Springtime in Italy, April 2017.

Everything breathes

“Everything breathes… even the ground beneath your feet and the stars above your head.

Our planet begins drawing her breath in May.

For months, global oxygen levels have been falling and carbon dioxide concentrations rising.

Then something miraculous happens – the sun crosses an invisible threshold, triggering the vast forests and grasslands of the Northern Hemisphere to set leaf and bloom.

As they turn green and photosynthesise, they start sucking unimaginable quantities of carbon dioxide out from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen as a by-product.

It begins almost overnight and accelerates rapidly. The northern spring races forth at forty-five miles a day and then turns into summer.

The Earth’s in-breath lasts for five months.

There’s a brief pause.

Before autumn arrives and winter rushes in. Leaves begin to fall and grass to wither. As they break down, they consume oxygen and return vast quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.”

– From The Art of Breathing by Dr Danny Penman