Sunday sketches #3: Air apparent
Haze for days, jokes for blokes, thoughts for tots
In the early aughts there were about four of us bloggers in Toronto (seriously!). My friend Travis had a blog called 1051 AM (don’t ask me why), where he catalogued the smog days in our city. It was a useful service, because none of our legacy media had anything resembling an internet game. But then an amazing thing happened. Our provincial government retired all the coal plants and our skies turned beautiful, pretty much overnight. No need for Travis’ serviceable smoggery. And the best reason to be put out of a blog.
It’s a luxury to not fret about your air. A luxury I enjoyed til just about two weeks ago, when, like much of the northeast, Toronto was blanketed in a terrible haze of climate-induced campfire smoke. It’s also a reminder that the idea of a most climate resilient city is moot when you cannot breathe. We’re all in this together. Except low-income communities suffer through asthma-inducing heat with no air-conditioned respite, so they’re in this together with much more pain.
The air is bad again here today. It feels fuzzy. We spent the weekend with seven adorable girls, and one cute little guy (my son, a good sport!), and my thoughts, between laughter and a lot of delicious cheese, kept circling around these incredible, creative little people, and their dreamful futures. And this air that compromises everything. It’s not fair. Not that many things are.
How do you imbue the days with mirth, even as you wrestle with this newly unsettled air? It takes balance. And air filters. And Jury Duty, which we thought was appropriate for ten year-olds but is…not! I think you just keep doing, keep breathing, and keep being. And work to fight the climate crisis in every way you can, even just talk talk talking away the spiral of silence, and letting people know that this haze very much is climate change.
Wherever you are, I hope your air is clear. And thank you for all your lovely notes (Hi Una in San Diego, I appreciate you!). We are fine, and lucky to have air conditioning (a heat pump!) and air filters aplenty.
Ben’s brilliant treatise on the dad joke in today’s Globe and Mail.
“This is totally bonkers” says one hurricane expert at the University of Miami. Chris Hatch on the bonkers current climate anomalies that no one is covering (see anniversary art above!). I’ll just keep writing bonkers. Bonkers bonkers bonkers.
I wrote a substack note about Ontario Place. It IS dispiriting, but wonderful Ausma is right: THERE IS OPTIMISM.
My baby sister-in-law and her steel drum band. So fun.
Hope you’re happy, healthy, and full of fresh air,