What it’s like to live in The Wastelands

We don’t need to use our imagination

The orangey-pink smoke from the forest fires in British Columbia (Alberta’s neighbouring province) blankets Calgary.

It looks like a scene from The Wastelands, the world as depicted in sci fi books and films. A typical day for Mad Max.

The weather calls for more “smoke and haze" with a high of 29°C.

What is a day like this like?

When you wake up, your eyes are red and irritated. It’s painful to blink. I spend a few minutes at the sink trying to flush out foreign white soot from my eyes with water.

My throat is raw and the phlegm sits at the back of my throat all day. I can’t get rid of it.

Breathing is short and strained. I try to breathe as little as possible. The air is disgusting! It’s another 10+ rated day for air quality. The scale only goes to 10, which means it wasn’t designed to rate days like this. At this rate, we’ll need a new scale, or an honest number.

Today’s air is rated a whopping 38 on a scale of 10. On a related note, oxygen masks are on sale at Canadian Tire.

We close our windows tight and set up a fan system to at least keep the recycled air circulating. A mirage to try and get us through the hot muggy days and nights.

A couple nights ago around 4 am, I remembered I had a small air filter/purifier stored away and I tore apart the cupboards and closets looking for it. It managed to make the air in our bedroom slightly cleaner to get me through until morning. How is my baby sleeping through this?

Last summer was just as bad. 2017 used to hold the record for most smoky days in Calgary at 315. On August 21, 2018 broke the record at 322 and counting. I remember August 2017 well as I was due to give birth to my son and I just wanted to get outside for some walks, but the air quality was horrendous. Not good for mama or baby in utero.

We don’t need to imagine what the world is like without clean air. It’s here.

And for a comparison, here’s a photo of what Calgary looks like on a clear day.

Calgary mompreneur | figuring it out, making it work.

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