Discover more from Arts and Climate Change with Nicole Kelner
Orange Skies and Teary Eyes
I woke up to a glowing orange apartment. I love my apartment with its 3 big windows, but I have never seen it look like this. It’s light and dark at the same time.
I look out the window and see people wearing masks. My eyes fill with tears. We have spent the past 3 years wearing masks indoors. Outdoors have been our space for breathing. For safety and play. For communing when we couldn’t inside. But today, it’s the opposite.
We are recommended to stay inside because New York has the worst air quality in the world today. Going outside is dangerous today.
There were only 2 times in my life I’ve been told to wear a mask outside- when I was traveling in Ho Chi Minh City in the most insane traffic of my life and at Burning Man during dust storms. I remember buying my first N95 in Vietnam in 2018 and thinking how terrible it must be to need to wear these to get on a motorbike everyday. I bought 2, using one for traffic in a city across the world and the other for the dusty desert.
Now I have a box of 20 N95s that I use regularly. I bought them for Covid, but today they are for a different use.
There are a few episodes in the new Apple TV show Extrapolations that show heavily polluted cities. They have a deadly disease called “summer heart” in the show which is caused by pollution.
The disease is obviously from a fictional tv show. But the fear when I look outside my window is real. Days like today remind me why I work in climate.
Here’s a watercolor I made a year ago that feels like the mood of the day. I try to paint/write mostly about climate solutions, but I also want to find a balance for creating art around days like today.
I honestly don’t know how to end this in a way that feels like it has a happy ending. I just want you to know that I am here and I am feeling feelings alongside you today if you are having any today.
Stay safe out there my fellow New Yorkers 💛
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