Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Climate Crisis and the Canadian Wildfires

 Political figures such as AOC and Bernie Sanders, along with leaders from the entertainment and activism spheres, issued a stark warning on Wednesday about the dire implications of the wildfire smoke engulfing the East Coast. They emphasized that this smoke is a clear indication of the ongoing climate crisis.

Drawing attention to the smoke and the recent extreme temperatures in Puerto Rico, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter, emphasizing our lack of preparedness for the climate crisis. She called for immediate action to adapt our food systems, energy grids, infrastructure, and healthcare to effectively respond to and mitigate the forthcoming challenges.

Echoing similar concerns, progressive advocate Bernie Sanders expressed on Twitter that approximately 98 million people on the East Coast are currently under air quality alerts due to the Canadian fires, and highlighted that New York City recently experienced the world's worst air quality. He stressed the connection between climate change and the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires, urging urgent action to avoid this becoming our new reality.

The impact of the smoke was not limited to the halls of Congress, as prominent celebrities also shared their thoughts. Bravo TV host Andy Cohen posted on Instagram, remarking on the apocalyptic atmosphere caused by the pervasive smoke in New York City.

Scientists concurred that the wildfire incidents were unmistakable signs of the existing climate crisis and served as a glimpse into the future if necessary changes are not implemented. In a statement, the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy organization, highlighted that the record-breaking Air Quality Index (AQI) levels in New York City due to Canadian wildfire smoke were indicative of the climate crisis. The statement also pointed out that similar crises are already prevalent in other parts of the world.

Supporting these observations, Dr. Lucky Tran from Columbia University shared a video on Twitter, showcasing an unusually hazy sunrise over New York City caused by the wildfire smoke. Dr. Tran emphasized that air quality levels were significantly unhealthy, surpassing the guidelines recommended by the WHO, thus underscoring the reality of living through the climate crisis.

The entire northeastern region of the United States is currently grappling with smoke drifting south from over 400 wildfires raging in Canada. These fires have prompted mass evacuations in Quebec and Canadian officials are concerned that this could become the country's most severe wildfire season on record, with more than 6.7 million acres already destroyed.

Here are a few resources to review Air Quality Alerts for your area:  

In English:

In Spanish (En Español:

References; and Yahoo News