“Is this going to be a regular thing?” a woman asked me Sunday while I was taking photos of False Creek from the edge of the Cambie Street Bridge. She is originally from Manila and told me that the pollution was sometimes so bad in that city that they wouldn’t see the sun for weeks.
In Vancouver, we have been spoiled and have managed to fortunately avoid some of the worst ravages of climate change. We are learning (slowly and repeatedly) that human-caused environmental damage impacts all of us, irrespective of country of origin.
The brown shroud cloaking the city, like the invisible coronavirus also in some of our air, has forced us to rethink our day-to-day lives. Again, events are being cancelled and streets are eerily empty. Some people are wearing masks more for the smoke than COVID-19.
This morning when I was out taking photos, I realized that I needed more than a basic mask to defend against the smoke. After an hour or two, my eyes were burning and irritated, my throat was sore and raspy and I could taste the fire in my mouth.
It felt I had just smoked a pack of Camels — or what I imagine that feels like.