Re: “Wildfire smoke blows into Seattle area; fires burn east and west of mountains” [Sept. 8, Northwest]:
The wildfire-caused cloud of smoke and particulate matter that has once again settled over Puget Sound — it’s even worse east of the mountains than here in Seattle — should weigh heavily on our minds, just as it does on our lungs. It’s a visible, palpable, hard-to-ignore reminder of the intimate connection between the environment — and what we dump in to it — and our health.
While today’s sky may be hazy, the science about the links between burning fossil fuels and our changing climate and, in turn, between a changing climate and more fires, more smoke and more days breathing dirty air is as clear as can be.
As a physician, I know that this polluted air is unhealthy for all of us. For the most vulnerable among us, including the elderly, the very young and the chronically ill, as well as those like construction and farmworkers who have to work long days outside, the impacts are far worse.
This week, we again get a visible, inescapable reminder of the future we face if we fail to act urgently, justly and wisely. Tackling the climate crisis is about protecting our health.
Kenneth Lans, M.D., MBA, Seattle