Dear Editor,

How are you doing neighbors? The air is hazy and smoky again. Sensitive folks are suggested to stay inside on a lovely summer day with the windows closed. The Canadian wild fire smoke is visiting again today. The boreal forests which are a band around the northern part of the continent, (actually the world), tempering the weather, providing oxygen to us, sucking up and holding onto carbon, continues to burn. My friend looked it up and the amount that has burned in Canada this year is twice the size of Illinois, which I think gives a better picture than to say it is 25 million acres, or 29,000 square miles. Yet we carry on with our usual practices as if we had no other choices. I can definitely understand feeling like my actions make little difference in the broad scheme of things. And some of the things we are encouraged to do seem like exercises to mainly make us feel better, rather than having a real impact on improving the state of the environment. For example I’m starting to see plastics recycling as an excuse by the plastics/oil industry to continue producing single use plastics rather than a real solution to the problem of what happens to it and where it goes after you toss it.

Locally, I’m confident Deerfield Recycling actually recycles the materials they collect because they are very strict and limited in what they will accept.

We are at the beginning of experiencing the effects of climate change, which has long been known about and predicted as to what is and will continue happening: increase in the strength of storms, length and intensity of heat and droughts, longer, stronger wild fire seasons, sea level rise impacting coastal cities worldwide, causing the dislocation of millions of people, for example. But since money takes precedence over all other considerations in our present society, those who have profited most have had and continue to have the most influence on what happens or doesn’t happen. These thoughts are challenging to face, since feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are inevitable with these grim apocalyptic musings. But like other addictive behaviors, the first step is admitting the reality of your situation. The idea of neatness could extend to the air we share where the accepted practice of burning brush and piles of leaves could be replaced with chipping and composting. I know choices I make at the grocery store are often based on how something is packaged, although plastic is basically unavoidable and needs to be dealt with at the source rather than consumer level. The divisiveness of our culture is benefiting someone, and is maintaining the stalled inaction on protecting the wonderful, amazing, bountiful, beautiful, natural world, the layer of breathable air, on which our very existence depends. Do what you can, people, and insist on choices that are real choices, not sideways shuffles to avoid the transformation that is called for in a crisis.

— Miriam Marcus