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Forest Fires and Climate Change

Darkness has descended upon New York City, and not metaphorically, but quite literally. A massive cloud has engulfed the entire city, casting an eerie shadow over the entire area. This phenomenon can be attributed to the forest fires currently raging in Canada. 


The orange fog permeated the city, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a dystopian movie. The situation is comparable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the use of N-95 masks feels familiar, evoking morbid flashbacks to 2019 when civilians were confined indoors due to the fear of contaminated air.


WIldfires effects flowing hundreds of miles away 


New York City is currently grappling with an unprecedented decline in air quality, attributed to the Canadian wildfires. The smoke generated by these fires is being carried southward, affecting the tri-state area of the United States. The situation has become so severe that air traffic at local airports has been halted, as the air has become too murky. 


Meanwhile, Canada is facing one of its most severe wildfire seasons in history, with nearly 300 wildfires still raging out of control. The uncertainty surrounding the duration of this crisis leaves New York City in a state of confusion. 


Climate change’s effect


When typing a query into your Google search bar today, the search engine generates various suggestions, such as, "What is this haze around my home?" or "What is causing the fog?" proving the panic is rippling throughout eastern United States. 


Unfortunately, climate change is rarely mentioned among these suggestions, despite it being closely linked to the events occurring. The pollution problem in New York City exacerbates the smoke situation and intensifies the fear among its residents. New Yorkers find themselves trapped within a cloud of contaminated air. 


While forest fires have occurred naturally throughout history, their current magnitude is attributed to human interference and climate change. Climate change contributes to the intensity of these forest fires by creating hotter and drier conditions to fuel the flames. Similarly, pollution and greenhouse gasses trap the smoke, causing it to linger in the atmosphere.


Unfortunately, despite the alarming signs that make the atmosphere feel like a horror movie and the warning signs from the western coast, many people still fail to admit the true cause behind these issues: climate change. The hazy conditions in New York City are worse than a faint burning scent in the air or a hindered view of the Hudson River. The situation is far more serious. 


One shocking statistic circulating on the internet states that, “It would be healthier to smoke ½ a pack of cigarettes today (June 7th, 2023) than simply breathe outside all day.” This distressing fact highlights the magnitude of internal damage that most individuals would never willingly subject themselves to in their lifetime.


Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, Americans had developed a fear of breathing freely outside, and we must prevent climate change from resurfacing this state of anxiety once again. Breathing is one of the most natural and instinctive processes in human life, yet it seems as if it has been stripped away from us in recent years. Do we truly desire a future where our history textbooks are filled with images of masks?

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