approximately 1 cubic mile section that is considered a "dead zone." This is the result of excess nitrogen and phosphorus from human activities that cause huge algae blooms during warmer weather. This "dead zone" will result in massive fish kills and strain on commercial fisheries. That ~1 mile dead zone is equivalent to about 17 football fields that can't sustain aquatic life.

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You learn to accept many environmental issues. The color of metal chelates in stream from a storm water discharge has a certain charm, but it still doesn't look good. Similarly, a large level of human discharge in a storm sewer ( from overflow) just doesn't carry the same level of " je ne sais quoi" that fresh water does. Some of these have been corrected, but new ones will come up.

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Rosten Woo set up a sound installation (wind chimes) in partnership with the Oakland Museum, city of Oakland, Chabot Space and Science Center, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project that reacts to high concentrations of particulate matter. I'm not sure where this project is now however.

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