Ikea’s new curtains purify the air inside your house – Fast Company, 20 Feb 2019, Jesus Diaz
The World Health Organization says that air pollution is the biggest environmental health risk on the planet. It causes heart and respiratory disease, cancer, and stroke. Scientists attribute 1 of every 8 deaths caused by those diseases to pollution. And if you think you’re safe at home, you’re wrong: Indoor pollution can be five times worse in some parts of the world. WHO says that while outdoor pollution kills an estimated 3 million people per year, indoor pollution kills 4.3 million.
In other words, we need all the help we can get – both indoors and outside. That’s the idea behind Gunrid, a new product from Ikea.
Through the WI lens
Consciousness about poor air quality has been rising, and largely focuses on pollution from factories and particulates – the tiny toxic particles contained in emissions from diesel engines. Yet air pollution within the home is also a serious threat, arising from a range of sources, such as the chemically based fire retardants with which much modern furniture is treated. According to Fast Company’s article, “the World Health Organisation says that while outdoor pollution kills an estimated 3 million people per year, indoor pollution kills 4.3 million”. There are existing technologies around to tackle this issue, primarily involving complex filters and electronic processes. What’s remarkable about Gunrid is that it uses neither and instead simulates natural processes such as photosynthesis, by deploying a light-sensitive catalyst which breaks down dangerous chemicals. Simple and natural trumps complex and high tech when it comes to wellness solutions, not least because anything that depends upon electronic engineering tends to create new problems in solving existing ones. Even better, this is a solution that seemingly has immense potential to be incorporated into every piece of domestic upholstery – as well as in hotels, airports and other public places. Roll on 2020 when it hits an Ikea store near you!
What this article goes on to explain is how positive thinking – described here as ‘thriving’ – can counter the effects that come from the negativity outlined above, from reduced memory to diminished performance. Based on studying people in a series of organisations in different industries, one of the authors has found that people who attain this state are more resilient, experience less burnout, and are more confident in their ability to take control of a situation
“Behind the jargon what this is really about is how we address the challenge of biodiversity under threat, move away from fossil materials like plastic and concrete, and use nature in a sustainable way, all of which could be summed up by “living in harmony with nature”.”
“In the new ‘consensual contract’ between employer and worker, what’s required is a commitment from the employer to safeguard the wellbeing of their people, and a commitment in return from employees to take personal responsibility for their performance of their job.”
“Could loneliness not only be damaging our mental and physical health but also be making the world a more aggressive, angry place? And if so, what are the implications for a cohesive society and democracy?”
“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”
“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”
“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”
“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”
“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”
“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”