It is easy to take for granted some of the most precious aspects of life. We would only survive three minutes without air, three days without water and thirty days without food. More or less. Even if these commodities are available, we have come to expect a certain quality. The air should be fresh and unpolluted, the water potable and cold. As far as food is concerned we expect the government to monitor the safety of anything that is allowed to enter our borders or served to us in restaurants. We are responsible for our own cooking skills when we eat at home. To paraphrase Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes, taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. He probably inferred that this society would include the basics listed above.
British Columbia has had a surfeit of forest fires this summer, something that is becoming alarmingly regular. The seriously reduced air quality, even in areas far removed from the fires, is a reminder of the winds that swirl around our planet on a regular basis. Some people have difficulty breathing, others find the air stale and smelly, views are substantially diminished and tourists are disappointed. But nothing can be done. We are not as omnipotent as we like to think. Advice is given to stay indoors and avoid exertion.
A hazy skyline is not a natural disaster, but it serves as a reminder to be patient, to be prepared, and to be appreciative when eventually normality returns. We can spare a thought for those evacuated or made homeless and bear our lesser complaints with good grace. It wouldn't hurt to treat the planet better then has been our wont in the past hundred years or so. Gaia may be getting annoyed.