We Americans like to beat up on other countries when it comes to quality of life. There are no dentists in England; Russia is nothing but vodka swilling social media hackers; Venezuela hyperinflation strips stores of everything but toothpicks; and the air quality index in Beijing is so bad that coughing is the new talking.
But this week Americans have had to eat crow when it comes to air quality, with places like Seattle registering 5 times as worse as Beijing due to surrounding wildfires and forest fires. The smoke and ash that are blanketing Seattle make breathing as unhealthy as inhaling carpet tacks.
And while Beijing is aggressively reigning in major polluters like factories and coal-fired power plants, here in the good old US of A there’s not much that can be done about the increasing amount and intensity of Western fires in the wild. Global warming has left much of our uninhabited landscape as dry and inflammable as a box of tinder, ready to go up in an explosive blaze at the drop of a match. Smokey the Bear is definitely being outclassed and outgunned by a moistureless and incendiary Mother Nature.
So on your next visit Seattle you not only should bring your camera and your swim suit, but also an oxygen mask. Have a cheery choke!