Opinion | Eerie Days: Smoke and Haze, All Around

More from our inbox:

To the Editor:

Re “Northern Fires Spread Smoke and Anxiety” (front page, June 8):

The hazy skies and air quality alerts afflicting large parts of the United States because of wildfires in Canada are a reminder of how fragile and interconnected our world is.

In California, we understand this all too well. Wildfire season is an annual event, complete with Spare the Air alerts, rolling power outages and stunning but ominous scarlet red sunrises and sunsets.

On Sept. 9, 2020, the San Francisco Bay Area awoke to what seemed like a postapocalyptic world, veiled in a smothering sky that glowed orange because of smoke and ash from a massive complex fire 150 miles away.

This is a reminder that no part of the world is insulated from the environmental effects of global warming, and that we must be better stewards of our precious planet Earth — the only home we have.

Stephen A. Silver
San Francisco

To the Editor:

The smoke that is making the air so hazardous originated from wildfires exacerbated by climate change. A little less than a year ago, in June 2022, the Roberts Supreme Court gutted the Clean Air Act.

Think about that decision as we are told to wear high-quality masks outside and not to exercise too strenuously, and see our familiar landscapes enshrouded in a thick yellow haze.

Meredith G. Cochran
Williamstown, Mass.

To the Editor:

“What the hell is this?” Mayor Eric Adams of New York asked on Wednesday. It’s called climate change, and those of us in the West have been suffering variants of this smoky, drought-induced nightmare for many years.

Perhaps this air quality crisis will convince a few political holdouts of the necessity for urgent climate action, but unlike the current residents of New York, I won’t hold my breath.

As I write, the construction of a reservoir near Denver will divert more water from the Colorado River, as if there are no downstream consequences for other states. Hah!

I bid New York a friendly “air quality welcome” to some of climate change’s all too predictable downstream effects and, as a climate scientist, suggest that you vote out the bums who perpetuate this apocalyptic mess.

David Bahr
Nederland, Colo.
The writer is a glaciologist and climate scientist at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado.

To the Editor:

For those who have not experienced living with wildfire smoke, get yourself a small air filter to put next to your bed while you sleep. You will be glad when you don’t awake coughing up phlegm and feeling generally lousy in the morning. We have three — one for each bedroom.

It’s the best thing you can do, even if you use it only a couple of days a year.

Eric Phillips
Spokane, Wash.

Sexism and Xenophobia in Hollywood

To the Editor:

Re “Onscreen Sexism Hasn’t Gone Away. She Has the Data” (Business, May 30):

We were happy to see our friends at the Geena Davis Institute highlighted for their work on gender representation in Hollywood. Through the institute’s data and efforts, real progress is being made on how women and gender are portrayed in film and on TV. In turn, those stories are shaping our culture and perceptions.

As we look to a potentially contentious year ahead and anticipate the demonization of immigrants in political discourse, we can use a similar approach to the institute’s in examining how Hollywood portrays immigrants.

The latest original research released by our organization, Define American, in partnership with the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center, shows that 40 percent of immigrant characters on TV in 2022 were associated with criminal activity, compared with 22 percent in 2020.

These narratives have no basis in data and add powerful fuel to anti-immigrant sentiment that normalizes xenophobia.

Hollywood has a critical responsibility to redress this issue since its narratives have real-life consequences. We are working every day with writers, producers and digital media creators to humanize immigrant narratives. The issue could not be more urgent.

As Geena Davis shows us, change is possible if there is the will.

Sarah E. Lowe
Charlene Joy Jimenez
Los Angeles
Ms. Lowe is the director of research and evaluation, and Ms. Jimenez is the director of entertainment partnerships and advocacy, at Define American.

Dear Target: Don’t Hide the L.G.B.T.Q. Merchandise

To the Editor:

Re “Pride Month Presents Risk for Brands” (Business, May 26), about companies facing a backlash for L.G.B.T.Q. marketing efforts:

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Target said the company remained committed to standing with the L.G.B.T.Q. community in celebration of Pride Month and throughout the year. In light of that statement, I’d encourage Target to reconsider its decision to scale back its Pride inventory.

It would do well to take a page from the L.A. Dodgers, who disinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, composed of queer and trans nuns, from their annual Pride Night, but issued an apology and, after much feedback and deliberation, asked the nonprofit organization to take its place on the field at the event.

You can’t stand with people when you’re pushing them away, and product placement is a clear indicator of commitment. Removing Pride items or putting them in the back of stores reinforces an insidious message to L.G.B.T.Q. people to live in the shadows.

With this move, Target is doing the exact opposite of celebrating the spirit of Pride and the mission behind the collection: It’s closeting L.G.B.T.Q. people.

Aimée La Fountain
Nutley, N.J.

‘The View’ vs. the G.O.P.

To the Editor:

Re “The Views on ‘The View’ Have Grown Narrower,” by Megan K. Stack (Opinion guest essay, June 4):

Ms. Stack asserts that “The View” has lost its variety of viewpoints and lines up uniformly against Donald Trump and Republicans generally. The G.O.P. seems to be genuinely behind a man who threatens democracy itself. How can anyone of sound mind represent that view?

John Canuteson
Liberty, Mo.

Crisis and Opportunity at the Southern Border

To the Editor:

The crisis at our southern border offers a tremendous opportunity for our nation. Employers across the country decry the ever diminishing availability of workers to fill vacant positions in industry, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, health care, hospitality, technology and the service sector. With infrastructure enhancement underway, the need for skilled and semiskilled workers will further escalate.

Instead of building a wall at our southern border, we should create an employment/recruitment center. Employers across the country can contribute to staffing the center with the goal of identifying workers possessing needed skills and those with the potential to be trained. Once identified by interested employers, applicants can be provided with a pathway to legal status.

We have a large pool of people who are eager to find a livelihood for themselves and their families, and who will be able to contribute to the tax base and raise the G.D.P., adding to our prosperity. Win-win.

Our country was built in large part by immigrants — people seeking a better life who wanted to participate in building a new republic. We need to revisit this dynamic.

Aaron Nelson
Newton, Mass.

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