Spike Lee’s favorite borough now ranks as the second most expensive place to live in the entire United States of America, according to a new report by the Council for Community and Economic Research, as reported by the not-exactly-proud Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The findings compare costs like food, rent, transportation, and utilities, and put Brooklyn ahead of San Francisco, San Jose, and even Honolulu, a.k.a. paradise. “As Brooklynites, we want to be Number 1 in everything,” Chamber of Commerce president Carlo Scissura told the Eagle, “but I don’t think we want to be Number 1 or 2 in this survey.” Top honors, of course, go to Manhattan by a long shot, meaning this guy’s elitist dichotomy (and admittedly, ours) is just totally insane. Not that we weren’t already aware.
I already knew, in an abstract, intellectual way, that class and race can and will determine who really incurs the costs of climate change, but living through these [California] fires for the past couple of years has really made it tangible.
I live in an old and drafty house, but I also have enough money to afford to make an unplanned purchase of an expensive air purifier to mitigate the effects of the wildfire smoke on us — especially on the baby. And when shipping got delayed, I not only knew where to look to figure out how to make a makeshift purifier, I could still afford to do so. And I had the time to figure out how to make it work when the hardware store didn’t have the right stuff in stock.
We all got sick anyway, but I have peace of mind knowing that 1) I can afford to go to the doctor and buy medicine if necessary, and 2) I can take day off if I need it or I need it to take care of the kid.
On a day where the air was especially bad, I could afford to have food delivered to my house to avoid going to the grocery store or using my gas stove and making the air in the house worse — the person delivering my food didn’t have the option of avoiding the smoke.
And if it gets really bad, we have the job flexibility and money to be able to drive elsewhere to escape, as we did last year. It’s not ideal and a hit to the budget, but it’s possible if necessary. Lots of people do not have that option.
Honestly? I’m thinking that next year, the smart thing to do might be to not plan a vacation and instead use that money as the “escaping the smoke from seasonal wildfires” fund. Just have that be the vacation instead.