A future beneath the yellow sky

Why am I linking this story in the NY Times about the extreme levels of pollution in Beijing? (“Pollution Is Radically Changing Childhood in Chinas Cities”)

Levels of deadly pollutants up to 40 times the recommended exposure limit in Beijing and other cities have struck fear into parents and led them to take steps that are radically altering the nature of urban life for their children.
Parents are confining sons and daughters to their homes, even if it means keeping them away from friends. Schools are canceling outdoor activities and field trips. Parents with means are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems, and some international schools have built gigantic, futuristic-looking domes over sports fields to ensure healthy breathing.

…because indoor pollution (from cooking fires) has already been a selection pressure on many human populations, including some high-altitude populations where hypoxia combines with carbon monoxide. It is one thing to think about the future of human adaptation to extremes in space, or extreme lifespan, or genetic engineering. It is another thing entirely to see the future of some parts of the world as an exaggerated version of the Industrial Revolution, childhoods of deepening smog.