Thursday, May 7, 2009

Air

I've read about what's called the rule of three: we can last 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, but only 3 minutes without air. That's why I'm covering our need for air first.

The air is everywhere and we don't usually think about it.

But we do pollute it. Smog is created by our manufacturing processes, as is climate change.

Oxygen is less than 21% of our atmosphere (nitrogen is over three-quarters of it), but that's the most important element for human life. We want more oxygen in our life and less carbon dioxide (which is one of the principle causes of global warming). Fortunately green plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen--at least when they are in sunlight. Not only that, but the leaves of plants and trees filter toxins out of the air.

So one quick solution to protecting the atmosphere and stopping global warming is having more plants. I think that cities--which are filled with buildings with flat roofs--should make a priority of 'green roofing'. Grow as many plants as you can, whatever way that you can.

Plants are also an important part of purifying the air inside buildings. As we 'airseal' more buildings to save energy and cut heating costs, we create airtight buildings that too often become 'sick buildings' as toxins, mold, and disease germs accumulate. Toolbox (see below) says that the addition of any plants (and as many as possible) will improve indoor air quality, but they particularly suggest these plants as beneficial for removing toxins: Reca palm, corn plant, lady palm, bamboo palm, ficus/weeping fig, Boston fern, English ivy, mum, umbrella tree, and peace lily. A garden shop near me had a handout with similar information. While they included many of the plants above, they also mentioned a plant called Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis) and the 'rubber plant' (a variety of ficus). They also had a handout on the best houseplants for areas that don't receive much light and 'Janet Craig', bamboo palm, lady palm, corn plant, and peace lily were also on that list.

Beyond growing plants, to protect the atmosphere buy less stuff. (The less stuff manufactured, the less toxins added to the air.) Reuse more things. Above all, boycott fast foods, especially hamburgers. Whole acres of the Amazon rainforest (which has been called 'the lungs of the world') have been cut down to create pastures for cattle raised for North American burgers.

Resources:
Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew, Toolbox for Sustainable City Living--Contains a small but comprehensive section on Air Purification.
Starhawk, The Earth Path--Has an entire chapter devoted to 'Air'; it includes a bunch of witchy, magical material, but also covers Microclimates and Global Warming/Climate Change. Starhawk makes a point of mentioning the reciprocal relationship between air and life: life requires air, but life also created the atmosphere we have now.

Quote of the Day: "Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air." - John F Kennedy

5 comments:

SoapBoxTech said...

Great start to this line of thought.

A small addition tho; I think that it is more like millions of acres of South American rainforest cut down for these pastures. Actually, its more like a single season in some sort of crop, then a couple years as pasture, then its unusable desert.

I'm certainly with you on the importance of plants. It amazes me that we place such low priority on that which gives us breath. Those who grow should be honored in our society yet the opposite is now usually true.

MoonRaven said...

Thanks, SBT. I'm sure you are right on the millions of acres--and to have that fertile land become desert in a few years is an unthinkable travesty.

We should honor farmers and growers and even humble gardeners--instead we honor movie stars and sports figures. Talk about misplaced priorities.

Robyn Coffman said...

Cool blog. Nice post!

MoonRaven said...

Thank you and welcome...

SoapBoxTech said...

Misplaced indeed, MoonRaven. I have been thinking about that a lot lately.