The Air We Breathe

“Air is where anything else isn’t”-that’s a strange statement, isn’t it? It is the answer a boy gave when he was asked where air is found. He was about right, wasn’t he? But, of course, we could rightly say the same thing about any other form of matter. What the boy really meant was that air moves in where anything else moves out. That is not true of other matter.

If someone says, “That glass is empty,” he doesn’t really mean that it is empty, does he? He just means that it doesn’t contain anything we can see. He knows, if he thinks straight, that the glass contains air. We can’t see air, but we know it is all around us, because if it weren’t, we would die. Some of us may not be entirely sure how we use air, but all of us know that we can’t get along without it. Many people have turned to petition writing in an attempt to gather support in protecting our air supply.

The quality of the air surrounding our earth is rapidly deteriorating. Pollutants such as smog and aerosols are contaminating the atmosphere faster than they can dissipate, and certain chemicals like chlorine bind to the molecules of the Ozone layer and break apart our only protection from the sun’s harmful radiation.

The big corporations that are contributing the most to the destruction of our shield won’t listen to the pleas of the little people. The only thing we can do is make a citizen petition and hope that the government will take notice. If enough people participate, the government will have no choice but to force them to change their ways.

There is a deep ocean of air completely surrounding our earth. We spend our entire lives at the bottom of that ocean. How deep the air ocean is, nobody knows. Scientists think it may be between 100 and 200 miles deep or even deeper. One reason they think this is that they have observed that “shooting stars” begin to show at about that height above the earth.

These falling bodies do not begin to burn until they reach our atmosphere. Scientists believe that such “stars” fall so fast that friction with our air sets them on fire. These falling bodies are not really stars, but rather star dust. Many of the particles are no larger than grains of sand.

Scientists have also sent rockets far above the earth. One rocket, the Viking, soared 106 miles high. It radioed back to earth scientific information, including the condition of the air. Other rockets have gone even higher. In 1949, the WAC Corporal made a record by reaching 250 miles above the earth.

Whatever the facts, we know our air ocean is very deep. Even though most of our air is within 100 to 200 miles of the earth, it thins out with altitude very rapidly. This very thin air may reach to an altitude of 500 miles or more.

If we do not try to stop or even reverse the damage, all of our air will become very thick, but with very little of the gases that living organisms need to breathe, namely oxygen and nitrogen. Gathering petition signatures may be just the way to begin this process.

Air and water are partners in many ways in doing nature’s work. Both help to make soil, and both help to move it. They work together to keep things evenly balanced in nature, and nature works to keep them in balance.

We should not be surprised, then, to learn that water contains air. Air is dissolved in water; that is, the air is distributed evenly throughout the water. There are many examples to prove that there is air in water.

The enormous amounts of exhaust from huge smoke stacks used by factories are suffocating our air supply, but what about chemical runoff? This could be even more dangerous, because these extremely toxic substances are getting into our water supply.

Even if we take extra steps to filter the water, or get it from a pure source, what about the plants and animals that absorb this water in one way or another? What do we do then? Pregnant women, for example, are discouraged to eat seafood, because the mercury content has been linked to birth defects and even disorders such as autism. Petition letters have been written about this, in an attempt to raise awareness.