Is the world burning around us? Has climate change sparked raging abnormal fires and kept us locked inside our homes out of fear for our health? Are we at the point of no return as New York City, which rarely faces poor air quality, is colored bright orange and red? As over 400 wildfires burn out of control in Canada and smoke covers much of Canada and the eastern United States, these are important questions to ask.
Though many Americans, when they hear the words 'forest fire,' think of places like California, it's not the only place impacted by them. Canada often faces wildfires, which this year are posing unprecedented levels of danger. For one, the fires have destroyed more acres of land than usual. They are also more powerful than they typically are, increasing the threat they pose to the lands they burn through and the people and animals that reside there. In addition, and most importantly for the US, these fires have created large amounts of smoke filled with toxic particles, which have spread over large swaths of Canada and the northeast.
Like many natural disasters over the past couple of decades, these fires are proving to be a more destructive force with greater consequences for the world at large. Of course, this change is almost certainly due to climate change. Climate change has meant higher temperatures, heat domes, and droughts, all of which can contribute to the creation and maintenance of large and destructive fires. These conditions, and the disasters that arise from them, are not going anywhere anytime soon. Have we finally gotten to a point where corporations grapple with their impact on the planet, or will profits continue to trump human lives?