I grew up in a beautiful university town on a valley bottom in western Montana. But as a child, we had air pollution alert days- where the air was so dark and smelly from both the pulp mill on the edge of town and wood-burning stoves- that we were warned against going outside. After the pulp mill closed and wood-burning was significantly restricted, things improved. It didn't get as dark and the air did not smell bad. But when my late husband was diagnosed with lung cancer, we started to notice bad air quality days would impact his health. I love where I live and that I can quickly get into the mountains where there is truly clean air. I wish we were doing more to clean up the air in this beautiful town.
First published: June 12, 2018