It's not even June yet. Last year we had nearly two months of smog days.
I don't live in a big city or an industrial area. Neither do the people up north in cottage country who also regularly get smog days now. We in S-Ont get smog from a variety of sources:
* Ontario's coal-fired electrical generators, which the Ontario government has been desperately trying to close down but cannot because Ontario citizens, despite years of government-sponsored initiatives, keep increasing their electrical consumption
* our own stinking cars and gas lawn mowers
* industry that was strategically located along the US border to send pollution out of the US
We have all this nice civilized talk about Kyoto while the majority of people are doing NOTHING for the environment. I paid a lot of money to install a fancy ceiling fan with a thermostat so I don't have to use air conditioning, but if there are brown-outs my fan will fail along with all those air conditioners set to freezer temperatures.
It seems that no amount of public education programs are going to work. We need laws and monetary disincentives. Why are they so long in coming? Some areas have outlawed vehicle idling and home herbicide use: why hasn't everyone? (Why hasn't Waterloo?) Why aren't we imposing a $5,000 pollution tax on SUVs and trucks? The pollution they produce is costing the health care system plenty. Why aren't we tacking pollution taxes on gas lawn mowers (which produce far, far more pollution than cars)? We need to consider a graded electricity price that increases after you pass a certain limit. We need to decide that we aren't going to put up with this crap anymore and do something about it.
I work in the R&D park on the University of Waterloo campus. UW just built a building there with the second largest green roof in Canada, and they have been championing their brilliant environmental initiative. But around that building are a hundred acres of bare dirt that used to be corn fields. For a fraction of the cost of their show-off roof they could have planted trees and shrubs that would have done far more for our environment than a small patch of native grasses on top of a building. Sometimes it just seems that we're not serious about really doing something pragmatic to help the environment. It's all hot air and hypocrisy.
(My own hipocrisy: I am pretty good on most counts environmentally, but I love to travel by plane, and that's a huge polluter. So I can't cut myself out of the stupid moron category either.)