Opinion » Letters

Our area is trapped by the cult of smoke

San Simeon

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Looking back at the last 60 years from the first Earth Day in 1970, the Surgeon-General’s “second-hand smoke” report of 1984, the pivotal London Smoke event of 1952, San Francisco is somewhat slow to act, considering its recent Spare the Air Day. But at least action is being taken. San Luis Obispo, on the other hand, is doing nothing. We remain smack-dab in the dark ages.

San Simeon reflects unfavorably the entire county. We have a spoiled, unintelligent mentality, behaving in a manner that would be inconceivable to someone from those dark, bubonic days—when fire was a tool for survival, not a “commodity” for entertainment. We have an over-abundance of archaic fireplaces and primitive grill contraptions that burn diseased or greased wood and are “fired-up” at the slightest provocation, usually with unintended irony: a benefit for cancer victims, Farmers’ Markets, Joe Who’s birthday, Jane’s nail-painting party.

Then there is the purely “recreational” illegal bonfires pouring more smoke onto the wounds already inflicted by the supposedly “legal” fire pits.

We don’t have natural air; we have air full of dioxin, benzene, toluene, carbon monoxide, etc. Our air is smoked, our food is smoked, our lungs are smoked. On occasion, like prisoners confined to solitary confinement, we are given rare glimpses of the natural, smoke-free world; we can smell the ocean, the rangeland grasses, but briefly, before the smoke once more confines.

In SLO County, the natural world is obliterated by and subservient to the cult of smoke.

Why is no one saying no?

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