Air Pollution

Thank You, Neighbours

By Ted Mitchell
Published April 19, 2013

Thank you, neighbours.

The first warm day of the year blew in yesterday afternoon in a matter of minutes. When we've had below seasonal temperatures for weeks, a day like this is sacred.

Thank you, neighbours, for not breaking out the leaf blowers or any [two-stroke yard equipment, so all of us could enjoy dinner outside with only the happy sounds of birds chirping and children playing.

Thank you for not burning wood and smoking us out, so we could open the windows and let in all that nice fresh air. I don't mind hotdogs, but I really don't want my house and clothes to smell like them.

Imagine if every day could be like yesterday.

Sometimes what matters most is not what you do, but what you don't do. We will never solve all the problems of the world. But if we can learn to live respectfully with our neighbours, we have a fighting chance at changing the world.

Ted Mitchell is a Hamilton resident, emergency physician and sometimes agitator who recently completed a BEng at McMaster University. He is fascinated by aspects of our culture that are harmful, but avoid serious public discussion.

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By derp (anonymous) | Posted April 19, 2013 at 19:01:07

I want that 30 seconds of my life back.

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By Anon0419 (anonymous) | Posted April 19, 2013 at 20:50:51

What's wrong cooking with a BBQ? Did I get the wrong message from this?

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By Woody (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 15:23:28 in reply to Comment 88021

Sounds like he's talking about wood fires, not BBQ. Wood fire smoke is extremely bad for you - much worse than cigarette smoke, with hundreds of carcinogens and toxins like benzene. Tiny particles damage lungs and pass into the blood stream to damage the heart as well. Children living near houses that have wood fire places - not just inside those houses but in other nearby houses too - have higher rates of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, colds, sore throats and poor sleeping. Also there's no safe level of exposure, even low levels of wood smoke inhalation cause higher rates of heart and respiratory disease. Wood fires should totally be banned in built areas, there's no good reason for them and they cause lots of harm for people whether or not they choose to breathe wood smoke.

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By Fred Rutherford (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:36:34

Ted seems like a really laid back guy.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 14:41:22 in reply to Comment 88070

Absolutely. That is, until somebody does something self-centered and harmful to others. Imagine if everyone stepped up to defend our freedoms and quality of life, but sadly, few people have the gets.

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By erskinec (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2013 at 12:30:04

Successful communities are places where people talk to each and share their concerns. They are not isolated from each other and they don't pursue their individual lives without regard to others. So, yes thank you neighbour's. Good letter.

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