Wildfire Smoke No Longer a West Coast Phenomenon

4 min readJun 11, 2023

New York Skies Darken as Canadian Wildfire Smoke Blocks Sunlight.

Massive plumes of wildfire smoke turned the NYC skyline dark orange within hours Tuesday © ABC7 New York

For the first time in history wildfire smoke choked the skies of the Big Apple on Tuesday. And it’s just the beginning of wildfire season.

AQI readings were off the charts as people came into work with overcast skies and left to an eerie Blade Runner style orange hue. And New York wasn’t the only place seeing and smelling smoke. Cities from Baltimore to Philadelphia had unhealthy readings well over 350 to 400. Millions of residents were encouraged to stay indoors, and use box fans fitted with air filters. Several days later wildfire smoke is sticking around the mid-Atlantic region.

According to Reuters as of June 8th 10.6 million acres are on fire in Canada and it shows no sign of slowing down. About the size of the state of Maryland is burning and all that smoke is drifting as far south as Jacksonville, Florida. My girlfriend down in Savannah reported that the moon was orange in the middle of the night from the fires nearly 3,000 miles away.

This is What Climate Change Feels Like

What was once a West Coast phenomenon is now being felt in places that have never experienced wildfire smoke from millions of acres on fire.

This is what the consequences of climate change looks like in real time.

We need to have an honest conversation and ask ourselves one question.

Is this the future we want to leave our children and grandchildren behind?

A future where the skies resemble the orange and red hue of Gotham from Batman the animated series. Higher rates of asthma and other respiratory issues for our kids and parents? A future where it becomes more difficult for them to breathe? A future where we race them to hospital for fear of losing them?

Should we really be continuing to burn more and more fossil fuels and enrich Exxon Mobil? A Company that knew global warming was happen as early as the late 1970’s and did everything it could to block and derail action towards a cleaner future. Should we not look more towards a cleaner planet so our kids, grandkids, and parents can enjoy the scenery and beauty that this planet has to offer?

Collective Action

The Climate Crisis is real, and one person cannot solve or reduce the impacts of it alone. But collectively as a large group of people we can take smalls steps to help out.

Thinking of going grocery shopping? Use what you have left in the fridge and make a creative dish. The average person throws away 25% of the food they buy which breaks down into methane at a landfill. This gas contributes to most to climate change as Last Week Tonight points out in this hilarious advertisement. You can see the whole episode here.

Thinking of buying a car? Go for a hybrid or an electric vehicle. Although industries account for a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions, combustion engines from cars and trucks contribute the most to it. So if you are thinking of trading in or getting a new car or truck at least get a hybrid model. It’ll actually save you money.

Thinking of getting an AC unit? Try a box fan instead with a bowl of ice. Surprisingly air conditioners contribute 4% to climate change because the unit uses a lot of electricity which runs on gas and coal fired electricity. As long as you have a refrigerator with ice put it to use to create an evaporative cooling effect.

Need more food and have space? Try planting and growing a small or medium sized crop. During World War II individual homes grew “victory gardens” plots of land to plant and grow their own fruits and vegetables. Why not use some of that water that would otherwise go to waste on lawns to grow some delicious fruits and veggies? We have five blueberry bushes and two apple trees which produce a fuck ton of fruit each year. Most of which I give away to my friends and coworkers.

Thinking of getting a new product? Don’t buy one unless it’s absolutely necessary. For instance, I previously had a Samsung and kept it for at least three years. The only reason I upgraded to a newer phone was because the screen was cracked so badly that parts of it fell off on the edge and you could see the computer chip for the phone. Any water near it would have short circuited the phone. I’m not saying to actively avoid getting new stuff, all I’m saying is to be smart about it. Do you really need a new iphone when your current one is working just fine? Or a new car when your current one has had no problems over the past five years?

And these are just a few examples I listed to help reduce climate change. There’s a full list here if you are interested in reading more.

Alone we can’t lessen the impacts of climate change, but as a large group or series of people we can hopefully work together to ensure that we have a cleaner future for our loved ones.




A person that really enjoys writing about food, culture, politics, justice, climate change, relationships, and other interesting topics.