This page last updated on 2015-06-07
Coin Name : Air Quality
Edition Name: Environmentalist
Diameter: 1.75 inches
2012 – 50 coins
The following description of the air quality coins was written for the Deviant Art website. That is why there is a focus on art.
This coin, called “Air Quality” was presented to a team of engineers, scientists and professionals who work to improve air quality. The “Environmentalist” edition features copper on bronze and transparent green enamel. The message that I am trying to get across is that industry can be competitive and also exert a minimal impact on the environment. Reaching this balance is not always easy, but that is the mission of people in the field of Air Quality.
I have met people in industry who only want to make money and I have met environmentalists that would truly like to see all manufacturing closed, but that is not how most of them are. Most industrialists want to have clean air for themselves and their children and most environmentalists understand that in order to have all of our modern marvels, we need to have factories. Also, nearly everyone understands that work gives people dignity and a reason to get up in the morning and that healthy industry provides good jobs.
Just a few notes about some of the images: the central flame on the front of the coin represents combustion, which is probably the single largest potential source of air emissions. This, more than anything, is what engineers strive to keep clean. The two birds, the conifer trees, and the deciduous tree show that with good pollution control, plants and animals can be safe even in a region with heavy manufacturing. The gears represent mechanical processes, which have the potential to produce large quantities of dust. The drilling rig with the flame on top represents oil and gas drilling, which is a source of volatile organic compounds, petrochemicals, and fuel for combustion.
The benzene ring made of butterflies represents petrochemicals going through transformation. All of our fossil fuels and petrochemicals used to be living plants and animals that over time were buried and transformed into coal, oil, and gas. Humans then brought these materials back to the surface where there are burned or transformed into things like computers that people use to view art, inks and paints for making art, and speakers for listening to art. At the end of their useful lives, all of the things made from oil, gas, and coal through either combustion or natural weathering will again be transformed back into carbon dioxide and water, which is what they started out as. This carbon dioxide and water will be taken up by plants and animals to start the cycle all over again. The butterflies drive home the point of a never ending cycle of transformation from less desirable things to beautiful objects. Just as the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, petroleum becomes an inspiring painting or coal brings light to darkness. Later, these beautiful things decay and become carbon dioxide, but are then again transformed into living creatures.