By Kamakshi Dadhwal
Two entrepreneurs from Alberta, Canada have created a startup company, Vitality Air, which sells fresh compressed air from the Canadian Rocky Mountains in a can. It sounds like a joke at first, however, a Google search is enough to point out just how real Vitality Air is. Not only does it boast of providing “premium oxygen…(for) peak performance,” but it also provides it in various can sizes and is, according to its creators, the “next bottled water,” as per their official website vitalityair.com. As much as having to pay for water- a bare necessity- is itself disappointing, it is understandable because fresh water is a limited resource. But paying for air? That seems rather ridiculous, considering we have an ecosystem with enough natural creators of oxygen. Trying to create another industry out of selling air makes it seem like capitalism has gotten the best of people, but the story does not end here.
Vitality Air’s sales have already skyrocketed to the point of being sold out, major credits to a single buyer: China. With its separate category on the World Air Quality Index, besides India, China is one of the most pollution-emitting countries on the planet. On one hand, China is the most rapidly growing country on the planet, GDP wise, making its citizens pay a heavy price with the air they breathe– besides being severely underpaid. On the other hand, air quality in Canada is ranked the second best in the world, after Iceland, according to the World Health Organization. It is obvious why Chinese citizens are paying the Canadian company for fresh Canadian air: they really need it.
The first step to environment protection is protecting oxygen, which all organisms inhale in some form or another. The fact that the world is reaching a point where its air quality isn’t even enough to sustain moderate human functioning in certain areas is extremely disturbing. It makes the purpose of all environment protection acts and organizations questionable at the most basic level. The founders of Vitality Air are not wrong in trying to make a profit out of doing something good for people in other parts of the world.
Although it may be easy to dismiss the founders of Vitality Air for selling air for an expensive price as conmen using the alias of “creative entrepreneurs,” the alarming reality is evident in the company’s sales to Beijing and other parts of China. The truth is, as much as paying for air seems pathetic, even laughable, to people living in countries with good air quality, countries like China have a real need for fresh air. If two men in a country have realized the problem and are willing to provide the people living in hazardous conditions with a boost of fresh air that is, in fact, vital for peak performance, then they really are creative entrepreneurs committed to making a positive difference in the way things are. Their efforts to send fresh Rocky Mountain air to the people in China and other places seem highly commendable in the wake of global climate change.