Part of my personal approach to good physical and mental health is to go for a brisk walk in the early morning before sitting down at my desk. This morning there was the first frost of the season and there were noticeably more leaves on the ground. Perhaps because of the particular atmospheric conditions of a cold still morning I was very aware of the air quality which felt good as I walked alongside a local sports field. However, as I walked on there was a pall of smoke from an enormous bonfire in someone’s garden and then traffic fumes from the long line of stationary cars in the city street I had to cross to get home. Having had occasional bouts of asthma in the past I was starting to feel uneasy and was relieved to get back indoors! What had started well ended up being rather disappointing.
This brings home to me how interconnected we all are. Whatever lifestyle choices I make for my own health and wellbeing my individual actions can only go so far when other people’s lifestyle’s impact on my own. Similarly, but less immediately visible I’m sure that the standard of living I have come to expect as an inhabitant of a relatively prosperous country has a significant impact on the populations of poorer countries who supply us with our material goods. So while health may seem to be an individual concern, my morning walk suggests to me that we should see it as a collective responsibility.