Probably the most underrated resource, and the most crucial to life on Earth, air is currently at risk. Now when I say risk, I don’t mean that all the air on the planet will disappear, I’m talking about he risks that pollution has on the future of this planet.
First off let’s talk about the roles that air plays in the everyday functions on Earth. Besides living organism needing it to breathe, air is crucial for the water cycle to exist. Evaporation is needed to transport water from inland to outlets and eventually into the ocean, without air, water vapor would have nothing to ‘latch’ on to and be transported. The risk that pollution brings is that instead of the particles that make up air, nitrogen, oxygen, and other gases, heavier gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide will transport the water and be transported with it. This means that there will be an increase in these gases into the water, which can harm the environment from inbalancing pH levels to killing of vital organism. This effect is happening in the oceans with ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is when the pH levels in the oceans decrease, and this is happening because of the increase amount of CO2, carbon dioxide, in the air and therefore the water. This affects organism with calcium shell, and we see this effect the greatest with the Great Barrier Reef. 93% of the Great Barrier Reef has been damaged by coral bleaching is when stressed coral covers itself in algae to protect itself. In this stressed state, the coal is more vulnerable to threat an typically leads to the coral dying. This causes the home of many organism to die, thus causing affecting us and humans.
Air also plays a huge role in the carbon cycle. Similar to the water cycle, carbon is deposited into the ocean to be turned into oxygen by phytoplankton. But with the increase amount of carbon that oceans and the rising temperatures of the water, phytoplankton are dying out and not producing new air. With more air into the system, this vicious cycle of decreasing air supplies continues, and it could be possible, very unlikely though, that we can run out of air on this planet. This can only happen is we continue of this path for a very long time, but nevertheless, it is still a possible path.
Along with providing water and carbon to their necessary places, air acts as an insulator to the Earth. The more air there is, the more insulation there is, that is why the jackets that keep you the warmest have the most surface area inside them to trap more air. This is also the reason why the pink insulation inside the walls of your house are fluffy like cotton candy, but make sure you don’t eat that stuff. Trust me, it kinda really sucks a lot. And I know its very tempting, but resist that urge to eat stuff that looks like food. I digress, so the air around the Earth insulates the planet keeping the global temperature steady and happy. But, with the increase amount of heavy particles, this makes air more insulative than it previously was. That means that more heat is being kept within and raising the temperatures.
Although these areas are different from one another, air is a vital to all of these function. So how can you do your part to help reduce the amount of pollution in the air? Taking public transportation, walking or taking a bike helps reduce the amount of pollution we output, but we all knew this. We truly have to want to make a difference on our planet for the better, not kick it down the road for the future generations to solve. We all must recognize the importance that air has to our daily lives, more than just breathing it in.