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A different kind of emission: the religious roots of ‘pollution’

The word may have initially been used to describe male wet dreams – but now there is no aspect of our environment that we are not intent on profaning

Air Pollution in big cities, we learned this week, causes large reductions in intelligence, which is perhaps one good reason for moving Parliament out of London. Toxic air is a scientific and health issue, but the way we speak of it has Religious Roots.

“Pollution” comes from the Latin for the desecration of a sacred space, spiritual or moral corruption, or general filth. In the middle ages it was adopted in French for nocturnal emissions of the kind that emanated from sleeping male sinners. Nowadays, of course, we happily chuck all kinds of stuff into rivers, seas and the air, including warming carbon dioxide and NOx, or nitrogen oxides. Add noise pollution and light pollution, and it seems there is no aspect of our environment we are not intent on profaning.

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This post first appeared on Eco Planet News, please read the originial post: here

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A different kind of emission: the religious roots of ‘pollution’

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