Meet The Bloggers: Combustion Shanghai

This week's Meet The Bloggers focus is on Combustion Shanghai - a blog that dares to update about the bad news of pollution and climate change!


Tell us a bit Tyson

The best piece of advice I have ever heard is, “If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.” Other than that I am a chemistry teacher from Colorado who enjoys a good adventure, a good book, and a good bottle of wine. My life goals are to travel more than I have and become a crazy cat lady. 


Tell us a bit about Combustion Shanghai and how it was born

I was doing some lectures on the chemistry of hydrocarbons and all the environmental and health effects that result from their combustion. Things like smog, acid rain, greenhouse gas effect and climate change, ocean acidification, asthma, increased risk of lung cancer and birth defects. And after amassing a lot of data, I thought that I should try to share this information with a wider audience. I felt it was especially important living in a city where pollution is a serious issue, but no one seems to know much about what is actually going on or how they can mitigate against it. And thus CombustionSH was born.


Blogging is fun! What’s the most fun part about blogging in Shanghai (Through your whole Shanghai Blogging ”career”)

Learning new things and challenging myself to present them in simple and interesting ways.


Blogging can be challenging! How do you keep yourself motivated to keep up the blogging?

Knowledge is power and information is the currency that buys it. They have the guns but we have VPNs and social media feeds.


If someone wants to start a new blog in Shanghai, what’s your suggestion for topic - What’s missing on Shanghai’s blogging scene?

Anything that brings passionate, talented, and like-minded people together.


What’s your best advice to someone who wants to start a blog in Shanghai?

Don’t listen to anyone else’s advice.


What’s the best ways to generally stay safe from pollution in Shanghai on a daily basis? 

Be aware. Monitor the pollution levels. Don’t do exercise outside on days where the AQI is above 150 and wear an N95 rated mask if you’re at street level (biking, walking, etc). Buy an air filter (bedroom is probably most important as we spend more time there than anywhere else). Open your windows and get some air circulating when the AQI is good. Keep your windows closed when the AQI is bad. Grow houseplants. And most importantly, pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Remember that effects of air pollution are cumulative, just like the effects of smoking. It won’t kill you overnight, but it will increase your risks of adverse health effects as your exposure increases.

Breathing in Shanghai
— Combustion Shanghai

What’s your favorite trip in China – a trip you’ve done or trips on your wish-list?

1. My advice for traveling in China is to avoid public holidays and stay off the beaten path. Unfortunately, most of the paths are pretty well beaten, and I can usually only travel during public holidays. That being said, my favourite trip so far has been to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Yunnan. Get there early to buy tickets. Don’t take the bus up to the base of the mountain, walk up though the forest. Hang around at the top of the mountain and wait for the clouds to pass, it’s worth it. Take the path from the base of the mountain to hike down the valley (and if the path is closed, wait for the BaoAn to look the other way and hop the fence, or do some serious bushwacking). Follow the river all the way to the Blue Moon Lake. Catch the shuttle bus back from there.


Can you give us a link to one of your recent favourite posts or most popular posts? Could also be a post that examples your favourite topic on the blog.

One of my favourite original posts is about the correlation between coal burning power plants, PM 2.5 concentration, and increased risk for lung cancer. Find the post here if you dare


Thank you to Tyson for his tips & tricks

Don't forget to check out his blog and updates - helps you with healthier breathing in Shanghai!