There is a saying that you can either curse the darkness or light a candle.
I thought of that adage recently when I felt uneasy and helpless about the terrible air quality caused by wildfires burning in Canada.
One cannot solve climate change. But one can help.
I can do one simple thing, and so can you: plant a tree.
In addition to producing the oxygen we need to breathe, trees improve our air quality by filtering harmful dust and pollutants like ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide from the air we breathe.
Trees reduce stormwater runoff, which reduces erosion and pollution in our waterways.
Deciduous trees placed on the south and west sides of your home provide shade in the summer, which lowers your cooling costs, and sunlight in the winter, which helps keep your home warm.
Trees are readily available for purchase from local landscapers and over the Internet. If you’re lucky enough to already have trees in your yard, chances are you’ll be growing seedlings in your flower beds. Maybe you can give one to a neighbor. If you don’t have money for a tree, find a neighbor with mature trees and ask for a seedling or two.
If you live in an apartment or condo, you can still plant a tree by going online and making a small donation. Local funeral homes often list popular places to send money to donate a tree. I love this site: Archangel Ancient Tree Archive: www.ancienttreearchive.org/product-category/certificates-of-planting.
One cannot stop climate change. But one can improve air quality by doing something as simple as planting a tree.
Luann Tennant Coyne, Naperville
Here’s my take on the smoke that came through Naperville from the wildfires in Canada. It was terrible for everyone. It was very scary for a teenager on summer vacation, and it was dangerous to be outside for long periods of time. Some people I know couldn’t go out for a run because of the bad air quality. This particularly affected asthmatics. Our pool was closed for a whole day because of it.
I go outside and can’t see the end of my street because the air is so hazy. It was really hard for me to find fun things to do because I was stuck inside and couldn’t play outside or spend time with friends because inhaling all that smoke would be bad for me.
The smog that comes through our town has stopped many people from doing the things they love outside. I really hope none of this ever happens again because it could have been so much worse.
Chris Newton, Naperville
Boy Scout Troop 510
I remember when I was in grade school in Warrenville, the local Mother’s Club would sponsor swim lessons in the summer at Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles.
The cost was affordable and the club provided school buses to transport us. Classes ranged from beginners to lifeguard and springboard diving.
Maybe local clubs could offer affordable classes through park districts?
Bill Voda, Warrenville
It’s been 50 years since I had a mailing address in Naperville, and while the city then exuded the image of a rural outpost, it was by no means the sprawling metropolis it is today.
In the years that followed, when I made frequent trips to my hometown, I was very careful not to go south of 75th Street, as I had been warned as a child that beyond that point the land would not last. Plainfield was just a rumor.
But as fate would have it, one of my grandsons was playing in a Naperville Little League tournament, and I reluctantly agreed to attend, fearing ostracism from the family.
The place was in an area known only to me as a vast wasteland on the far side of town, swamps and woodlands and open fields.
Twice a week
News updates from the Naperville area every Monday and Wednesday
So, I packed the car, assuming I would never come back. I had more than enough supplies to last me months. More importantly, I filled the trunk with survival gear purchased at a local military surplus store. I’m not going to take any chances.
Instead of traveling to a backwoods settlement straight out of “Game of Thrones,” I was surprised to find no swamps or woodlands as I crossed 75th Street past the White Eagle Country Club and Neuqua Valley High School. I started to feel like Dorothy when she first opened her eyes and saw those munchkins in Technicolor.
Not only was it civilized, but it had no shortage of storefronts, full-service restaurants, medical and dental offices, boutiques, and beauty shops. As the city of Naperville suddenly grew an appendage.
What a revelation! Who knows, maybe I’ll be back one day when I know there really is life beyond 75th Street.
Bob Ory, Elgin
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