Air binds us together

Breathe the same air molecules once inhaled by Brahms, Buddha, Picasso and Elvis Presley

Breathing, whether consciously or subconsciously, is no doubt one of the most common human animal activities - we take some 20,000 breaths of air a day. Not only do we all breathe together but we also share the same air, the same oxygen. In one day it is quite feasible that we probably breathe the same air molecules once inhaled by Brahms, Buddha, Picasso, Elvis Presley as well as our next door neighbours! Air binds us together as the ultimate source of life - through breathing we constantly stay in touch with all that is living; individuals, animals and plants in an intriguing way.

Conscious breathing is further a way for us to stay in touch with ourselves. When we get upset or exited, received advice is to take a few deep breaths and this will bring us back "in balance". To take three breaths at the moment we aim for conscious presence is an effective way which can be extended to a everyday habit, taking three deep breaths before any bell or signal, such as the ring of the phone. Using this technique I guess there is not much that can put you off balance!

From an environmental point of view air is a hot topic as it’s not only fundamental to our daily existence but, in its constituent parts, it creates a shelter known as the Ozone layer, which protects us from ultra violet radiation from the sun. There are specific "ozone holes", close to the North Pole and above the South Pole where the air is thinnest. The serious thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer is caused by anthropogenic emissions of ozone depleting substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons CFC used in refrigeration, air conditioning, foam blowing, cleaning of electronic components and halons, which are mainly used in fire extinguishing agents.

Scientists believe that if all countries were to meet their Montreal Protocol targets, the stratospheric ozone layer would stabilise and then return to full health within 50 years. Completing the phase-out of CFCs by developing countries is the number one priority today for the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. Under the Protocol, developing countries are committed to reducing their consumption and production of CFCs by 50 percent in the year 2005 and by 85 percent in 2007. They were required to freeze their CFC levels in 1999, while developed countries phased out CFCs almost completely in 1996. By 2005 developing countries are also to reduce their consumption of halons by 50 percent, methyl bromide a fumigant by 20 percent, and the solvents carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroform by 85 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

At this moment though, as we collectively take three deep breaths, we support this global environmental initiative and very much hope that it can be implemented successfully. However, the full results of all our efforts we expect to experience in no less than half a century!

In the management of the environment, we have a responsibility not only to our contemporaries but also for those who are yet to come.

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Lasse Larsson

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Publicerad: 21 sep 2003 12:44


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