In San Francisco, there’s a new normal—or rather, a new abnormal. California’s wildfire season is causing thick choking smoke to cover our city and turn our skies orange. Last year, fires sparked an air quality emergency and our air was rated the worst in the world. That a major American city suffered a 14-day air quality emergency, due to a wildfire that started almost 200 miles away, is hard for any city official to stomach. It’s even harder to accept that this is likely the Bay Area’s new normal as California wildfires burn hotter, spread faster, and occur with greater frequency—all because of climate change. This blanketing of smoke was previously unheard of in San Francisco. Now we must plan for it. And not only climate induced air quality emergencies but those due to rising seas and flooding as well. A recent U.S. Geological Survey study shows how vulnerable we are to our coastline disappearing under water. This is serious. As long as we allow the planet to get hotter and fail to cut carbon emissions, San Francisco residents will continue to suffer bad air, using air purifiers and masks to get by, while worrying about what rising waters […]

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