Poetry often describes the qualities of air, but a new poem improves air quality.
At the University of Sheffield, the humanities and the sciences combined forces to both say and do something about air pollution. One of the buildings on campus has a wall covered by a banner displaying In Praise of Air, a poem by Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage.
While the poem communicates the importance of air, it does something no other poem about this subject has done: It actually cleans the air. The banner the university printed the poem on has a special coating that removes nitrogen oxide from the air, reducing smog. To see the unfurling of the banner, watch the video below, and to learn more about the poem, click here:
In Praise of Air and its medium represent a great development in environmental messaging. As we attempt to address the challenging environmental issues facing us, we'll need to communicate and act at the same time. The work by the University of Sheffield provides an example for such multitasking.
Good poetry moves us; the best poetry moves us to act.