28 January 2009

a breath of stale air

Ah, the fresh crisp air of winter...right?

I sit inside at a computer all day, save for my breaks, which are always spent walking outside, gulping in lungfuls of winter air. After work yesterday, I walked triumphantly outside, treating myself to deep breaths after a day's work. It's refreshing and rejuvenating and it just feels healthy. I thought to myself yesterday that winter air has got to be the best air ever.

And then I found that yesterday Montreal beat its all-time record for winter pollution. Yesterday was actually the smoggiest day in Montreal's history.

The suspected culprit? Woodstoves.

Many people in the surrounding area of Montreal light fires on the coldest of cold winter nights to cut the chill in their homes. Even bars here warm patrons with cozy fireplaces. In addition to being cozy and comforting, wood fireplaces are what helped a lot of native montrealers (including several of my friends' families) warm during the catastrophic ice storm of '98.

It's unfortunate that something so basic and comforting is so detrimental to air quality. To me, this is yet another example of how the most charming throwback features of Montreal are, like the highways and much of the infrastructure, hazardously outdated. I'm not hating on woodstoves. I huddle next to the one at my cottage like it the source of warmth in all the universe.

But, as we continue to realize how some of our best-loved things are bad for our world, those for whom it is financially possible should push themselves (however begrudgingly) to update and upgrade to cleaner alternatives.


Eric said...

was this shot taken on the jeanne-mance parc rink?

Dallas said...

Nope. I haven't been there yet. This is on the Rideau canal in Ottawa. I finally got to skate on it 2 weeks ago, which is something I've always wanted to do.