THE BLOG

Why the Murderer of Millions Still Roams Free

04/02/2014 12:43 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2014

With no fear of the law, the killer of 7 million stalks new targets

The evening winds roughed up the trees surrounding her log cabin, which overlooked a lake that resembled the moon. She sat alone by the fireplace reading her favorite novel, waiting for the tea kettle to whistle like the outside so that the seven wafers nestled in the middle of the ottoman will have company as they listen to the symphony of crackling fire.

This was her routine for Saturday evenings, and it had been for the 35 years she resided recursively atop a hill. Tea by the fireplace ignited nostalgia for the days of old, particularly when she bore pigtails and vintage barrettes. With seemingly no care in the world, she hums the tunes her music box plays when it opens -- her killer, all the while, staring at her unnoticed.

What she didn't know -- no one did actually -- was that the killer silently rented a room from her -- and the family before that -- who, as rumor has it, all died unexpectedly on the same night. She picked up a wafer and took a bite, she had no idea she would never clear the plate. Just as the crumbs hit her lap like flurries of snow, the tea kettle hummed a melody of its own. With glee, she walked to the kitchen, her fuzzy slippers tickling the hardwood floors. A large red cup with four black squares stood with its arms ready; holding a tea bag, a spoon, and a dusting of sugar -- anticipating the fellowship of Earl Grey.

She pours the hot water into the cup, the steam feels good on her face; she takes a deep breath and appreciates the scent that visited her nostril. After seconds of indulgence, she carries the steamy cup, which sits on a small plate, over to the ottoman and places it next to the 6 1/2 wafers. She celebrates her quest by finishing the half eaten wafer -- she sinks into her chair as she chews.

Taking a gulp, she slowly sits forward and reaches for her tea. It's not nearly cool enough to drink but her patience has run thin and her other senses desire to engage the aroma. As the cup moves towards her lips the killer strikes! The tea spills on her lap, burning her skin -- she screams, her words unheard, but if audible, they'd be misunderstood. The cup crashes to the floor and shatters on impact. Immediately unable to see, she swings to try and fight off the attacker. After more than two hours of struggle, she sinks back into her chair and admits defeat; her killer, already responsible for 7 million deaths, roams for its next prey, with no fear of the law.

Why is the killer so bold and fearless? Well, because the killer is a stroke caused by indoor and outdoor air pollution -- particularly using fire as the principle method of cooking and heating. In addition to killing an estimated 7 million people worldwide, pollution -- which was also been linked to heart disease, pulmonary disease and lung cancer -- was the cause of one in every eight deaths in 2012 and is now considered the "biggest environmental health problem" by Maria Neira, the World Health Organisation's public and environmental health chief.

As quoted in The Telegraph, Neira said: "Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution. The evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe."

Here's the moral of the story: if you're not paying attention, environmental problems can kill you. And if you're not engaged in solutions, you help enable environmental problems to kill others.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I'm Flood the Drummer & I'm Drumming for JUSTICE!