If you’re in the midwest or the mid-Atlantic, chances are you’ve been affected by dangerous air quality this summer. Here in northern Michigan, the Air Quality Index (AQI) soared above 200 in late June, as smoke clogged the atmosphere. Our most basic, life-sustaining element was rated “Very Unhealthy” to breathe.
This unthinkable situation stems from over 500 wildfires burning across Canada, consuming a record 23,491,740 acres as of July 11, 2023. A dangerous cocktail of unrelenting heat, parched ground, and lightning strikes thousands of miles away has brought climate change to our doorstep and into our lungs.
In the fight to stabilize the climate and heal the Great Lakes, everything is truly connected, and everyone has a role. Here are a few resources that can help us better understand the situation:
Record-breaking global temperatures, raging wildfires highlight effects of climate change
PBS News Hour, July 6 2023
A Climate Laggard in America’s Industrial Heartland Has a Plan to Change, Fast
Coral Davenport, The New York Times
Lawmakers in Michigan have long fought tough pollution controls. But the toll of flooding, lost crops and damage to the Great Lakes appears to be changing minds.
How wildfires are changing in Canada
Benjamin Shingler and Graeme Bruce, CBC News, June 7 2023
Canada Faces ‘long, tough summer’ of with even hotter temperatures
The Guardian, July 7 2023
Why Canada’s wildfires will affect air quality for weeks to come
Li Zhou, Vox.com, June 23 2023
Wildfires & Pollution: What Comes Next (recorded webinar)
A Michigan Environmental Council conversation with Nick Leonard, executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Center, and Melody Reis, senior legislative and regulatory policy manager of Moms Clean Air Force.
AirNow Real-Time Interactive Air Quality Map
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Satellite animations of wildfire smoke movement in late June
RAMMB-CIRA, Colorado State University