Air

We owe our survival to a thin, fragile film of gas, just a few tens of kilometres thick.

We owe our survival to a thin, fragile film of gas, just a few tens of kilometres thick. The delicate geophysical balance that holds our atmosphere together has maintained a relatively stable temperature on the planet’s surface for millions of years, thanks to the greenhouse effect. Then for the last couple of centuries, we, the self-professed sapiens, have been burning fossil fuels, taking them from the interior of the planet and releasing excess greenhouse gases, forcing the climate to become warmer. Intensive and extensive livestock farming releases another foul-smelling dose of greenhouse gases. Nitrogen and sulphur oxides mix with water vapour and fall back to the ground as acid rain. Towards 2050, we will produce something like 3.4 billion tonnes of waste. In the meantime, our plains and cities will become unliveable heat islands. Birds have been on strike for some time, with migrations out of sync and nests already usurped. Swallows fail to return, bats carry viruses and mosquitoes molest us. More and more frequently, anthropogenic global warming is stirring up the air and water and hurling them back at us in the form of storms and tropical cyclones.