VICE Explores Worsening California Air Quality

Image: people outside wear face masks and wave an American flag.
A family wearing air masks watch President Donald J. Trump's motorcade arrive to view damage from wildfires in Paradise, California, on Saturday. Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

Anthony Wexler explores what is causing such poor levels of air quality, why short-term solutions aren’t working, and what we can do to mitigate these scenarios.

With the increasing poor air quality in California, it is becoming more and more common to see people walking around in air masks in efforts to reduce inhaling the harmful air. Others have taken to staying indoors and using air purifiers. “I don’t like those solutions,” said Anthony Wexler, AQRC director, “because there are people who can’t afford (masks) or people who went to the hardware store too late, and why should they be suffering? We need to deal with the source.”

In Vice’s article, California's Air Is as Bad as Beijing's and It Will Only Get Worse from Here, Wexler shares how climate change has the effect of increased forest fires and suggests a creative solution to mitigate the harm from these problems. There are ways to both decrease the occurrences of forest fires and decrease climate change caused by the creation of unsustainable energy. “We can harvest all that woody material that’s accumulated in our forests and use it to make electricity,” suggested Wexler. The benefits would be two-fold, he said—thinning the forests, and creating renewable energy. “People have talked about doing this for decades and we don’t do it.”

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